mai-;xaanah vuh man:zar hai kih har .sub;h jahaa;N shai;x
diivaar pah ;xvurshiid kaa mastii se sar aave

1) a wine-house is that scene/setting where, every dawn/morning, oh Shaikh
2) on the wall, through intoxication, the sun's head would come



S. R. Faruqi:

For an effect perhaps like this, but with an entirely different theme, see


where the speaker construes the 'thorn at the edge of the wall', which itself is red with his blood, as the 'growth of roses'. That scene was one of madness, and here the scene is one of the madness of intoxication-- that after a whole night of wine-drinking, the rakish one sees the sun that has risen on the walls of the wine-house, in extreme intoxication he assumes that the sun's head has been cut off and hung on the wall, so that morning would not come, nor would the wine-drinking be finished.

The theme is absolutely new, and the unbridled flight of imagination that has bestowed on the radiance of the rising sun the aspect of a cut-off head, leaves the intellect with a finger on its teeth [in amazement]. For the night of union, or the night of wine-drinking, to come to an end is always unpleasant, as in Mir's absolutely superb verse from the first divan [{426,3}]:

shaam-e shab-e vi.saal hu))ii yaa;N kih is :taraf
hone lagaa :tuluu(( hii ;xvurshiid ruu-siyaah

[the evening of the night of union occurred, here, in this way--
the sun began only/emphatically to rise, disgraced/'black-faced']

Thus to suppose that the morning sun has had its head cut off and hung on the wall of the wine-house, is very fine. But the meanings of the verse are not yet at an end. Consider these points:

(1) The sun's cut-off head has not been hung on the wall of the wine-house; rather, the sun itself, staggering and stumbling in a state of intoxication, has gone and hung itself on the door of the wine-house, so that somehow it would be able to give light to the world.

(2) At dawn when the sun rises, then it becomes intoxicated with the scent of the wine-house and goes by the wall of the wine-house, so that it would be able to enjoy the scene inside.

(3) The wine-house is the place where all night the sun hides itself and drinks wine; and when it emerges at dawn to give light to the world, then because of its extreme intoxication its head bumps into the wall of the wine-house and remains stuck there.

Iqbal too has made use of a similar kind of unbridled imagination, and has said:

;xvurshiid vuh ((aabid-e sa;har-;xez
laane-vaalaa payaam-e bar-;xez

[the sun, that worshipper who arouses the dawn,
the bringer of the message of arising]

ma;Grib kii pahaa;Riyo;N me;N chhip kar
piitaa hai ma))e shafaq kaa saa;Gar

[having hidden himself in the mountains of the west
drinks the cup of the wine of sunset]

Then, mai-;xaanah vuh man:zar hai can mean 'the wine-house is the place of that scene', or 'the scene at the wine-house is that one'. Elsewhere too Mir has used man:zar in this way; see for example


The freshness of the word, the image of the head of the sun on the wall of the wine-house, the extreme intoxication in the speaker's tone, the uncontrolledness of intoxication, the uninhibited flight of the imagination-- these things are this verse's crest-jewel of distinction.



It's easy to believe that, as SRF observes, 'the theme is absolutely new', and that it represents 'the unbridled flight of imagination'. This kind of 'theme-creation' is sometimes at the cutting edge of ghazal creativity (if it influences later poets), and sometimes merely idiosyncratic.

If we say 'a wine-house is that scene', then we are also and equally saying 'that scene is a wine-house'. (I call this aspect of Urdu grammar 'symmetry'.) On this reversed reading, the speaker maintains that every place/scene where the morning sun rests its head on the wall through intoxication (either its own or that of the observers) is a wine-house. And of course, where is the wall that is not vividly illumined by the early morning sun? (Think how dazzlingly the sun hits whitewashed walls, and how many whitewashed walls there are in South Asia.) So the 'intoxication' here comes to look Sufistic-- where is the place that God is not? His presence is everywhere, intoxicating the sun and/or the viewers; for those who have eyes to see, the whole world is a wine-house. Since the image of the sun's head on the wall is so multifarious in any case, I wanted to add this Sufistic possibility to the array of readings.

There seems no particular reason to address this observation to the Shaikh. But of course he is the archetypal figure of puritanical (and hypocritical?) censoriousness, and Mir delights in sneering at him. The Shaikh would no doubt be appalled to think of the sun itself as an agent, or victim, or admiring observer, of extreme intoxication.