kitne pai;Gaam chaman ko hai;N so dil me;N hai;N girih
kisuu din ham ta))ii;N bhii baad-e sa;har aavegii

1) how many messages the garden has! -- thus/'so' in the heart there are knots
2) some day, to even/also us the dawn breeze will come



so : 'adv. & conj. So, so that, therefore, hence, consequently, accordingly; but then; thereupon; now, well'. (Platts p.690)


girih : 'A knot; knob; node; a joint, knuckle; an articulation; a division (one-sixteenth) of a gaz or yard, three finger-breadths; ... (fig.) an entanglement, a difficulty; impediment (in speech); prejudice; misunderstanding, dissension'. (Platts p.906)


sa;har : 'Time a little before day-break; day-break, dawn of day'. (Platts p.644)

S. R. Faruqi:

A theme similar to this, Sauda has presented with much 'mood' and a pleasing ambiguity:

ay saakinaan-e kunj-e qafas .sub;h ko .sabaa
sunte hai;N jaa))egii suu-e gulzaar kuchh kaho

[oh dwellers in the corner of the cage, in the morning the dawn breeze,
do you hear?-- will go toward the garden-- say something!]

This verse also became even more famous because Faiz has used it as an introduction to 'Zindan-namah'. (In the earliest editions, instead of sunte hai;N there was suntii hii , and this reading too became famous.) We have already seen some superb verses that make the breeze into a Messenger, or have it bring a rose-leaf as far as the cage, and take it back; for example, see




In the present verse there's an ambiguity like that in Sauda's verse, and a greater meaningfulness. The second line has two meanings: (1) in a longing-filled style he has said, 'Someday, will it really happen that the dawn breeze will come to us, or will pass by us?'. (2) In a tone of confidence and resolve he has said, 'All right, sometime or other the dawn breeze will come to us, or will pass by us'.

In Sauda's verse there's a mention of the 'dwellers in the corner of the cage', but in Mir's verse the implication is that the speaker is in a cage. Hali, who usually believed in detailed exposition, was nevertheless a defender of the excellence of 'implication'. With regard to romantic poetry he has written in several places that 'Compared to clearness, implication is more eloquent'.

In Mir's verse, the phrase dil me;N girih too is very fine, because this is of course a metaphor, but since the heart itself is called a 'knot', or a 'bud', or 'tight like a bud', to call something dil me;N girih is a superb example of 'affinity'. And to top it all off, when someone is melancholy then the idiom dil me;N girih pa;Rnaa is used for him. This idiom also has a bit of affinity with the theme of the verse, and this meaning (melancholy) of dil me;N girih is, according to Derrida, in a 'place of deferment' in any case; and in this way a tension is created in the line that adds to its pleasure.

The theme of the 'constriction [giriftagii] of the heart', Mir has versified with great excellence in one place in the first divan itself:


Between this verse and the present verse another point in common is that in {138,1} he confides the heart to the care of the spring breeze, and in this way establishes the hope of its opening out; while in the present verse the suggestion is that when he would pull out from his heart the knot-like entangled messages and send them off with the breeze, then these knots would, so to speak, be opened and would emerge from the heart, and the heart would become light. There's also of course the point that the heart is called a 'bud', and about a bud the assumption is that when the breeze strikes it, then it tends to open/bloom.

Now we will consider the question of which, and what kind of, messages these are, that lie halted in the heart. On this theme a verse by Shad comes to mind:

mur;Gaan-e qafas ko phuulo;N ne ay shaad yih kahlaa bhejaa hai
aa jaa))o tum ko aanaa ho aise me;N abhii shaadaab hai;N ham

[to the birds of the cage, the flowers, oh Shad, have sent this message:
'come, if you would have to come in such a way; right now we are verdant'

As in Mir's verse, here too is a bit of mystery, about what idea or what thing incited the flowers to send a message to the birds of the cage. But for this very reason the situation is a bit artificial, because the sending of a message by the flowers to the birds of the cage is rather contrived. Sauda and Mir, by adopting the theme of a message being sent by the birds of the cage, have protected themselves from artificialness.

It's entirely natural that a message would go from the birds of the cage to the garden or the dwellers in the garden. For example: (1) It might be a complaint about their lack of kindness. (2) It might be an description of the sender's wretched condition. (3) It might be an expression of his love. (4) It might be a lament that he has been unable to send to them an account of his heart. (5) It might be a question about when they would come to him. (6) It might be a question about what season it is there now. There are an abundance of possibilities, and every possibility makes a new addition to the 'mood' of the verse. In Mir's special style, here 'mood' and 'meaning-creation' go hand in hand.

Another point worth noting is that although to make the .sabaa or the nasiim a Messenger is among the accepted conventions of poetry, the theme has never been versified that the breeze actually delivered a message. In the present verse this aspect creates additional tension-- that there are many messages to be sent, but as to whether the breeze will deliver them, no one can say. And any case there's the anxiety as to whether the dawn breeze would come to the prisoners of the cage at all, or whether all their messages would remain till their last breath as knots in the heart.

Sayyid Muhammad Khan Rind too has taken up Mir's theme, and has used dil me;N girih :

;Gunchah saa;N ;haal-e dil-e zaar rahaa dil me;N girih
nah milaa baa;G-e jahaa;N me;N shinavaa gosh mujhe

[like a bud, the state of the sorrowful heart; there remained a knot in the heart
I found in the garden of the world no hearing ear]

Since flowers are assumed to have ears, there's in any case a relationship between 'like a bud' and 'hearing ear'. Mir's verse has the rank of a masterpiece.



The perfect positioning of that protean little particle so (see the definition above) opens up several readings of the first line.

=Because there are so many messages in it, the heart is full of knots (like a congested highway).

=There are so many messages, and in the heart each message is like a knot.

=Because there are so many messages in it, the heart is troubled and confused.

The verse feels melancholy, but in a (desperately?) hopeful way. It makes me think of the classic 'Trouble in mind', which shares its trust in a fresh 'dawn breeze':

Trouble in mind, I'm blue
But I won't be blue always,
'Cause the sun's gonna shine
In my back door some day...
March wind's gonna blow all my blues away.

Still, as SRF points out, that second line can certainly also be read with a colloquially-omitted kyaa ,as a melancholy question-- 'Will the breeze ever come to us?'. Similarly, the first half of the first line could be read as 'How many messages does the garden have?'. It's a pity that the interrogative inversion of order in English ('will it?' versus 'it will') deprives us of such ravishing touches of ambiguity.