yih jii jo mere gale kaa hai haar tuu hii le
tire gale ke liye mai;N yih haar laayaa huu;N

1) this life/self, which is my 'neck-garland'-- only/emphatically you take it!

2a) for your neck, I have brought this garland
2b) for your neck, I, having been defeated/exhausted, have brought this



jii : 'Life, soul, self, spirit, mind; heart; courage; disposition; affection, regard; strength, health'. (Platts p.411)


haar : 'A necklace, a string (of pearls, &c.); a garland or chaplet (of flowers); a wreath'. (Platts p.1215)


gale kaa haar : 'A garland for the neck; a necklace; —(fig.) a child who constantly clings to his mother; a clog, an encumbrance; an importunate person; —a short woman married to a tall man'. (Platts p.912)


gale kaa haar honaa : 'To be or become as a necklace (to), to hang round the neck (of a person)'. (Platts p.1215)


haarnaa : 'To be defeated, be worsted, be overcome, be unsuccessful; to lose (in play, or in battle, &c.); to fail; —to be fatigued, or tired out; to become dispirited; —to become old or feeble'. (Platts p.1215)

S. R. Faruqi:

To offer up one's life to the beloved is a commonplace theme. But Mir has created in it so much novelty, and given it such aspects of meaning, that one doesn't even feel at all how shopworn the theme is. To present the beloved with a garland for her neck is also a common idea.

Now look at how the idiom, having been used in its dictionary meaning, becomes a 'reversed' metaphor. I am helpless about my life, but I'm not getting free of it. When something would constantly cause anxiety, and one can't get free of it, then it's said, 'this has become a neck-garland' [yih to gale kaa haar ban ga))ii]. Thus my life too is a 'neck-garland'. But life is also valuable, and also a thing worthy of being presented to the beloved.

Now he says, 'only/emphatically you take garland for your neck, this is fit for only/emphatically you' (that is, it's a valuable thing). But in terms of the metaphor, the life is a 'neck-garland'-- that is, it's a thing of trouble and anxiety. Thus he's in truth saying to the beloved, 'take it, only/emphatically you take care of this trouble, it's not something I can manage; I put my difficulty on your head'. That is, he is both offering up his life to the beloved, and also ensnaring her in punishment and trouble.

The tone of vexation and innocent cleverness [ma((.suum chaalaakii] is peerless. Momin has no such 'poetic trickiness/deceptiveness' [makr-e shaa((iraanah], nor does he have such an expression of everyday life as usually appears in Mir's verses. See


[See also {324,6}.]



To SRF's explication of the idiomatic sense of gale kaa haar honaa I would like to add one more aspect of the wordplay: the sense of haarnaa as 'to be defeated/exhausted' (see the definition above). Thus it's possible to read the haar in the second line as a colloquially shortened form of haar kar , which yields the second reading (2b) of the second line. By no coincidence, this reading too works elegantly with the first line: 'I'm so worn down and exhausted by the torments of loving you that I've surrendered, I've given up-- here, you take my life, as a garland of victory!'. Thus in the second line the word haar is a case of what I call 'double activation'.

Walt Hakala points out (Mar. 2015) that instead of jii there could easily be jay , in the sense of 'winning, being victorious; conquest, victory, triumph; advancement, preferment, promotion' (Platts p.411), and that this would go well with both the garland and the use of haar (though not, except in a wordplay sense, with the idea that the speaker has been 'defeated'). Of course, such a reading would require a spelling change, which would need to be documented. As far as I can see, it's not documented. So perhaps we can call that reading a kind of phantom, an enjoyable bit of hovering almost-wordplay. The idea that the wretched lover might actually win some kind of 'victory' is unusual, but after all not unheard-of, in the ghazal world. Just to complicate things further, Walt also calls our attention to another idiom: jii haarnaa means 'to lose heart, to become faint-hearted, be spiritless, be discouraged or depressed (from fear)' (Platts p.412).