chhaatii qafas me;N daa;G se ho kyuu;N nah rashk-e baa;G
josh-e bahaar thaa kih ham aa))e asiir ho

1) our breast, in the cage-- through its wound, why would it not be the envy of the garden?
2) it was the tumult/frenzy of spring, {such that / when} we came as a prisoner



daa;G : 'A mark burnt in, a brand, cautery; mark, spot, speck; stain; stigma; blemish; iron-mould; freckle; pock; scar, cicatrix; wound, sore; grief, sorrow; misfortune, calamity; loss, injury, damage'. (Platts p.501)


josh : 'Boiling, ebullition; effervescence; heat, excitement, passion, emotion; lust; fervour, ardour, zeal; vehemence; enthusiasm; frenzy'. (Platts p.397)

S. R. Faruqi:

The theme is brand new, and there are also layers of meaning. Because of captivity, there's a wound on the heart, or on the breast. (That is, there are wounds of grief; daa;G means 'grief', and he has used it in its dictionary meaning as well.) But these wounds are more radiant and fiery than ordinary ones, because the capture took place when spring was at full force.

Thus on the one hand he showed the intensity of his grief through radiant wounds, and on the other hand he also created in that grief a source of pride-- that the wounds are as red and radiant as are the roses in a garden. Or rather, we could say that the wounds are so beautiful that the breast has become the envy of the garden.

Becoming a captive in the josh-e bahaar has two meanings. One is the obvious meaning-- that we were captured at the time when spring was at the height of its efflorescence. The second, and more subtle, meaning is that because of the coming of spring, we were in such turmoil that we were no longer attentive to protecting ourselves, and were captured. In the josh-e bahaar , so to speak, that josh that was in us became the cause of our captivity.

In saying kih after josh-e bahaar , there's suddenness and 'dramaticness'. Then, because of the ambiguity that's in kih , the two meanings mentioned above have become possible. In ham aa))e asiir ho there's narrativity and a kind of helplessness, but no defeatedness or despair. If anyone wants to see dignity in melancholy, let that person read Mir.



There are Sufistic overtones too-- separation from the garden has made the speaker (who of course speaks as a bird) into the envy of the garden. The tumult of the external springtime generates a more impressive internal 'springtime', or 'flourishing condition', of suffering. The wounds of vain longing are more beautiful than the object of longing itself.

The speaker knows his breast ought to be the envy of the garden, but how can he be sure? He's been shut away for so long that he can speak only of reasonable probabilities. If there's any justice in the world, the garden would recognize the mystical beauty of his suffering. But is there any justice? We're left, as so often, to decide for ourselves.

As SRF has observed, the verse is also an elegant exploration of the possibilities of kih .

Note for grammar fans: In the second line, asiir ho is of course short for asiir ho kar , 'having become a prisoner'.