sarsarii kuchh sun liyaa phir vaah vaa kar u;Th ga))e
shi((r yih kam-fahm samjhe hai;N ;xayaal-e bang hai

1) superficially they heard somewhat/something; then, having said 'bravo!' they rose [and went away]
2) these little-understanders have considered that poetry is a 'thought from bhang'



sarsarii : 'Easy, facile, careless, without attention or consideration, without due consideration; summary; cursory; hasty, hurried; trivial, trifling; —easily; cursorily; hastily, in haste; gratuitously, for nothing'. (Platts p.654)


bang : 'Hemp, Cannabis satica; an intoxicating potion made from the leaves of hemp (= bhaa ;Ng )'. (Platts p.171)

S. R. Faruqi:

bang = bhang

Abbasi has declared the present verse and the one before it, which is not included in our intikhab, to be a verse-set. In my opinion, both verses are separate.

Those people who consider Mir's poetry to be on a 'popular' level (that is, non-complex themes in extremely non-complex language)-- if they had lived in Mir's time, then perhaps they would have been obliged to listen to Mir's insults. (Sardar Ja'fri has after all said [as noted in {595,8}] that Mir gives a lot of abuse/insults.) In this verse too, Mir has favored those people who the moment they hear a verse begin to say 'vah vah', and don't take the trouble to reflect on it, with the insult 'little-understanders' (=non-understanders).

To listen in a superficial/cursory way, and to say 'vah vah' in a conventional way (and then to rise-- that is, as if this too is some amusing thing, such as a singer's performance [mujraa], that one would hear and then move on-- is not to understand poetry, but to break/destroy it, as Sa'ib says [in Persian]:

'Oh Sa'ib, two things break/destroy the esteem/value of poetry:
The praise of the ignorant, and the silence of the poetry-knowers.'

Having heard (or read) a verse, one ought to reflect on it; and the verse that needs reflection requires knowledgeable judges. This is an accepted principle of our critical culture. And a symbol of our decline is this verse by Hasrat Mohani:

shi((r dar-a.sl hai;N vuhii ;hasrat
sunte hii dil me;N jo utar jaa))e;N

[in reality, 'verses' are only/emphatically those, Hasrat
that the moment you hear them, would sink into the heart]

By contrase, Mir was proud to call his poetry 'convoluted/twisted like a curl' [{1316,7}]:

zulf-saa pechdaar hai har shi((r
hai su;xan miir kaa ((ajab ;Dhab kaa

[it's twisted like a curl, every verse
Mir's poetry is of an extraordinary style]

Or again, he considered it his accomplishment to draw together different kinds and styles of themes with ;husn-e la:taafat ; from the third divan [{1200,4}]:

su;xan das paa;Nch yaa;N hai;N jam((a kis ;husn-e la:taafat se
tafaavat hai mire majmuu((ah-o-((iqd-e ;suraiyaa me;N

[five or ten poems are collected here, with what excellence of subtlety!
there's a difference between my collection and the necklace of the Pleiades]

Poetic composition is an intellectual practice, not the task of versifying the 'raving of a madman' [maj;zuub kii ba;R]. This view goes back very far in our culture. Thus at the conclusion of al-mu((jam , Shams-i Qais Razi says, 'In order to attain excellence in verse, the poet ought to be acquainted with most of the sciences and arts/crafts; he ought to have an advanced education, and be informed about every subject'.

By writing ;xayaal-e bang , Mir has not only searched out a superb rhyme-word, but has also used a supremely subtle metaphor. The person who takes bhang thinks many foolish and meaningless things. For this reason bhang is also called 'sky-strolling' [falak-sair]. Thus the meaning of ;xayaal-e bang becomes 'a thought that would be basically foolish, but interesting and extravagant'. That is, in Mir's view a verse is an expression that is extremely highly organized and free of both slackness and unnecessary words. It is not scattered and chaotic like the thoughts of bhang-users. In short, poetry is a particular art/skill, and its claims and requirements must be honored.

The rareness of the theme draws/attracts the poet toward itself, the way intoxication calls the drunkard to itself. We have already looked at Ghalib's verse G{371x,3}, cited in {602,6}, which speaks of a 'wine-drinker of theme' and the 'intoxication of writing'. Mir has said of the 'little-understanders' that they consider a verse to be a ;xayaal-e bang . Since in the intoxication of bhang there's a kind of extravagant excess, the intoxication of poetry too has been called the intoxication of bhang. Mus'hafi:

be-((aql tere ;haq me;N kahe kuchh to mu.s;hafii
tuu yih samajh cha;Rhe hai use bang-e shaa((irii

[if about you Mus'hafi would say something foolish
just consider that he is in the power of the bhang of poetry]

Mus'hafi's verse is in his sixth divan, so it's probable that he would have seen Mir's present verse. In any case, Mus'hafi perhaps felt some attraction to the intoxication of bhang. In the same divan he has another verse:

minnat-kash-e mu;Gaa;N nah ho zinhaar mu.s;hafii
aa;Nkho;N ko apnii kar to bah yak qur:t-e bang sur;x

[don't beg from the winehouse-keeper-- be warned, Mus'hafi!
make your eyes red with a single mouthful of bhang]

A final point is that in Mir's present verse the wordplay of kam-fahm and samjhe hai;N is fine.

Janab 'Abd ul-Rashid's view is that Mir might perhaps have adopted the construction ;xayaal-e bang from Khan-e Arzu's chiraa;G-e hidaayat . There, the meaning of ;xayaal-e bang is given as 'the illusions and ideas that are created in a man's mind from eating bhang.'

[See also {610,5}.]



What an enjoyable verse, and what a clever way to express the poet's resentment at not being taken seriously! Such superficial listeners (who surely include some of the poet's patrons) pay only enough attention to demonstrate in public their credentials as cultured literary connoisseurs; after perfunctory attention and a conventional show of approval, they are more than ready to move on to the next diversion. It's all too easy to envision the scene.

Anyone with a special, much-cherished area of expertise has surely felt the same vexation-- it's truly annoying to be praised by someone who manifestly doesn't know your work and doesn't give a damn about it. Such a public show of praise is really an assertion of superiority: the speaker is setting himself up as a judge and a patron, and presuming to give you the (quite worthless) imprimatur of his approval. I speak with feeling, because as a scholar in an 'exotic' field I have often received the same treatment. Once a group told me that they wanted to give me a plaque for my services to Urdu-- so could I please tell them what these services were?

SRF has given it as his view that this verse is not part of a two-verse verse-set starting with {602,10}. But in the Mahfuz revisions of Abbasi, which he himself has supervised, this verse-set marker is retained. So let's take a look at {602,10}, which is not included in SSA:

fikr ko naazuk-;xayaalo;N ke kahaa;N pahu;Nche hai;N yaar
varnah har mi.sra(( yahaa;N ma((shuuq-e sho;x-o-shang hai

[how/'where' have the friends arrived at the thinking of those of 'delicacy of thought'
otherwise, every line here is a mischievous and elegant beloved]

In this verse Mir certainly seems to boast of being among the poets known for hyper-refined, subtle, esoteric verses; he also laments that (even?) his friends fail to understand his achievement. So even if these two verses don't technically form a verse-set (and it's hard in any case to formulate exact criteria for this relationship), they certainly go together well. With its disdain for those who are quick to write off difficult verses as merely extravagant drug-induced fantasies, {602,10} in fact forms an excellent prelude to the present verse.

Note for meter fans: The spelling vaah vaa instead of vaah vaah is a variant form, used here of course for the sake of the meter. But the slightly shortened form also amusingly suggests how ready the listeners were to move on.