tiraa hai vahm kih yih naa-tavaa;N hai jaame me;N
vagarnah mai;N nahii;N ab ik ;xayaal apnaa huu;N

1) it's your illusion/suspicion that this frail one is within the robe
2) otherwise, I am not [I], now, I am a single/particular idea/thought of myself



vahm : 'Opinion, conjecture; imagination, idea, fancy; —suspicion, doubt'. (Platts p.1205)


;xayaal : 'Thought, opinion, surmise, suspicion, conception, idea, notion, fancy, imagination, conceit. whim, chimera; consideration; regard, deference; apprehension; care, concern; —an imaginary form, apparition, vision, spectre, phantom, shadow, delusion'. (Platts p.497)

S. R. Faruqi:

In several places he has construed his existence as an illusion, because of the meltingness of passion. For example,


And from the first divan [{301,9}]:

gudaaz-e ((ishq me;N bah bhii gayaa miir
yihii dhokaa saa hai ab pairahan me;N

[in the melting of passion, Mir has even flowed away
only/emphatically this illusion-ish thing is now within the robe]

From the second divan [{983,7}]:

riyaa.zaat-e mu;habbat ne rakhaa hai ham me;N kyaa baaqii
namuud ik karte hai;N ham yuu;N hii ab shakl-e mi;saalii se

[the practices of love-- what have they left remaining in us?
we make a single/particular manifestation, somehow/casually, now, like the semblance of a form]

The present verse is better than both {301,9} and {983,7}. For in {301,9} the second line is very fine, but the verse is not addressed directly to the beloved (although it's possible that the speaker of the verse might be addressing the beloved), and the beloved's own feeling is not apparent from the verse. In {983,7} the second line is very fine, but the first line is weighted down with an excess of words. In {88,3} the word namuud has a special importance, as does the fact that the beloved is being told that even now if she would come, she should come; otherwise 'what will be left in us?'.

In the present verse, the first excellence is that it is addressed directly to the beloved. But it's also possible that the addressee might not be the beloved, but rather anybody at all who would consider Mir to be alive and living in a frame of flesh and blood. The second excellence is that the impression of the addressee is also present-- that he considers the speaker to be alive and his body to be covered by clothing.

The third, and greatest, excellence is the theme of the second line. The thing that you're seeing is only the power of my thought/idea-- that is, through the power of my imagination I have embodied myself before you. Or again, this is not I, but rather the thought/idea of me. That is, the image/likeness of me that is in your heart has come before your eyes, and is deceiving you into thinking that it's my real self.

The third meaning is that by now I've become so weak that whatever you might be seeing, the relationship between it and my real bodily presence is the same as the one between a physical body and a mental/imaginary body. That is, I myself have already become nonexistent; only the thought/idea of me (that is, my reflection, or imagined existence) remains.

In the first line, yih naa-tavaa;N too is fine. That is, it would have been possible to say mai;N naa-tavaa;N huu;N jaame me;N , but by saying yih naa-tavaa;N hai jaame me;N he has obtained three excellences. (1) Since in the second line he's negating his own existence, if he had written 'I' then it would have been, so to speak, a proof of his existence. (2) By saying 'this frail one' he's given himself the status of being almost entirely invisible.

(3) When something would be immediately present, then from calling it 'this' the effect increases. For example, from Iqbal (from ruu;h-e ar.zii aadam kaa istiqbaal kartii hai ):

hai;N tere ta.sarruf me;N yih baadal yih havaa))e;N
yih gunbad-e aflaak yih ;xaamosh fa.zaa))e;N

[at your disposal are these clouds, these winds
this dome of the skies, these silent atmospheres]

Or, Iqbal begins laalah-e .sa;hraa like this:

yih gunbad-e miinaa))ii yih ((aalam-e tanhaa))ii
mujh ko to ;Daraatii hai is dasht kii pinhaa))ii

[this enamelled dome, this world of solitude
it frightens me, the hiddenness of this desert]

For other powerful uses of 'this' by Mir, see




The theme of weakness/frailty, all the poets constantly use. This is a beloved theme of Indian-Iranian poets. But hardly ever would anyone have versified it with a freshness and inventiveness like Mir's.

Ghalib has well composed a verse, with mischievousness and 'poetic trickiness' [makr-e shaa((iraanah] and an expansive temperament, but Mir's theme has remained far beyond his reach:


Nasikh too has an expansive temperament, but the circumstances of his theme give no pleasure; and in addition, it is verbose:

intihaa-e laa;Garii se jab na:zar aayaa nah mai;N
ha;Ns ke vuh kahne lage bister ko jha;Raa chaahi))e

[from an extremity of thinness, when I didn't come into view,
laughing, she began to say, 'The bedding should be swept out!']

By the circumstances giving pleasure I mean that the situation through which the theme is expressed, too, should have freshness and singularity/rareness. In Nasikh's verse, the situation is that the beloved has come to inquire about the health of the sick lover. The lover lies prostrate within his bedding, and has become so thin that he is not visible. Obviously, when he isn't even visible, how will his physicians and friends be able to serve and care for him? Then, the beloved's laughing, and her saying 'sweep the bedding and look!', no doubt shows her stony-heartedness, but it so much lowers the lover's dignity that he begins to seem to be less a man than an insect. (It should be clear that the time for sweeping out bedding is when there would be some kind of petty but harmful insect in it.) In this way the verse comes to be dominated not by wit but by a commonplace kind of satire.

Ghalib, through the use of 'poetic trickiness', rescued the theme; but Nasikh, in the tumult of expression, passed beyond the bounds of wit and lively pleasantry. Mir adopted the best style of all-- that there both is and isn't a speaker. In this way so much life has entered into the theme that apparently Mir's verse has no relationship at all with Nasikh's and Ghalib's verses.

Mir has versified this theme of the 'image made of clothing' in two more places, and in truth he's versified it well. From the first divan [{566,5}]:

tiraa hai vahm kih mai;N apne pairahan me;N huu;N
nigaah-e ;Gaur se kar mujh me;N kuchh rahaa bhii hai

[you have the illusion/suspicion that I am in my robe
look attentively-- has anything even remained in me?]

From the third divan [{1241,2}]:

poshiidah to nahii;N hai kih ham naa-tavaa;N nahii;N
kap;Ro;N me;N yuu;N hii tum ko hamaaraa bharam hai kuchh

[it's not hidden that we, the frail one, do not exist
amidst the garments you somehow have some illusion of us]

In the present verse, there are more aspects of meaning. Otherwise, even/also the two verses noted above would be a source of pride to any good poet at all.

The final point is that in the first line, by mentioning the illusion of the beloved (or the addressee), Mir has then, by placing his own opinion in the second line, made the idea entirely 'connected'. If he had said only that 'you misunderstand, etc.', then the connection would not be so perfect. He's composed a masterpiece of a verse.

[See also {330,7}.]



Note for grammar fans: In the second line, mai;N nahii;N can mean 'I [am] not', or else it can be a colloquially shortened form (with the subject omitted) of mai;N mai;N nahii;N , 'I [am] not I'. It doesn't make much difference in this case, but it's good to keep aware of all the possibilities.