mar gaye par bhii sang-saar kiyaa
na;xl-e maatam miraa yih phal laayaa

1) even/also upon my dying, she/they stoned me to death
2) my 'tree of mourning' brought forth this fruit/result



sang-saar karnaa : 'To stone to death'. (Platts p.686)


na;xl : 'Date-tree, palm-tree; (in P. & Urdu, also) a tree, a sapling, a plant; —a festoon, a thyrsus, a rod upon which flowers, interspersed with paper of different colours, are tied round to give it the appearance of a natural branch; an artificial tree'. (Platts p.1126)


taabuut : 'A bier; coffin; an oblong case placed over a grave; a wooden box or chest; the ark of the covenant (presented by God to Adam, and which, according to Mohammadans, contained the portraits of all the prophets); a representation or model of the mausoleum of Husain (carried in procession in the Moharram)'. (Platts p.303)


((alam : 'A spear; a flag (or strip of cloth, that is tied upon the spear); a banner, standard; the spear-headed banner of Hasan and Husain (that is carried in procession at the Moharram festival)'. (Platts p.764)

S. R. Faruqi:

na;xl-e maatam = A bier [taabuut]; the decoration that is put on biers.

The mood of the verse is worthy of praise. This verse is a warning flag to those people who call wordplay foolish or artificial and unaffecting. The whole verse is based on the wordplay of the 'tree of mourning' as bringing 'fruit'. The 'tree of mourning' is also called a 'tree of Muharram' or a 'tree of patience/endurance [((azaa]'.

The adornment that was put on a coffin presumably used to include the shape of a sword, as is clear from this [Persian] verse of Ashraf Mazindarani's. This verse is included in both [the dictionaries] bahaar-e ((ajam and ma:tli;haat-e shu((araa as a 'warrant' for na;xl-e mu;harram :

'How could the tree of the garden equal her glory/appearance,
Even if, like the 'tree of Muharram', it would become from head to foot a sword?'

If this is correct, then through the affinity with a sword, the 'bringing of fruit' becomes even more meaningful.

Atish has well versified the theme of the na;xl-e maatam , but in his verse the verbosity is greater, so it doesn't have the mood of Mir's:

janaazah ho chukaa taiyaar ay sarv-e ravaa;N apnaa
shiguufah phuulnaa baaqii rahaa hai na;xl-e maatam kaa

[my funeral procession has already become prepared, oh walking cypress
there has remained the flowering and blooming of the 'tree of mourning']

Mir has versified the theme of the present verse once more, in the second divan itself. But in his case too, in that verse there's verbosity and artificialness [{702,7}]:

taabuut pah bhii mere patthar pa;Re le jaate
us na;xl me;N maatam ke kyaa ;xuub ;samar aayaa

[even the stones that had fallen upon my bier, they bore away,
what fine fruit came/appeared upon that tree of mourning!]



For discussion of textual problems in this ghazal, see {757,1}. I have used the kulliyat text rather than the one given in SSA.

Could the analogy of stones to the dates borne by a date-palm be part of the verse? The idea of 'fruit' seems to point in that direction (as in {702,7}). In Urdu, the sense of na;xl seems indeed to include stylized and artificial 'trees' of decorative kinds (see the definition above).

But I keep thinking, through the association with Muharram, that the 'tree of mourning' ought to be analogized to the tall tree-like poles or standards [((alam] (see the definition above) that are carried in the Muharram procession. I can't help but feel that they are evoked at least to some extent. By contrast, a bier or coffin [taabuut] (these are also called taaziyah ) seems much less tree-like.

But then, these tabuts or taziyahs are often made extremely tall and vertical, so that they too could be considered to resemble trees. Here's an example, a watercolor c.1830-40 from the British Library collection that shows some very tall and relatively tree-like taziyahs:

The modern Persian na;xl-e maatam actually has a tree-like shape (with thanks to Zahra Sabri for finding the image):