ho sharm aa;Nkh me;N to bhaarii jahaaz se hai
mat kar ke sho;x-chashmii aashob saa u;Thaa))o

1) if shame/modesty would be in the eye, then it's heavy/valuable like a ship
2) don't do 'wanton-eyeing' and raise up something like a tumult/storm/tempest!



bhaarii : 'Heavy, weighty, ponderous, massive, unwieldy; large, big, bulky; great, grand; ... of importance, important, momentous, grave, serious; valuable, costly'. (Platts p.178)


sho;x-chashmii : 'Playfulness of the eye; wantonness'. (Platts p.736)

S. R. Faruqi:

To construe an eye that is heavy (lowered) from shame as heavy like a ship, or as like a heavy ship, is a miracle of similitude. In all the manuscripts is jahaaz se hai , but jahaaz sii hai seems to be correct, because on this reading the simile is complete, and there are also two meanings. Then, the shape of a ship is like that of the eye, so the 'vehicle' [markab] of the simile also gives pleasure.

It's clear that a ship is so heavy that it can't be lifted up by anybody. But this ship floats well on the water, and if a tempest/storm should come, then the ship rises together with the waves, and sometimes the waves also overturn it-- this is the reality of the simile. Now the excellence is that although the tempest/storm comes first, and from its effect the ship rises or overturns, here the rising of the ship (that is, the eyes' abandonment of shame/modesty and the lifting of the gaze) he has construed as a tempest/storm. The affinity is of course present, that when the beloved raises her eyes and behaves mischievously then every kind of tempest will arise.

In aashob saa the word saa is certainly padding [bhartii], but the affinity of sii and saa has made it not 'worthless stuffing' [;hashv-e qabii;h] but 'ordinary stuffing' [;hashv-e mutavassi:t]. In any case, stuffing is still stuffing. Among aa;Nkh , chashmii , aashob there's the connection of a zila ( aashob-e chashm is a disease of the eyes). The point with regard to meaning is that if the eye renounces shame/modesty, then a kind of disease has indeed occurred.

Another meaning is that as long as shame/modesty is in the eyes, they are heavy like a ship. When shame/modesty has left the eyes, then they have become disgraced and trifling/'light'. That is, shame/modesty is a dignity as long as it is in its home (the eyes). If it leaves its home, then it becomes 'light'/undignified. Formerly the eye was in a state in which from the burden of shame/modesty it was lowered, it stayed fixed and steady in one place. When shame/modesty leaves the eye, then the 'weight' of the eye was spoiled and glances began to be scattered/agitated. 'Scattered glancing' [pareshaa;N-na:zarii] is a turmoil/tempest for the world/age in any case; for the beloved herself too it is a turmoil/tempest. (Because her dignity will be damaged, and her honor will begin to show stains.)

In the nuur ul-lu;Gaat is an entry for aa;Nkh me;N sharm ho to jahaaz se bhaarii hai ['if in the eye there would be shame/modesty, then it is heavy/valuable like a ship'], as a proverb [.zarb ul-mi;saal]. Its meaning is given as 'from shame and modesty comes much dignity'. Then a verse by Sa'adat Khan Nasir is noted:

:tuufaan jo;Rne se kisii ke nah ho subuk
bhaarii jahaaz se hai jo aa;Nkho;N me;N sharm hai

[may it not be light/trifling, through anyone's stirring up a typhoon
it is heavy like a ship, when shame/modesty is in the eyes]

In the urduu lu;Gaat taarii;xii u.suul par this same entry is noted as a proverb, and the same meaning is given. But as a 'warrant' [sanad] this same verse of Mir's is entered. In the intended sense, this utterance doesn't seem to be a proverb, nor does it appear in any early dictionary. In such a situation I have a strong objection to considering it a proverb. It's possible that Mir's line might have become very famous; then Sa'adat Khan Nasir might have versified it as a proverb.

I have said above that in aashob saa u;Thaa))o the saa is stuffing. The claim is apparently entirely true, but it's also worth noting that a line could easily have been possible in which this stuffing would not exist. For example:

(1) tum kar ke sho;x-chashmii aashob mat u;Thaa))o

(2) mat kar ke sho;x-chashmii aashob tum u;Thaa))o

(3) tum kar ke sho;x-chashmii aashob kyuu;N u;Thaa))o

Thus either Mir truly did make an error, or else in aashob saa u;Thaa))o there's some point that I haven't been able to grasp.

Abd ul-Rashid writes that for aa;Nkh me;N sharm ho to jahaaz se bhaarii hai the 'warrant' of nuur ul-lu;Gaat and urduu lu;Gat is sufficient. But I've said that it's not found in any early dictionary. And nuur ul-lu;Gaat and urduu lu;Gat cannot be said to be early dictionaries.



The best modern kulliyat retains in the first line what SRF describes as the universal manuscript reading of se , but SRF's arguments are persuasive-- if it wasn't sii that Mir wrote, perhaps it should have been! So bear in mind that SRF's own text in SSA, and his discussion, all assume the reading of sii .

Adopting the se reading, however, opens up an extra possibility: that bhaarii jahaaz se could be read not only taking the se as short for jaise ('heavy like a ship'), but also as the comparative, 'heavier than a ship'. And since one meaning of bhaarii is 'valuable, costly' (see the definition above), the reading could be that modestly downcast eyes are more valuable than a (heavy?) ship full of merchandise. ('Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies', Proverbs 31:10.)

On either reading, 'if in the eye there would be shame/modesty, then it is heavy/valuable like a ship' (or 'more than a ship') just doesn't sound like a proverb. It's not punchy or colorful. It has no rhythm or internal rhyme. The analogy of a common (stylized) crescent shape shared by the lowered eye and the hull of a ship isn't sufficiently compelling to make the whole thing memorable. I think SRF is right to have doubts about it.