;Gaalib kih yih dil-;xastah shab-e hijr me;N mar jaa))e
yih raat nahii;N vuh jo kahaanii me;N gu;zar jaa))e

1) it's probable that this heart-afflicted one, in the night of separation, might/would die
2) this night is not {such a / 'that'} one, that might/would pass in story[-telling]



S. R. Faruqi:

This theme belongs to Baba Nasiri Gilani, and Mir's second line is a perfect translation of Baba Gilani's [Persian] one:

'In separation, my sleeplessness knocks on the door of death,
This night is not one that would pass in story[-telling].'

In Nasiri's verse, the allusion to insomnia is fine. To lull a sick person to sleep, it was a common and famous practice in olden times to tell stories. In Mir's verse, as compared to Nasiri's verse, the justification for story-telling is better and subtler-- that the shock of separation prevents sleep from coming. In Mir's account separation is mentioned, but not the sleeplessness caused by separation. Thus as far as this theme goes, Nasiri's verse is better than Mir's verse. But in Mir's verse there are additional depths, while in Baba Nasiri's verse there's no depth.

Consider the following points:

(1) In Mir's verse, the speaker is ambiguous. It's possible that the speaker might have used the third person for himself, as is done sometimes to add force, especially in letters, etc. It's possible that two people might be speaking about a third person. It's possible that some one person might be saying this about some other person. For example, the speaker might be a physician, and the person he's speaking about might be someone sick from passion, and the speaker might have been called in to cure him.

(2) By saying dil-;xastah , he has gathered up all the possibilities for the death of the person sick from passion. In the same way, by saying 'it is probable' instead of 'perhaps' he has reinforced those possibilities.

(3) The second line can be called a definition of the night of separation. That is, that night that would not be passed in story-telling is called the night of separation.

(4) Story-telling will not be a cure for the grief of separation. There can only be the hope that this night (that perhaps weighs very heavily on the sick person) will somehow or other be passed. Thus the verse speaks not of the sick person's becoming cured, but rather of the night passing.



Note for meter fans: All the Urdu meters officially end with a long syllable, so the official last syllable of this meter is the long syllable jaa . Unusually, however, this ghazal has a refrain that ends in an extra, non-counted short syllable (the kind I call a 'cheat syllable'), the ))e of jaa))e . Metrically speaking, it is simply ignored.