.sad chashm-e daa;G vaa hai;N dil par mire mai;N vuh huu;N
dikhlaa rahaa hai laalah tuu apnaa daa;G kis ko

1) a hundred wound-eyes are open on my heart-- that's who/what I am!
2) you are showing, oh tulip, your wound/scar-- to whom?



S. R. Faruqi:

To give as the simile for wounds 'hundreds of open eyes' is fine, but not out of the ordinary. In the second line, his addressing [;xi:taab karnaa] the tulip and saying dikhlaa rahaa hai have gone beyond the ordinary. There's also the suggestion that the tulip's wound is only for show, it can't be used for seeing. The speaker's wound is open like a watchful eye. To say mai;N vuh huu;N was powerful in itself; after it, the refrain kis ko has made it tumultuous.

It's possible that the inspiration for this verse might have been Naziri's [Persian] verse:

'I can never be at leisure, for in my water-and-dust
You have sowed the seeds of a thousand heart-watchfulnesses.'

Naziri's verse is better than Mir's, because the meaningfulness of Naziri's image of 'heart-agitation', and the 'mood' of the mastery of passion over all individuality-- all this is beyond Mir's verse. But Mir's rakishness has its own place, and in any case makes his verse worthy of attention.

An idea similar to Mir's can be found in [the Persian of] Talib Amuli:

'From my dust, still, like freshly-minted coins
Pieces/jewels of the wound-bearing liver are obtained.'

Talib's verse too is better than Mir's, but here the hyperbole has come to dominate the narrativity. Mir's wounds are open like watchful eyes-- nevertheless, this theme retains a 'mood'.

There's also the point that the basic theme of Mir's verse, in its way, is firmly established and fresh-- that the tulip can't endure a single wound; because of its lack of endurance/capacity it begins to show the wound to everybody. In contrast, the speaker's heart contains nothing but open wound upon open wound-- but not to speak of showing, he doesn't even mention them.

The youthful Ghalib has versified this theme with full clarity [in an unpublished verse, G{282x,5}:

ham ne sau za;xm-e jigar par bhii zabaa;N paidaa nah kii
gul hu))aa hai ek za;xm-e siinah par ;xvaa;haan-e daad

[even upon having a hundred liver-wounds, we did not create a tongue
the rose has become, upon having a single breast-wound, a seeker of praise]

In Ghalib's verse, for the rose to be a seeker of praise is fine.

In Mir's verse, the dramatic tone, the use of implication, and the insha'iyah style-- these three qualities are ones of which the verses under discussion by Naziri, Talib Amuli, and Ghalib are all devoid. All three verses are fine in their ways, but Mir's distinctions too have their suitability.



The basic conceit is that the dark spot in the center of the tulip is a 'wound'. For more on this, see G{33,1}.

Note for grammar fans: I had been strongly inclined to read laalah to instead of laalah tuu in the second line. But I was curious about the grammar, so I consulted SRF. He replied emphatically (May 2016):

Arey yar there's no way to read to here instead of tuu .  For to is an affirmative intensifier or a conditional intensifier. It is always followed by a result, or a 'but':

mai;N to maar kar us kaa mu;Nh to;R detaa magar....
mai;N to kisii kii baat bardaasht nahii;N kar saktaa .
kuchh bhii ho jaa))e mai;N to chup to rahuu;Ngaa .
mai;N to .zaruur boltaa lekin vahaa;N suntaa kaun hai .
vuh to chale gaye hote lekin saamaan nahii;N taiyaar thaa .

You can see that there's no way the line can be read as anything but addressing the laalah .

I had of course been thinking of the more general uses of to , the cases in which it means something like 'then'. I was taking the line as something like 'To whom, then, is the tulip showing its scar?' But SRF obviously finds that idea overextended. I'm including his examples here just to show how he thinks most centrally about to .