nuktah mushtaaq-o-yaar hai apnaa
shaa((irii to shi((aar hai apnaa

1) a point/subtlety is my lover/desirer and friend/beloved/comrade
2) poetry is my sign/practice/method



nuktah : ''A point' ; —a point (of wit); a quaint saying; a pithy sentence a subtle or quaint conceit; a nice or metaphysical distinction; a mythical signification'. (Platts p.1147)


mushtaaq : 'Full of desire, desirous, wishful, longing, yearning (for); ardent, eager, keen; —s.m. A lover'. (Platts p.38)


yaar : 'A friend; a lover; paramour, gallant; mistress; —companion, comrade; —an assistant'. (Platts p.1247)


shi((aar : 'Mark, signal, sign, countersign, password, parole; habit, custom, practice; method, manner'. (Platts p.728)

S. R. Faruqi:

Imra'ul-Qais says, in a famous [Arabic] verse, 'The rhymes before me are as numerous as the locusts before some mischievous boy' (that is, when he seizes one, then two run off and make their escape).

Rhymes are a part, and a means, of power of expression. Mir doesn't have as much interest in the conventional beauty of power of speech, as he does in 'meaning-creation' and 'point-creation' [nuktah-aafiriinii]. The nuktah -- that is, a subtle utterance, an utterance that would be refined/enjoyable, that would not easily be perceived-- is his lover/desirer and remains ardent to meet with him. In Mir's view, an identifying sign of poetry itself is that it would be 'point-possessing' [nuktah-var] and 'point-creating'.

In the second line he has also well versified the device of 'doubt about derivation' with shaa((irii and shi((aar [which come from the same Arabic root but have different meanings], and through the word shi((aar there's also a suggestion of 'verses' [ash((aar].



Here's a strong, nail-the-flag-to-the-mast statement (or boast? or confession?): 'Poetry is my real lover and beloved, poetry is what I do, poetry is who I am'. It looks like a personal credo, but there's also the enjoyable wordplay in the second line, which was surely part of how the verse came to be composed. In such a short meter, a line can be almost completely filled with wordplay (and 'meaning-play', since both shaa((irii and shi((aar come from the same Arabic root), and the accompanying rhythmic sound effects. Compare the equally resonant wordplay that similarly takes up almost the whole second line of {724,5}.

A personal note: it just happens that as I write this I'm wearing a blue t-shirt from Morningside Books (a store that no longer exists). On the back in small white letters is: 'People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading. --Logan Pearsall Smith'. Mir might have smiled to see it.

Note for grammar fans: Both lines show symmetry (that is, since A=B, then B=A); but in a verse this grammatically plain, how much difference does it really make?

Another note for grammar fans: Here's an extreme case of the dicey use of apnaa . SRF takes it as short for hamaaraa apnaa , which makes perfect sense. For if we take it in the official meaning, as 'pertaining to the subject of the sentence', then the verse becomes surrealistically self-referential: a point is its own lover, poetry is its own practice.