niimchah haath me;N mastii se lahuu sii aa;Nkhe;N
saj tirii dekh ke ai sho;x ;ha.zar ham ne kiya

1) scimitar in hand, eyes bloodshot/'blood-ish' from intoxication,
2) having seen your adornment/style/appearance, oh mischievous one, we showed wariness/fear



niimchah : 'A small scimitar, a short sword, or bow, &c.; a hanger; a dagger'. (Platts p.1169)


saj : 'Preparation; dress, ornament, decoration; appearance, shape'. (Platts p.642)


;ha.zar : 'Caution, wariness, vigilance, care; prudence; —fear'. (Platts p.475)

S. R. Faruqi:

niimchah = a small sword or dagger that people usually keep hidden in their sleeves.
saj = style, gait

The image in the first line is very beautiful. The enjoyable thing is that both things are frightening (a sword in the hand, and eyes red as blood). Despite this, the effect that's produced is that the person who is being described is very beautiful. In this effect the word 'intoxication' too plays some part, and alludes both to the intoxication of wine and to the intoxication of beauty.

In the second line, through the word saj too the effect of beauty is established, because by means of it the mind is led toward sajaava;T [=adornment]. And saj too is used with the meaning of sajaava;T . In this sense saj dhaj is very well known.

The niimchah is usually considered to be a weapon of women, children, and tricksters [((ayyaar]. In the 'Dastan of Amir Hamzah', all the male and female ayyars fight with nimchahs, perhaps because the nimchah is easy to conceal. In the present verse, the meaningfulness of the word ;ha.zar is manifest.

In 'we showed wariness' there's also a pleasure, because it's not clear what the wariness is about. It's possible that he might have been wary of coming before her, it's possible that he might have been wary of expressing his love, it's possible that he might have been wary of asking what she intended. We can also take the word ;ha.zaf in its original meaning (that is, 'fear'); but then the pleasure of the verse is diminished.



Is it perhaps the pleasure of understatement that the verse offers? The lover is approached by a terrifying, wild-looking creature apparently intent on murder-- and he feels perhaps only a bit of 'caution' or 'wariness', and he calls her 'mischievous one' as though he's determined to believe that it's all just a charming, coquettish game.

But in fact, it's hard to avoid thinking of Durga/Kali-- and who's to say that Mir didn't intend something of the kind?