chaman me;N phuul gul ab ke hazaar rang khile
dimaa;G kaash-kih apnaa bhii ;Tuk vafaa kartaa

1) in the garden, the flowers and roses have at present bloomed in a thousand colors
2) if only even/also my mind had shown just a bit of faithfulness!



dimaa;G : ' The brain; head, mind, intellect; spirit; fancy, desire; airs, conceit; pride, haughtiness, arrogance; intoxication; high spirits... ; —the organ of smell'. (Platts p.526)

S. R. Faruqi:

The ambiguity of the verse is interesting. For which thing the mind should have shown faithfulness-- this he hasn't made clear.

One possibility is that the spring season is usually the season of madness. In only a little while we'll become mad, and we won't be able to enjoy the pleasure of the spring. If the mind had remained settled for just a short time, then we would have taken pleasure in the spring.

A second possibility is that our detachment and disaffection is at such a pitch that that the spring season doesn't even please us. If the mind had kept us company a bit, we too would have enjoyed a stroll amidst the roses.

A third possibility is completely the opposite. if we don't take ;Tuk in the sense of 'a little while', but rather assume it to have a sense of insistence ('just look' or 'if you had just waited, that would have been good'), then the meaning becomes, if only our mind would just show a bit of faithfulness, and madness would come upon us! The spring has indeed come, but our spring is that we would create a huge commotion in madness. If the mind wouldn't show faithlessness (that is wouldn't remain attached to us-- or rather, would leave us), then we too would be mad, we too would take the pleasure of the spring. In this sense the enjoyable thing is that for the mind to be faithful is not that it would remain established, but rather that it would leave us. If the mind wouldn't leave us, then this is its unfaithfulness, because then there will be no madness. And if there will be no madness, then there will be no taking pleasure in the spring.

Another possibility too is that the spring showed faithfulness to the garden-- that is, after autumn it came again; if our mind had for a little while showed faithfulness to us, then the season of our madness too would have returned.



Since this is an 'A,B' verse, it's not surprising that there are various ways to relate the lines to each other. What is the 'connection' between the flowers having bloomed in the garden, and the speaker's wish that his mind had proved even a bit faithful? SRF gives us some possibilities, and it's possible to think of others as well; as so often, the choice is left up to us.

In {763,1}, SRF pointed out several examples of what might be called ad hoc ambiguity. These were not systematic devices of any kind, just little tripping-places like banana peels in the road that would encourage a misreading which would then jolt the reader into greater alertness and force a careful re-analysis of the verse. I think I see something similar in this verse as well.

That awkward-looking set of phuul gul kept drawing my eye, because I don't think I've ever seen it before. Either word could easily have been used alone, with no detectable change in the meaning. They could be an i.zaafat pair ( phuul-e gul , 'the flowers of the rose, the flowers that are the roses') or just a (Persianized) noun compound ('flowers and roses'); but either way, they still felt awkward, like padding. When I looked at their setting, I realized that phuul gul ab ke was extremely close to phuul gulaab ke ('the flowers of the rose, rose-colored flowers'). Not, it should be noted, identical, because the orthography of the laam and alif should differentiate the two alternatives. But orthography in Mir's day was more casual and less systematized, and words were very often crammed close together for either efficiency or calligraphic effect. So it's easy to believe that such a misreading would be possible, and nothing else in the verse would prohibit it. In fact it works perfectly well, except for the loss of ab ke , which resonates so nicely with ;Tuk in the second line.

Along similar lines, I recently noticed an advertisement on the side of a bus: in big squarish block letters, it said

IN 30

That was so strikingly cryptic, like a coded message, that I had to look again and give it a bit of thought. Of course, the '30' turned out to be '3D', but the font was so thick and square that the difference was very small. And sure enough, the 'misdirection' effectively grabbed one's attention.