bha;Rke hai aatish-e gul ai abr-e tar tara;h;hum
goshe me;N gulsitaa;N ke meraa bhii aashiyaa;N hai

1) the fire of the rose flares up-- oh rain-cloud, mercy!
2) in a corner of the garden, even/also I have a nest



bha;Raknaa : 'To break or burst forth into flame, blaze up, break out; to take fire; to fly into a passion, become very excited; to be over-heated'. (Platts p.188)

S. R. Faruqi:

In this verse what is interesting is, first of all, the fact that although all aspects of this theme are shopworn and commonplace, Mir has brought them together and transformed them. That is, it is accepted and desired and a a purpose of life that the fire of the rose would burn the lover to ashes (= that he would lose his life at the hands of the beloved). But here, seeing the flame and blazing of the fire of the rose, the speaker is calling out to the raincloud, 'Come and put out the fire, because in one corner of this garden I too have a small nest, and even/also that is about to be seized by the fire!'. Apparently this theme is beneath the rank of lover-ship, but in fact there are several layers to it.

The first point is that however much the cloud will rain, the fire will flare up that much more, because in our region, it's only during the rainy season that roses and greenery spring up on every hand. However much it rains, by that much the ebullience of growth increases, and flowers and leaves can be seen in every direction. Thus to invite the raincloud to pour down is in fact to demand that the fire of the rose should be caused to flare up even more.

In such a situation, for the speaker's nest to be saved-- not a chance. In the light of this meaning, the verse seems to be founded on Derrida's principle that apparently a text says something, but in reality it says something else. And from this Paul de Man draws the conclusion that it's the very nature of a text ultimately to become merciless toward the will of the author, or toward its own apparent meaning.

If we consider a bit more, then we realize that the thing isn't as simple as we previously thought it to be. Let's assume that in every direction the rain is pouring down, and here and there in the garden flowers and greenery are springing up-- that is, the fire of the rose has blazed up very well. But the speaker's nest is 'in a corner of the garden'; thus as yet the fire of the rose has not reached there. Thus the speaker's plea is, 'Oh raincloud, we too are lying here in a corner-- show mercy to us, and come and rain in this direction, so that the fire of the rose would reach to our nest, and would take it and us into the embrace of its flames!'.

The meaning of tara;h;hum is 'to show kindness', 'to bestow'; see [the dictionary] munta;xab ul-lu;Gaat . The latter meaning has, again, two meanings: (1) to forgive a sin; and (2) to endow ( [the dictionary] mavaarid ul-ma.sdar ). We see that both meanings are suitable to our purpose. That is, 'oh cloud, grant me favor/protection' (keep me protected from the fire), or 'through your favor, bestow rain on me too' (cause the fire of the rose to flare up in such a way that it would reach me), or 'oh cloud, show kindness to me too' (and save me from burning).

Now let's consider: if the speaker is concerned to save his nest, then why is this so? It's possible that it might be only on the basis of desire, and of a cowardly clinging to life (see


It's also possible that the speaker might have a scheme in mind: that through the fire of the rose, after the gardener and the Hunter have gone, then he might/would remain freely in the garden. And in order to carry out this scheme, he is sneakily begging the raincloud for mercy, for a favor. It's also possible that having seen so much beauty and charm, the speaker has been overwhelmed/confounded, and wants the strength to endure and augment it-- that is, before burning up in the fire of the rose, he wants to enjoy its pleasure fully.

Another point is that the beloved is also called 'fire-colored' and 'fire-faced' and so on. Thus the flaring up of the fire of the rose can also mean that the beloved is for some reason flamingly radiant (on the theme of flaming radiance through intoxication, see


and her flaming radiance is making the lover fearful. In any case, no matter how we look at it, the theme of the verse is very fresh and interesting.

Shakir Naji has taken up a common theme-- that the person who doesn't burn to death in the fire of the rose suffers reproach-- and composed a superb verse:

ik aatish-e bahaar se bach ga))ii hai dekhiye
bulbul ke ;haq me;N gul nah agar ;xandanii kare

[she has been saved from a single/particular/unique/excellent fire of springtime, you see
if, for the Nightingale's sake, the rose would not smile/laugh]

The truth is that the 'dramaticness' in Naji's verse has made it better than Mir's. But the freshness of Mir's theme too has its own value. In his second line, the every-day simplicity and the domesticness of the style are enjoyable, as though he would be saying humbly, 'Brother, in some corner of the garden there's a little hut of ours too'.



SRF has done a lovely job of explication.

Note for translation fans: In Urdu meraa aashiyaa;N bhii hai is different from meraa bhii aashiyaa;N hai . It's easy to say the former and emphasize the nest ('my nest too is there'), but how to convey an emphasis on the ownership ('my too nest is there')? Only through an italicized 'my', which in this context looks unduly pompous. That's why I've gone for the abstractly possessive 'I too have a nest'. Perhaps in this case it doesn't make any real difference, but I like to stay as close to the grammatical ground as possible.

Note for meter fans: Without changing the spelling of gulistaa;N , we just change the scansion to gulsitaa;N , to fit the meter. It's one of the special cases where this is permitted.