kal dil-aazurdah gulistaa;N se gu;zar ham ne kiyaa
gul lage kahne kaho mu;Nh nah udhar ham ne kiyaa

1) yesterday, heart-afflicted, we passed through the garden/'rose-place'
2) the roses began to say, 'Say, ... ' -- we didn't turn our face/'mouth' that way



S. R. Faruqi:

Mir and Ghalib have used this theme a number of times. From the first divan





Mir, first divan [{468,3}]:

hame;N to baa;G kii takliif se mu((aaf rakho
kih sair-o-gasht nahii;N rasm ahl-e maatam kii

[consider us excused from the bother of the garden
for strolls and tours are not the custom of the people of mourning]

Ghalib has, in both his verses, brought out new ideas. But the influence of Mir's verses on his verses is apparent. Among the verses presented above, except for {468,3}, in the other three advantage has been taken of the wordplay of dimaa;G as meaning 'nose'. In {468,3} this is not there, so nothing has been created in it.

In the present verse there's the virtue of the dramatic style, but there's also the virtue that even without using the wordplay of dimaa;G and 'nose', something has been created in the verse. Then there's also the fact that in all the verses presented above there's the mention of a refusal to stroll in the garden. In the present verse, there's no flight from the stroll in the garden. But the context of the verse is such that going into the garden was not with the intention of recreation, but rather that while wandering here and there in a state of wildness/madness he passed through the garden as well.

They give to a sad heart the simile of a bud, and they call the beloved 'rose-faced'. In this way in the whole verse there's an arrangement of affinities. There's also the point that we're in such a bad state that even the flowers in the garden feel sympathy for us, and want to know how we're doing. The second line is perfectly trim/suitable [bar-jastah].



What the roses said was, with idiomatic untranslatability, 'Say, ... ', which usually introduces something like 'Say, how are you?' or 'Tell me, how are things?'. And since they 'began to' say it, the enjoyable sequence lagaa kahne kaho is generated. Then the speaker didn't turn his face-- or literally, his 'mouth'-- that way, so that he both ignored the roses in a general way, and specifically refused their request for speech (by averting his 'mouth').

Perhaps the speaker pointedly ignored the roses, in a sulky way intended to show them disrespect-- because they were annoyingly demanding his attention. Or perhaps he ignored them because they weren't the 'real' Rose, the beloved who had aroused his passion. Or perhaps he ignored them inadvertently, because he was so consumed with misery that he had no attention to spare for anything or anyone else. Or perhaps he ignored them prudently, so that his possessive beloved wouldn't be jealous and accuse him of conducting a flirtation. As so often, we have to imagine for ourselves the meaning of this 'gesture'.