sab :taa))ir-e qudsii hai;N jo yih zer-e falak hai;N
muu;Ndaa hai kahaa;N ((ishq ne in jaanvaro;N ko

1) all are 'heavenly birds', these who are beneath the sky
2) where/how has passion imprisoned these living creatures?!



muu;Ndnaa : 'To close, shut; to cover; to fasten; to imprison; to involve'. (Platts p.1094)

S. R. Faruqi:

Angels, and especially Hazrat Jibra'il, are called :taahir-e qudsii . Taking advantage of this meaning, Mir has established the dictionary meaning as well. It's possible that an echo of Hafiz [in Persian] might have remained in his mind:

'Oh heavenly beloved, who opens the ties of your veil?
And oh celestial bird, who gives you grain and water?'

In Hafiz's verse, the ambiguity of the verb form has created several meanings, and its theme too is novel; but Mir has taken a commonplace theme-- that passion is the operator of the world-- and in a real sense lifted it from the earth to the heavens. If in Hafiz's verse there's the ambiguity of the verb form, then in Mir's verse in the second line, on the basis of an insha'iyah style of expression, there's an abundance of meaningfulness. Neither verse is less than the other.

One meaning of Mir's second line is, 'Oh my, look where passion has taken these creatures away and bound them!'. Another meaning is, 'Where has passion imprisoned them? -- they are all free, beneath the sky!'.

The first line too has two meanings. One is, 'All these who are bound beneath the sky, are heavenly birds'. The other meaning is, 'All those who are flying beneath the sky-- they are not ordinary beings, but rather are heavenly birds'.

The world came into existence so that the Eternal Beloved could manifest himself. It was the power of passion that created the excuse for the manifestation of the Truth/Divine. When the world came into existence, then spirits were sent into it. Since the home of spirits is the land of the Unseen or the land of Nonexistence, for them this world was a prison-house; and the sky, the roof of this prison-house. If passion had not existed, then this prison-house too would not have existed, and these celestial birds would not have been imprisoned in it.

But another aspect of this theme is that passion wanted to clothe those heavenly birds in bodies and confine them within creation. But the human spirit has such power that despite this imprisonment and bondage it flies into the lofty sky. Thus-- 'as if passion could keep them bound in the prison of the earth!'.

To call mankind a heavenly bird, then to cause him to be imprisoned in a cage beneath the sky, and to construe him as a jaanvar (meaning 'bird', 'living creature'), is a novel flight of imagination. The word muu;Ndaa too is fine. This verse too is 'tumult-arousing'.



Well, no doubt SRF is right that the speaker is calling mankind a form of heavenly bird. But really, the scope of that first line is so much broader than merely our own species! The first line seems to identify every 'life-possessor' [jaan-var] as such a 'heavenly bird', including animals, fish, insects, real (earthly) birds-- and why not angels too?

As so often, the grammar of the first line offers two obviously different readings, depending on how we interpret the jo :

=All who are beneath the sky are 'heavenly birds'-- despite their apparently earthly bodies, in spirit they can fly.

=All are 'heavenly birds'-- and yet they are 'beneath the sky' instead of beyond it as their name would suggest.

Then of course the second line, with kahaa;N creating a variant of the 'kya effect', conspicuously refuses to clarify things:

=Where/how has passion imprisoned them?! -- for in one way or another, they are all governed or constrained by passion.

=As if passion has imprisoned them! -- it hasn't, of course, for they all move freely about.

Perhaps because I don't see the verse as being particularly about humans, I don't feel it as necessarily 'tumult-arousing' the way SRF does. Here is one more case where he is sure the verse has a particular tonal quality, while I see it as having a variety of possible tones; for more on this, see {724,2}.