nigaah-e chashm-e pur-;xashm-e butaa;N par mat na:zar rakhnaa
milaa hai zahr ai dil us sharaab-e purtugaalii me;N

1) on the angry-eyed gaze of idols, don't place hope/'sight''
2) poison has mixed, oh heart, into that port/'Portuguese' wine



;xashm : 'Anger, writh, indignation, passion, rage, fury'. (Platts p.490)


na:zar rakhnaa : 'To look (upon), to regard, to set eyes (upon); —to keep the eye (upon), to watch; to look (after), to attend (to); —to be intent (on); —to have in view, to contemplate, intend; —to cast a wistful eye (upon); to look sweet (upon)'. (Platts p.1143)

S. R. Faruqi:

na:zar rakhnaa = to have hope

By sharaab-e purtugaalii is meant port wine, which is of a deep red color and was originally made in Portugal (as is clear from its English name as well. Urdu poets have often versified this theme. Shakir Naji says:

lage hai yuu;N tirii a;Nkhyaa;N siyah-mast
goyaa pii hai sharaab-e purtugaalii

[your eyes seem 'black-drunk', as if
so to speak, you have drunk port wine]

But in this verse there's no pleasure in the theme, because no word has been used that has an affinity with port wine. By contrast, in this [unpublished] verse by the youthful Ghalib, although there's an unnecessary/excessive amount of 'separation' [by means of izafats], words have been brought in that have an affinity to the redness of port wine:


Mir too has maintained this point: since in anger the eyes become red, he has called the 'gaze of angry-eyed idols' port wine, since that too is of a deep red color. Mir has also created the additional idea that poison has been mixed into the port wine. The taste of port wine is called, in the terminology, 'sweet'. Its sweetness is light and natural; that is, vintners don't put a sweet leaven for fermentation into it (as is done with some Indian wines). Its flavor is deep and like that of sweet-smelling fruit juices.

The Lord knows whether Mir had ever drunk this wine or not, but the way he has used the theme in this verse makes it probable that Mir was acquainted with the taste of this wine, and knew that if poison would be put into such a wine then it would be difficult to detect its taste (provided that the poison wasn't in an extreme amount, or very bitter), because in the taste, color, and fruity aroma of port wine the color and taste of poison can easily be hidden. By bringing in the theme of poison, Mir has raised the theme from one level to quite another one.

Mir Mamnun has versified, instead of Portuguese wine, a Portuguese sword, and the pleasure is that the theme of wine is also present. His verse is very excellent; but Mir, by adding the theme of poison and the affinity of the color of port wine, has made his own verse very much superior. Mamnun says:

farangii-zaadah-e be-dard tujh bin dil pah masto;N ke
kare hai kaam mauj-e baadah te;G-e purtugaalii kaa

[oh pitiless son of a Frank, without you, on the hearts of the intoxicated ones
the wave of wine would do the work of a Portuguese sword]

In any case, undoubtedly Mamnun has composed a verse that is carefully crafted and trimly constructed.

The Persian idiom is chashm daashtan , meaning 'to place hope'; in Urdu it has been translated as chashm rakhnaa and na:zar rakhnaa . Neither of them became widely used: chashm daasht meaning 'hope' has caught on, but chashm rakhnaa meaning 'to place hope' does not occur after the classical poets. It's surprising that chashm rakhnaa isn't in any Urdu dictionary.

Mir has used chashm rakhnaa several times. For example, see


And from the first divan [{275,1}]:

kyaa kahuu;N kyaa rakhte the tujh se tire biimaar chashm
tujh ko baalii;N par nah dekhaa kholii sau sau baar chashm

[what can I say, what hope/'eye' your sick one placed on you
I didn't see you at my pillow-- I opened my eyes hundreds of times]

It is in Dard as well:

dil us mizhah se rakhyo nah tuu chashm-e raastii
ay be-;xabar buraa hai yih firqah sipaah kaa

[heart, don't place your sincere hopes on those eyelashes
oh ignoramus, this troop of soldiers is a bad one!]

In [the dictionary] nuur ul-lu;Gaat we find na:zar rakhnaa meaning 'to place hope', but apart from the present verse of Mir's, I haven't seen it anywhere else. To the extent that it's unique, this idiom too has the power of a 'fresh word'. The sameness of chashm and chashm , and the wordplay of chashm , nigaah , na:zar , are also fine. There's also a wordplay between dil and sharaab , because the simile of a glass/decanter is used for the heart. (In this connection see the next verse,




SRF feels that the point of comparison between the beloved's eyes and the port wine is the 'redness' of the eyes of an angry person. That's an unattractive and depressing thought, to my mind; also, if the beloved is looking at the lover with such clear and visible anger, why would he have to admonish his heart not to get its hopes up? A more plausible reaction would be despair. The idea sounds more like a long, lingering, gaze into which the poor lover could read all sorts of possibilities.

Surely the beloved's gaze is like port wine not because her eyes are red with anger (which is surely based on the irresistible wordplay of chashm and ;xashm ) but because her gaze is deep, rich, 'sweet', intoxicating, and a suitable vehicle for masking poison. Unfortunately, her gaze is in fact like port wine with poison in it, since she's so treacherous and unreliable and such a femme fatale. The intransitive milnaa makes it clear that the poison just happens to be mixed into the wine; the beloved didn't necessarily put it there, and indeed she might not even know that it's there. It's not surprising that the lover is so urgently warning his heart.