ru;x.sat-e junbish-e lab ((ishq kii ;hairat se nahii;N
muddate;N gu;zre;N kih ham chup hii rahaa karte hai;N

1) from the stupefaction of passion, there's no permission for movement of the lip
2) time-intervals would pass, {such that / in which} we constantly remain only/emphatically silent



S. R. Faruqi:

ru;x.sat = permission

This verse is good, it's not out of the ordinary. But it can be presented as an example of the way that if one line would be entirely complete, even then an accomplished poet adds to it a line that manages not to incur the 'fault of being padding' [bhartii kaa ((aib]. In the present verse, in the second line everything has been said, the theme has been presented. Now nothing is left to say.

In order to see how difficult it was to add a line to this one, we can set before us a verse by Firaq Sahib. Its second line is:

pahle firaaq ko dekhaa hotaa ab to bahut kam bole;N hai;N

[if only you had seen Firaq formerly! now, he speaks very little]

The truth is that such a line is not easily vouchsafed even to the best of the best. Firaq Sahib had the same problem as Mir did. But Mir, causing the silence to be inspired by the stupefaction of passion, composed a line worthy to be placed before the second line. If this line too had been as powerful as the second line, then the verse would have become a masterpiece.

As things are, it's not a masterpiece, but nevertheless it's successful. The proof is that in the first line there's an expansion of the theme, and at first glance one doesn't feel that in the second line the idea is complete. Now look at Firaq Sahib. His initial line is wholly and entirely stuffing [;hashv]:

ab ak;sar chup chup se rahe;N hai;N yuu;N hii kabhuu lab khole;N hai;N

[now he usually remains silent; sometimes he happens to open his lips]

Firaq Sahib placed Mir's verse before him and then composed his own, but how could he have had Mir's adroitness?

Please note too that on the theme of falling silent, if Talib Amuli's miraculous [Persian] verse hadn't already been present, then Mir's verse would have been even more admirable and valuable:

'I closed up my lips from speech, as if
The mouth on my face were a healed-up wound.'

[See also {1781,1}.]



SRF has raised an interesting theoretical question: how should we feel about a verse in which one line does all the work? In structural terms, this situation would certainly seem to be a flaw, since it would leave the other line to appear as mere padding. It would create a verse that lacked a powerful and necessary 'connection' between the two lines.

To me it seems that such lines would tend to appear in verses of 'mood', because most of the main structural devices that make a verse semantically effective depend on the relationship between the two lines, or among some parts of them. And indeed in this verse the second line looks to be one of mood: if 'Time passes, we remain silent' doesn't evoke a mood, then it seems to do nothing much at all, since it doesn't make use of-- or even reveal-- any of the causes or circumstances of the silence.

The first line does make a small gesture in that direction: it is the 'stupefaction of passion' that requires the silence. That really isn't a very exciting revelation, however, since in the ghazal world it's a flat statement of the obvious. It's what we would have guessed anyway, if we'd had only the second line to work with. After all, basically everything in the lover's life and behavior is caused by passion, so how much do we really get from the first line? SRF's defense of it is necessarily rather half-hearted. Only by juxtaposing it to Firaq's truly lame line can he find much scope for praising it. And even then it's not so clear how much the first line really 'expands' the theme.

Note for grammar fans: How do we decide between gu;zre;N , the future subjunctive, and gu;zrii;N , the perfect? Only from the context, which invokes a silence that 'always' takes place and is located in the present. But in this verse it doesn't seem to make much difference anyway.

Note for script fans: The word junbish is often spelled jumbish . There are phonetic causes for this variation (try saying 'jun-bish' and 'jum-bish', and you can easily tell how the former could turn into the latter).