khol kar aa;Nkh u;Raa diid jahaa;N kaa ;Gaafil
;xvaab ho jaa))egaa phir jaagnaa sote sote

1) open your eyes, cast your gaze on the world, oh heedless one!

2a) then/again, waking will become a dream/sleep, while sleeping
2b) then/again, a dream/sleep will become waking, while sleeping



diid : 'Seeing, sight, vision; show, spectacle'. (Platts p.556)


;xvaab : 'Sleep; dream, vision'. (Platts p.494)

S. R. Faruqi:

diid u;Raanaa : to look at

The expression diid u;Raanaa , meaning 'to look at', is not in Janab Barkati's dictionary. The aa.sifiyah and the nuur too are devoid of it. In the urdu lu;Gat taarii;xii u.suul par it appears, with the 'warrant' of the present verse of Mir's, and the following verse of Qa'im's:

qaa))im jo kuchh kih hogii samajh liijo ba((d-e marg
ab jiite-jii to diid u;Raa is diyaar kaa

[Qa'im, whatever will be, you are to understand it after death
now, while you're alive, cast your gaze on this realm]

Both verses are also almost identical in theme. It's possible that both poets might have composed the verses with regard to diid u;Raanaa , or one might have composed a 'reply' to the other. In Mir's verse, as usual, there's a fine attention to wordplay, with a 'commonality' [muraa((at ul-na:ziir] on top of it ( khol , aa;Nkh , diid , jahaa;N , ;Gaafil , ;xvaab , jaagnaa , sote sote ). Qa'im's command of the language is not as powerful as Mir's, so he cannot, as Mir does, create wordplay whenever and wherever he wants.

With regard to theme, both of them show this-worldliness and a kind of humanism-- that they have declared one's existence and life in this world to be valuable and deserving of respect in its own right. In Qa'im's verse the insha'iyah style of both lines, and samajh liijo ba((d-e marg are very fine. But in Mir's verse the abundance of wordplay, the muraa((at ul-na:ziir , the dramaticness of the address in the first line, the paradox in the second line, are all very fine; as well as the theme itself-- that if you sleep too much, then you will lose the sight/show of the world, but a time will come when waking will become like a dream ( = nonexistent).

It should be kept in mind that although ri((aayat and 'commonality' [muraa((at ul-na:ziir] are things of just the same family (and for this reason I have, in the remarks in this book, entered them together), there is nevertheless a difference between them. By muraa((at ul-na:ziir is meant, in a verse, to bring together a single kind of words, or a single family [qabiil] of words. Thus through muraa((at ul-na:ziir no special act of meaning takes place. For example, in the present verse, if instead of having its present form the first line went like this:

khol kar diidah u;Raa diid jahaa;N kaa saiyaa;h ,

then the muraa((at ul-na:ziir would still remain, although its elements would change ( diidah in place of aa;Nkh , and saiyaa;h in place of ;Gaafil ), because khol , diidah , jahaa;N , saiyaa;h are words of the same family.

But in this new form of the line, the wordplay between diidah and diid would be damaged by the change of a word (for example , diidah in place of aa;Nkh ). Between aa;Nkh and diidah too there is wordplay, but it's not as enjoyable as that between diidah and diid . The fundamental requirement for wordplay [ri((aayat] is that in addition to the meanings in which the words are used, they should have some other meaning as well, which would not be appropriate in the text under discussion, but through which the words would seem to be related to each other. In this way tension, and new depths, are created in the verse.

For example, in the new form of the line the meaning of diidah as 'eye' is appropriate, but diidah also means 'having seen'. This meaning is not appropriate here. But its relationship with diid is clear-- because here the meaning of diid is 'scene, view', and the other meaning of diid ('saw', 'to see) is related to the word diidah . In Mir's actual line there's this kind of wordplay between aa;Nkh and diid , with only the difference that the wordplay between diidah and diid is more convoluted. But Mir renounced it for the sake of idiomatic speech ( aa;Nkh kholnaa is better, and more eloquent, than diidah kholnaa ).

In Mir's verse there are still a few more points. In the second line, one meaning is that when you die, you will remain at all times merely sleeping, and at that time you won't manage even to have dreams. Now, in this is the subtlety that if waking will become a dream, then it's as if you'll have a dream of waking. That is, when you sleep the sleep of death, then you will dream that you are waking, and it's clear that in such a dream the world itself will be seen (whether it would be the world here, or the world there).

Another meaning is that your waking from sleep will become a dream. That is, at that time what will happen is that you would sometimes sleep, sometimes awaken, but when you die, then when you sleep it will not be possible to awaken. Thus at this time, open your eyes and see the sight/show of the world. In this connection, see




Please also notice that in the present verse not one word is difficult or convoluted, but there's such an abundance of meaning that one can only applaud. If one would be a poet, then this is how to do it!



Through the grammatical structure that I call symmetry, the second line necessarily affirms both that A will become B and that B will become A. There's also the intriguing (or vexing) conflation that ;xvaab means both 'sleep' and 'dream'. There's also the significant question of whether the phir means 'then', or 'again'.

And as a final touch, the whole back-and-forth between sleeping and waking will all take place 'while sleeping', which means that everything in the line could be a dream. The result is that it's impossible to sort out any clear set of meanings for the second line. Still, this gnomic undecidability doesn't make the line any the less enjoyable.

The only clear thing about the verse is that the first line spells out a vigorous alarm-- in effect, a wake-up call (sorry, sorry).