.sadaa-e aah jaise tiir jii ke paar hotii hai
kisuu be-dard ne khe;Nchaa kisuu ke dil se paikaa;N ko

1) the sound of 'ah', like an arrow, is [habitually] through/beyond the inner-self
2) some pitiless one drew out, from someone's heart, an arrowhead



paar : 'Over, across, on or to the other or further side, through, beyond'. (Platts p.216)

S. R. Faruqi:

To draw out an arrowhead from the heart is something from the world of medicine and healing-- so why has he called the drawer-out of the arrowhead 'pitiless'? There are a number of answers to this question, and all of them add to the subtlety of the verse:

(1) If the tip of a weapon has penetrated deeply, then when it's drawn out there's of course pain. On some occasions this pain is greater than the pain of the wound itself. And if both edges of the weapon are sharp, then as it comes out of the wound it will cut the body even more.

(2) If the arrowhead is lodged, and if it's better to leave it lodged there. If the arrow is pulled out, then the frisson will depart, as in Ghalib's verse:


(It's possible that Ghalib might have gotten the idea from the present verse itself.)

(3) It's possible that the person who has grasped the arrow and is pulling it out, is the one who has given the sigh/'ah'. Now the meaning emerges that he has become irritated with the frisson of the arrowhead and has pulled the arrow itself out of his heart (has become irritated with the exigencies of passion and separation and has renounced passion itself). But this deed was one of pitilessness, because for one thing he had the nerve to renounce passion, and for another thing when he grasped and pulled out the arrowhead there was pain in any case; thus a sigh/aah ascended from his heart.

(4) It's possible that the drawer-out of the arrow would be some physician, or the Advisor. The pitilessness of the physician and the Advisor is established in the verse.

Between khe;Nchnaa and aah there's the connection of a zila [because of the usage aah khe;Nchnaa , 'to heave a sigh']. Among aah , tiir , jii , paar , be-dard , dil , paikan there's 'commonality' [muraa((aat ul-na:ziir]. He's composed a fine verse. It's a very excellent situation that somewhere an arrowhead is drawn out of someone's breast, and an arrow is passing through/beyond the speaker's breast.

[See also {377,1}.]



For discussion of this verse as part of an excellent 'double-ghazal', see {377,1}.

Could the pitiless drawer-out of the arrow be the beloved herself? Perhaps she is salvaging an arrow for reuse, once the prey is already mortally wounded. Or perhaps she is deliberately denying to the lover the chance to cherish the agony/ecstasy of her arrowhead in his heart-- what could be more pitiless than that?

The speaker seems to mystically 'hear' the sound of the sigh, echoing in his own inner self-- or rather, 'through, beyond' it (see the definition above). For he is not the one heaving the sigh (the one with the arrow being drawn out of his heart), as the second line makes clear. Nor is he near enough to physically hear the sound, since he has no knowledge of the details, but can only guess what must have happened.

Note for grammar fans: Why did Mir say hotii hai rather than jaatii hai ? Perhaps he wanted the effect of echoing or lingering, rather than evoking the swift straight movement of an arrow.