kuchh qadr mai;N nah jaanii ;Gaflat se raftagaa;N kii
aa;Nkhe;N sii khul ga))ii;N ab jab .su;hbate;N hu))ii;N ;xvaab

1) through heedlessness/negligence, I didn't recognize/consider any greatness/dignity of the passed-away ones
2) something like eyes have opened now, when companionships/gatherings have become a dream



qadr : 'Greatness, dignity, honour, rank, power; importance, consequence; worth, merit; estimation, appreciation, account; value, price; ... — whatever is fixed or ordained of God, divine providence, fate, destiny'. (Platts p.788)

S. R. Faruqi:

In the whole verse, the wordplay shines forth. When the gatherings became a dream-- that is, became ended and their day was done-- then my eyes opened. He has also given a justification for the opening of the eyes: that formerly there was ;Gaflat , and in ;Gaflat the eyes are usually closed. Because of ;Gaflat , the speaker showed no honor/esteem to the departing ones.

But when? When they were present, or when they went away? The probability is, when they were present. That is, even at that time I knew that they were going to leave, but I paid no heed. When they departed, even then for a time I did not feel any need for them, perhaps because I hoped they were going to come back. Or else because I hoped that I would receive their blessing. Now, when they've been gone for a time, and even memories of them have begun to grow dim, my eyes have opened.



The seemingly paradoxical association of dreams with insight, and open eyes with blindness, is one of which Mir makes excellent use in a number of verses. The most intriguing thing about this particular example is that little sii . Because it's not the case that 'my eyes opened'. It's not even the case that 'it was as if my eyes opened'-- which was how I first thought to translate it, smoothing out the rough grammar of the original. For what actually happened was that 'something like eyes opened' [aa;Nkhe;N sii khul ga))ii;N]. Remember the nature of saa / se / sii , with their general sense of '-ish'. The most literal translation of all would be 'eye-ish [things] opened'.

This sounds almost grotesque, but it could certainly represent some kind of inner, mental, mystical vision, 'the eyes of the heart' or whatever. It's thus appropriate to the idea of the departed ones' companionship becoming something available only in a dream. In a dream of the departed ones, the speaker's inner 'eye-ish things' opened to the irrevocability of the loss. For whatever opened, it's clear that it wasn't actually 'eyes' themselves, but only some things that somehow resembled them. This elliptical quality throws the burden back onto us readers: what could these 'eye-ish things' have been? We can't think of the sii as just a necessary metrical filler, either, because something discreet and unobtrusive like to could have been put there just as easily.

Note for grammar fans: Nowadays we'd expect the oblique aa;Nkho;N sii rather than Mir's aa;Nkhe;N sii .

Another note for grammar fans: Because of the 'now', we need to use the English present perfect 'have opened' and 'have become'. English perfect forms and Urdu perfect forms don't actually align completely, even if they look as though they do (and nowadays often do, because of the pressure of English on Urdu). This verse is an excellent example of the way in verb tense terms, we're often one step further in the past in Urdu than in English.