falak ne gar kiyaa ru;x.sat mujhe sair-e bayaabaa;N ko
nikaalaa sar se mere jaa))e muu ;xaar-e mu;Giilaa;N ko

1) if the sky gave me leave [to depart] for a stroll in the desert
2) it caused to emerge from my head, in place of [each] hair, an acacia-thorn



ru;x.sat karnaa : 'To permit or suffer to depart, give (one) leave to go, to bid adieu to, to dismiss; to send away, discharge'. (Platts p.590)

S. R. Faruqi:

These verses [=three from {377} plus {378,6}, which SSA presents together] have been drawn from the thirty verses of a 'double-ghazal' [do-;Gazlah]. Except for three or four, every verse of the double-ghazal is an example of masterful craftsmanship and poetic composition. In such a dense [;Thas] 'ground' it's difficult to come up with even ten verses of a particularly high level, not to speak of twenty-five or thirty verses. But the youthful Mir made even this colorless ground colorful.

Perhaps because in this thorn-garden it's difficult for a verse to flourish, many of Mir's contemporaries have avoided this ground. Only Dard and Baqa have five or six verses apiece in it. Baqa was a good poet; he claimed to be Mir's equal, or even to be superior to him. He also had an enthusiasm for difficult grounds, but in this ground he couldn't come up with a single superb verse. Though indeed, Dard's verses, as usual, are almost all of a high standard.

This ground seems in fact to be the invention of Shah Hatim. Shah Hatim, and then Ja'far Ali Hasrat, have written good verses in it. Hatim's opening-verse is very fine:

mai;N paimaa))ish kiyaa majnuu;N-.sifat yak-sar bayaabaa;N ko
nah pahu;Nchaa daaman-e .sa;hraa mire chaak-e garebaa;N ko

[I measured, like Majnun, the entire desert
the garment-hem of the desert didn't reach to the rip in my collar]

This ghazal is from 1748. At that time Sauda, Yaqin, Qa'im, Taban were all present, but none of them took on this ground. Taban was in his last days; it was perhaps for this reason that he paid no attention to it. But among the other contemporaries of Mir, perhaps the reason most of them were not attracted to this ground was because it was obviously wasteland [banjar].

In Mir's opening-verse bayaabaa;N is the rhyme-word in the first line, and apparently doesn't create any special expectations. Though indeed it's interesting that for some reason the sky loves the speaker enough so that in order to lessen his madness (or to give his madness free play) it gives him leave for a 'stroll' in the desert.

In the second line an uncommon image confronts us: that on the speaker's head, instead of hair, acacia-thorns have been caused to grow. Thorns penetrate into the feet, or will penetrate into them-- so what can be the point of causing them to grow from the head? The first point is that this was 'cruelty-enjoyment' [sitam-:zariifii], it was an oppressive joke. A second point is that in thorns being caused to grow from the head, there was a suggestion that he should cover the desert roads by repeatedly prostrating himself [sar ke bal se].

A third point is that in madness the hair stands on end; here, by causing sharp thorns to grow from the head, it has created a lasting symbol of madness. A fourth point is that in madness the mind is of course wrecked; by causing thorns to grow from the head, it has ruined his appearance as well. In short, no matter how we look at it, the image has made the verse extraordinary.

The tone of voice too is worthy of praise. In it there's annoyance, and helplessness, and the feeling of a sarcastic smile at oneself.

This theme has been used by Qa'im and Shah Nasir as well. Qa'im:

aavaaragaan-e ;Gam ke saro;N par nah jaan baal
niklii hai;N sar se phuu;T ke noke;N yih ;xaar kii

[on the heads of the wanderers of grief, do not consider there to be hair
these that have burst out and emerged from the head, are thorn-tips]

Shah Nasir:

dasht-e va;hshat-;xez me;N rakkhaa qadam jis roz se
sar ke muu nikle mire ;xaar-e mu;Giilaa;N kii :tara;h

[from the day when I set foot in the madness-creating desert
the hair on my head grew like acacia-thorns]

But neither of these verses gives the pleasure that Mir's verse gives by virtue of its presenting the sky as an active agent, as a 'subject'.



Most people would choose to take a 'stroll' in a garden or in the streets of a city; the speaker aspires only to take a 'stroll' (?) in the desert. Most people would expect to take a stroll without any special need for permission; the speaker can only take a stroll when the sky gives him leave (presumably by easing up for a little while on its constant persecution). And even if he obtains such formal leave or permission from the sky (or if the sky should actively 'send away, discharge' him for such a stroll), what is the result? He finds that the sky has caused, Instead of hair, acacia thorns to grow from his head. (What a show of wanton, unmoored 'grotesquerie'!)

So perhaps the sky is playing with the speaker, the way a cat plays with a mouse. It seemingly grants him a leave or a small vacation, so that he can stroll for a bit in the desert. But then he finds himself afflicted in new and fresh ways. Since the desert is notoriously thorny anyway, perhaps the sky wants the lover to feel that whereas other desert-travelers merely have thorns pierce into their feet, he alone has (metaphorical or even real) thorns pierce out of his head.

Who could have imagined that the sky was so diabolically inventive, such a treacherous 'cruelty-enjoyer'? Apparently the sky wanted to make sure the poor lover had no respite at all from his suffering. Still, the image of the poor lover with thorns growing out of his head is so off-putting that it does tend to vitiate the verse.