chalaa nah u;Th ke vahii;N chupke chupke phir to miir
abhii to us kii galii se pukaar laayaa huu;N

1) don't get up furtively/quietly and go right there again, Mir--
2) just now I have called you and brought you from her street!



S. R. Faruqi:

The foundation of this verse is on the following [Persian] verse of Mulla Vaqif Khalkhal:

'Advisor, you reproach me; and I am thinking
With what excuse I can pass in that direction today.'

Jur'at too has composed this theme:

dil ko juu;N-tuu;N us ke kuuche se u;Thaa laa))e the ham
par na:zar apnii bachaa kar phir vahii;N jaataa rahaa

[we had somehow or other brought the heart away from her street
but avoiding our gaze, it again kept going only/emphatically there]

In Jur'at's verse, bringing the heart back from the beloved's street, then its furtively going back there, is not without artificiality. Mulla Khalkhal indeed expressed the idea with great refinement/subtlety. Nevertheless, Mir's verse goes beyond Mulla Khalkhal's, because:

(1) In it there's no mention of the Advisor; the speaker can be any friend, well-wisher, relative, or neighbor.

(2) There's no clear/explicit aspect of blame.

(3) The lover's furtively going again to the beloved's street is more narrative and dramatic than Khalkhal's theme.

(4) In Mir's verse there's no particular place-owner; he's only said, 'to his/her street'. That is, the speaker too takes the meaning of 'his/her' to be the beloved. Perhaps he too is mad for the same beloved.

(5) In both lines there's the immediacy and colloquial style conveyed by chalaa nah and abhii to ; Mulla Khalkhal's verse is devoid of this.

(6) In Mir's verse there's also the implication that such a thing keeps happening every day; in the Persian verse this suggestion is very remote and doesn't come within the realm of implication. (Instead of making the lover the only speaker, by making him the addressee he has not only created universality, but has also particularly established his individuality.)

(7) He has also well showed the lover's passivity/abashedness, that he now doesn't completely retain his pride and dignity, but rather is under people's control. When people summon and fetch him, then he comes back; and when he goes again then he goes not openly, but rather furtively.

The honor of primacy certainly belongs to Mulla Vaqif Khalkhal, but Mir has lifted the theme to the skies. There no one else can pass. This theme, in almost the same words, he has also composed in the second divan [{993,9}]:

laa))e the jaa kar abhii to us galii me;N se pukaar
chupke chupke miir jii tum u;Th ke phir kiidhar chale

[we went only now and called you and brought you from that street
furtively/quietly, Mir-ji, you got up again and went--which way?!]

In the word kiidhar there's certainly a pleasure; otherwise, the present verse is much better.

Qa'im has composed this theme in a slightly ambiguous way. On this basis, a power of expression somewhat like Mir's has come into Qa'im's verse:

galii se us kii jo qaa))im ko laa))e ham to kyaa
yih dil yih naqsh hai ab tak vuh phir gayaa hogaa

[if we brought Qa'im away from her street, so what?
this heart, this is a map/stamp-- by now, he will have gone again]

Nazir Akbarabadi has indeed brought ought an entirely new aspect, and well composed it:

mai;N to be-((izzat nahii;N kyaa jaanuu;N us bad-;xuu ke paas
kaun saa kam-ba;xt phir laataa hai mujh ko gher kar

[I am not without honor-- how can I tell, to that bad-dispositioned one's house
which wretch corrals me and brings me again]

Shah Mubarak Abru has changed the theme a bit and composed it, but the 'iham' of phir gayaa has put life in the verse:

qaul aabruu kaa thaa kih nah jaa))uu;Ngaa us galii
ho kar ke be-qaraar dekho aaj phir gayaa

[Abru's declaration was, 'I will not go to that street'
having become restless-- look, today he 'went back'!]

Now in this same connection, listen to Faiz too. In his verse the theme has a different aspect, but the basic idea is the same. Despite its external beauty, Faiz's verse seems to lack a central core. Rather, in much of Faiz's poetry the same thing is true: that it seems very insignificant, and in it one feels a lack of strength and power:

phir na:zar me;N phuul mahke dil me;N phir sham((e;N jalii;N
phir ta.savvur ne liyaa us bazm me;N jaane kaa naam

[again in the gaze flowers gave off scent, in the heart again candles burned
again the imagination took the name of going into that gathering]



This verse is a wonderful example of the kind of 'neighbors' verse so characteristic of Mir-- it offers us the common-sense, practical, sympathetic-but-firm voice of a normal, sane person trying to deal with the crazy behavior of a mad lover. Sometimes such verses are, like this one, quite funny; as SRF observes, the tone is that of an adult dealing with a child, and issuing a stern warning against (fully anticipated) further bad behavior of that kind.

While we're on the subject of humorous allusions to her street, I can't resist mentioning the close neighbor of this verse, {314,2}:

tirii galii se sadaa ay kushandah-e ((aalam
hazaaro;N aatii hu))ii chaar-paa))iyaa;N dekhii;N

[from your street, always, oh slayer of the world
I have seen thousands of charpoys coming]

No doubt we're meant to think of the charpoys as improvised biers, being used to keep carrying away the thousands of corpses of her newly dead lovers (perhaps it's like cleaning up the dead moths from around the base of the lamp). But I just can't help seeing the vision as extremely ludicrous, and just laughing at its solemn tone and portentously silly content.

Abru's verse makes excellent use, as SRF notes, of phir gayaa : did the lover 'go back' on his word (by going again to her street), or did he simply 'go back' to her street? But how can we call that an iham, with its official sense of 'misdirection' and a sudden shift of meaning? Surely both senses are fully possible and present, and indeed we can't even choose between them; nor do we need to of course, since the verse is far more enjoyable because of the double sense. (Compare Ghalib's similar trick in G{14,7}.) For further discussion of ihams, see {178,1}.

Note for meter fans: Abru's verse contains the notable metrical sin of scanning dekho as short-long. If we are operating by the normal rules, there's no way that the de , not being at the end of a word, can possibly be short. But I verified it in his divan, and also checked with SRF, who confirmed (Mar. 2015) that it wasn't only in Dakani ghazal that such liberties were taken-- they were also 'not unknown in Delhi until about 1750'. It just shows that I don't read enough early ghazal poets, so I'm not used to such liberties.