hegii to do-saalah par hai du;xtar-e raz aafat
kyaa piir-e mu;Gaa;N ne bhii ik chhokrii paalii hai

1) she may be a two-year-old, but the 'Daughter of the Vine' is a calamity!
2) has even/also the Tavern-master kept/protected a single/particular/unique/excellent servant-girl?!



hegii is an archaic form of hogii .


du;xtar-e raz : ''Daughter of the vine,' wine; a grape'. (Platts p.507)


mu;Gaa;N : 'A tavern, a house of promiscuous entertainment'. (Platts p.1050)


chhokrii : 'A girl, a lass; a slave-girl; a dancing girl'. (Platts p.466)

S. R. Faruqi:

The theme of the mischievousness and free-spiritedness of the 'Daughter of the Vine', perhaps no one has versified better than [in Persian] Bedil:

'She is a calamity-creator, since her temperament is very self-willed,
The Daughter of the Vine makes many kinds of mischief, through being without a husband.'

Mirza Jan Tapish too has versified a somewhat light theme very enjoyably:

phirtii hai mu;Nh milaatii har mu;Nh se du;xtar-e raz
all;aah re kyaa use bhii mastii lagii hu))ii hai

[she goes around touching her mouth to every mouth, the Daughter of the Vine
my God-- has she herself become intoxicated?]

(Here, mastii lagnaa means 'for sexual feeling to be created'.) In the first divan itself, Mir has versified the theme of the two-year-old Daughter of the Vine, but not with any special distinction [{528,3}]:

ham javaano;N ko nah chho;Raa us se sab pak;Re ga))e
yih do-saalah du;xtar-e raz kis qadar shattaah hai

[she didn't leave us young men alone, we were all seized by her
this two-year-old Daughter of the Vine-- how shameless she is!]

Mirza Ja'far Rahib Isfahani has a very interesting [Persian] verse, the basic theme of which is something else, but which also contains, with the greatest excellence, a reference to the Daughter of the Vine:

'For some time I've been yawning with wine-thirst in this winehouse,
The Daughter of the Vine will become old before she comes round to me.'

The theme of wine going to one's head we have already seen in an extremely superb verse by Abru, cited in {1719,1}, but Mir's present verse too has its own marks of distinction.

The informality and mischievousness of the second line, its insha'iyah structure, its referring to the Daughter of the Vine as a chhokrii , and the double-meaning of paalii ( that is, paa plus lii , 'obtained', and paalii , 'protected'), are all very fine. With regard to do-saalah , the pleasure of the piir-e mu;Gaa;N is additional, because 'two-year-old wine' is usually very strong and sharp. Thus for the 'old man' [piir] to have a two-year-old servant-girl is superb, and it's even more superb that two-year-old wine, with regard to its strength, steals away the wits even of senior people.

The theme of 'two-year-old wine', Hafiz has versified [in Persian] once and for all, abundantly and with great excellence:

'Forty years I spent in sorrow and anger and regret,
The prescription that cured me was two-year-old wine.'

'Two-year-old wine and a fourteen-year-old beloved,
This much small and great company is enough for me.'

One form of Sufistic interpretation that has been used in Hafiz's poetry is that words and phrases like 'two-year-old wine' would be assumed to be technical terms, and would be declared to have mystical meanings. Thus discussing the 'small and great' verse, Yusuf Ali Shah Chishti Nizami writes, in his shar;h-e yuusufii , that both 'two-year-old wine' and 'a fourteen-year-old beloved' refer to 'the wine of mystical knowledge'. One is somewhat less strong and effective, and one more so. Then he says, 'The "two-year-old wine" can be the wine of oneness; it can also be the two intoxicated eyes of the beloved, since in the dictionary saal is a word for a fountain of water, and an eye too is a fountain of the water of tears'. In addition, he says that 'a fourteen-year-old beloved refers to a youthful boy'. [Further elaboration of Nizami's interpretive views, with regard to other verses of Hafiz.] Thus the 'two-year-old wine' = wine of mystical knowledge, and in the light of this commentary we can also call Mir's verse 'intoxicated' and 'mystical'. No matter how we look at it, the verse is uncommon.

[See also {617,1}.]



Of course, as SRF notes, mystical interpretations can almost always be brought in. But if everything in the ghazal world is read as mystical, all the verses become quite similar, and often rather dull (since their interest is then chiefly theological). A much more satisfactory approach is to look at the verse itself-- does it seem demonstrably to invite, or invoke, mystical meanings? In this case, it does not. Just the opposite in fact.

For we have a rough-and-tumble setting-- the winehouse, and a wench of some kind. She's a very young girl who's a real calamity, a holy terror-- no doubt through some blend of mischief, self-will, beauty, charm, and shameless allure. Should she even be there at all, in public, causing turmoil among the guests? The Cupbearer in the wine-house is usually imagined as a graceful boy on the threshhold of puberty. This 'Daughter of the Vine' girl doesn't sound like a suitable, reliable Cupbearer so much as like a spoiled young girl being brought up indulgently by the Tavern-master.

The word chhokrii definitely makes her sound more or less disreputable (a servant, a slave, a dancing-girl). It's a term like 'wench'; it would be rude to use it for the Tavern-master's own daugher or other female relatives. But it seems that the insolent wench is under the Tavern-master's protection. Is he training her-- or claiming to train her-- as a servant? Does he also perhaps 'keep' her in a sexual sense? The ik too workd most cleverly here-- is she a 'single', or 'particular', or 'unique', or 'excellent' chhokrii ? The speaker doesn't know, but speculates about the nature of the relationship. (Or perhaps, given the 'kya effect', he exclaims at the remarkable nature of the Tavern-master's behavior.)

Compare the even more enjoyable effects that Ghalib gets from playing on the suggestive behavior of the 'Daughters of the Bier':


Note for grammar fans: That hegii (archaic for hogii ) needs to be read as a presumptive: she 'will be' (presumably) a two-year-old. The rhetorical effect is like this: 'All right, no doubt she's only a kid, but still...'.