kahe;N hai;N ab ke bahut rang u;R chalaa gul kaa
hazaar ;haif kih mai;N baal-o-par nahii;N rakhtaa

1) they say, this time the color/style/mood/enjoyment of the rose greatly flew {along/away}
2) a thousand pities, that I don't have/'keep' wings and feathers!



rang : 'Colour, colouring matter, pigment, paint, dye; colour, tint, hue, complexion; beauty, bloom; expression, countenance, appearance, aspect; fashion, style; character, nature; mood, mode, manner, method; kind, sort; state, condition;... sport, entertainment, amusement, merriment, pleasure, enjoyment'. (Platts p.601)


rang u;R jaanaa : 'To lose colour, to fade; to change colour, become pale (from emotion, or fear, &c.), to be afraid'. (Platts p.601)

S. R. Faruqi:

The equation between the color of the rose flying away, and our own possession of wings and feathers, is very fine. On the color of the rose as flying away, see


He hasn't made it clear why he feels regret at not having wings and feathers. It's possible that he might himself want to fly up and make a tour around to see the flying color.

If the flying of the color would be taken to mean that the flowers are withering, then it's possible that the regret is because he's unable to go to them and comfort them; or because when the flowers are withering, then what's the point of his staying there? If only he had had wings and feathers, then he would have flown away somewhere else and been far from this melancholy scene; he wouldn't have been forced to hear the news of the garden's withering. Or it's possible that the sorrow might be that if he had had wings and feathers, then he could have flown up and seized the color of the rose.



It feels like a verse of 'mood', and of course it's also an 'A,B' verse, since as SRF notes, we can't at all tell what connection there is between the speaker's wish for wings and feathers and the 'flight' of the 'color' of the rose. By no coincidence, the possibilities of that simple-looking first line soon ramify considerably.

First of all, the possible senses of rang are manifold (see the definition above), and range from the literal ('color, appearance') through the abstract ('manner, method') to the emotionally charged ('pleasure, enjoyment').

And on top of that , the 'flight' itself is particularly complex, because there are so many levels on which it can be read. Is it a literal flight (the color of the rose is so strong and overpowering that it actually flies up into the air like a semi-personified bird, perhaps even in exhilaration)? Or does the 'flight' suggest, as it can in English too, a sense of fleeing or seeking to escape some danger? Or is it a metaphor for withering (the color 'takes flight' or departs as the flower dies)? Or is it an expression of fear or some other strong emotion, as it is for human beings (see the definition of rang u;R jaanaa above)?

In view of all these possibilities, the motivation for the speaker's wish in the second line cannot at all be pinned down. Not only can we not tell why he wants to fly, but we also can't tell in what sense he wants to fly. For all the senses of 'flight' available to the color of the rose, are potentially available to the speaker's own wish for 'flight' as well.

The speaker seems to learn of all this only through hearsay ('they say'), so he seems not to be a denizen of the garden. But is he a caged bird, whose wings have been cruelly clipped by the bird-catcher? Or is he an outsider of some kind, specially banished from the garden? Or is he just a person who feels the great human longing for flight?

Note for grammar fans: ab ke invokes something like a colloquially-omitted vaqt or mauq((a ; it's like ab kii for ab kii baar . It's positioned as a 'midpoint', so it could also be read with kahe;N hai;N , as 'this time they say'. But I can't see that this would make much difference in the verse.