rang-e shikastah meraa be-lu:tf bhii nahii;N hai
ek aadh raat ko to yaa;N bhii sa;har karo tum

1) my pale/broken color is not without even/also pleasure
2) even/also here, well-- turn one or two nights into dawn



shikastah : Broken; defeated, routed; carried away (by inundation, as river-banks, &c.); reduced to straits; bankrupt; sick; wounded; weak, infirm'. (Platts p.730)


be-lu:tf : 'Unkind, ungracious; inelegant; without pleasure, insipid, flavourless, vapid'. (Platts p.204)


bhii : 'Also, too, even, and, with; yet, still, besides, likewise, moreover, furthermore'. (Platts p.198)

S. R. Faruqi:

He has expressed this theme a number of times. From the first divan [{216,5}]:

rang-e shikastah apnaa be-lu:tf bhii nahii;N hai
yaa;N kii to .sub;h dekhe ek aadh raat rah kar

[my pale/broken color is not without even/also pleasure
you might stay a few nights and see the dawn of this place]

From the first divan [{384,6}]:

rang-e raftah bhii dil ko khe;Nche hai
ek shab aur yaa;N sa.har dekho

[even/also a color that has fled, attracts the heart
one more night, see the dawn here]

From the second divan [{908,4}]:

yih dil jo shikastah hai so be-lu:tf nahii;N hai
;Thahro ko))ii din aan ke is ;Tuu;Te makaa;N me;N

[this heart that's broken-- well, it's not without pleasure
come and stay for some days in this broken-down house]

In the second line of {908,4} he's changed the theme a bit. Its basis is another verse in the first divan where he's addressed the beloved, in a tone full of bitter complaint but pleading, as follows:


From the above examples it's also been proved that Mir didn't simply repeat the themes that pleased him; he also transformed them and made from them new themes. The present verse is extremely close to {216,5}; much of it is in exactly the same words. Nevertheless, there's a small difference between their two themes. Consider the second line of {216,5}. In this line the beloved is being given a clear invitation to spend the night. In the words rah kar the implications of spending the night, and of sleeping with the lover, are both present.

In the present verse, the meaning has several aspects. For ek aadh raat yahaa;N sa;har karnaa one meaning is the same: an invitation to spend the night and sleep with the lover. A second aspect is, come in the evening or night, arrange a gathering, let that gathering go on for so long that the night would turn into dawn. A third aspect is, when you come, then the night won't remain night, but rather will become radiant like the dawn.

There are two scenarios for this: one is that when you come we will have a great many lamps lit, we will decorate the house, to such an extent that instead of night it will seem like day. The second scenario is that because of your coming the house will be as radiant as the day. Because of the words to and sa;har karo , all this could be possible for you. The fourth aspect is created by the word bhii -- that you turn the night into dawn at the houses of others anyway, for a few nights do the same at our house.

This abundance of meaning in the second line (of which the second line of {216,5} is devoid) establishes this verse as more distinguished and excellent than the other verses.

Now please consider rang-e shikastah (meaning, a color that has fled). One possibility is that because of the suffering of separation, the lover's color has in any case fled. The second possibility is that when the beloved will take leave of his home, then because of the shock the lover's color will take flight. The third possibility is that because of a whole night of enjoyments, wakefulness, and union, the lover's color will take flight (as in the second line of {1545,2}). The fourth possibility is that at dawn, the color of the face is in any case a bit pale. Ghalib has, in a supremely excellent verse, taken advantage of this possibility:


The excuse/pretext for showing the rang-e shikastah is also fine. Nowadays in Western countries when a man invites a woman to his house, mischievously, with a hidden smile, he says, 'Please come to my house, I have many very fine etchings'. We see that pretexts like these are present in every culture; only their forms and structures change. To see the rang-e shikastah will be possible only in the light; thus the excuse/pretext for turning night into dawn is even finer. He's composed a peerless verse.



This verse offers two beautifully complex uses of bhii . In the first line the sense seems to be something almost indefinably colloquial-- something that Platts tries to capture with 'yet, still, besides, likewise, moreover, furthermore' (see the definition above). These choices are partly just sentence rebalancers, but partly something more, something emphatic or forceful. In his discussion of {601,1} SRF gives the example aap bhii ((ajab aadmii hai;N .

Alternatively, the speaker could be maintaining, in the more normal usage, that his charm was still operative 'even' or 'also' when he was pale and worn.

Then in the second line, the bhii has its usual meanings. If we take it as 'also' (adding a new member to a pre-existing class), then the effect is that you 'turn the night into dawn' in other places, do it a few times here as well. If we take it as 'even' (emphasizing singularity or liminality), then the invitation is to extend your usual night-into-dawn behavior beyond its normal range, 'even' to the speaker's abode.

And of course, what does it mean to 'turn the night into dawn'? SRF does a fine job running through the possibilities, and also explains the range of meanings for rang-e shikastah .

Note for translation fans: There remains the untranslatable little to , used here as an ineffable sentence rebalancer. I've used 'well', but only for want of something better. Ultimately these little words are impossible. One can just ignore them, or else provide counterparts like 'well', 'then', 'so'-- none of which is truly satisfactory.