kuchh likhaa hai tujhe har barg pah ai rashk-e bahaar
raq((ah-vaare;N hai;N yih auraaq-e ;xizaanii us kii

1) he has written something about/to you on every leaf, oh envy of the spring
2) these autumnal pages/leaves are his writing-sheets



barg : (Persian) 'Leaf'. (Platts p.148)


auraaq : 'Leaves (of a tree, &c.); pages'. (Platts p.104)

S. R. Faruqi:

[For SRF's discussion of this ghazal as a whole, see {949,1}.]

In this verse there are no aspects of meaning, but in it raq((ah-vaare;N (not raq((a-daare;N , as some people, such as Kalb-e Ali Khan, have assumed) is a very troubling word.

Platts and Duncan Forbes have given its meaning as 'paper suitable for writing'. Platts has called its gender masculine; Duncan Forbes has not given a gender for it. In other dictionaries, and Barkati's dictionary, it does not appear. In the urduu lu;Gat taarii;xii u.suul par it certainly appears, and here too its gender is masculine. But its meaning has been given entirely incorrectly-- that is, 'a letter-bearer, a messenger'. [Further discussion of the incorrect meanings in various dictionaries.] Apparently it seems that Platts and Forbes have given the correct meaning, but Platts didn't know that Mir had also used raq((ah-vaar as feminine.

Now the question remains as to whether raq((ah-daar (with a daal ) is a word or not, and whether Kalb-e Ali Khan Fa'iq had right on his side when he read raq((ah-daar . The answer is that raq((ah-daar is not found in any Persian or Urdu dictionary. In the Asi, the Abbasi, the Naval Kishor edition of 1868 of the kulliyat, the word is written very clearly as raq((ah-vaar , and this is also the correct reading.

Since varaq also means a [botanical] 'leaf', in barg-e ;xizaanii both meanings are present-- that is, a paper on which something would be written, and the leaf of a tree. The affinity between 'autumnal' and calling the beloved 'envy of the spring' is quite superb; otherwise, if he had called her a 'full moon' [maah-e tamaam] or something of the sort, this effect would not have been created. On his 'autumnal leaves' Mir has inscribed the story of his life, or the decline of his spirit; that is, the pallidness and droopingness of the autumn leaf is a metaphor for Mir's 'autumnal leaves/pages'. The way Macbeth has said about himself (Act 5, Scene 3),

I have lived long enough. My way of life
Is fall'n into the sere, the yellow leaf.

In Mir's verse the point is also very fine that on the leaf-pages Mir has written something to the beloved, or has written to the beloved as 'something' (that is, he has remembered under various names and forms of address). In both cases these are Mir's messages, which it's possible that during his last days he might have wanted to send to the beloved.

In this regard it's also extremely fine that Mir used yellow leaves for his messages. One meaning of this is that these leaves are a metaphor for Mir. But if we assume that there is actually something written on them, then the question arises, what kind of writing can it be? One obvious possibility is that it can in fact be writing (as has been mentioned above). But it's also possible that on those 'autumnal leaves' there might be drops of Mir's blood, or marks of his tears. (It's commonly observed that on dry leaves, drops of blood remain for a long time.)

In any case, it's clear that Mir has, because of his wandering and lack of possessions, used autumnal leaves instead of paper for writing his message. Thus we can also say that Mir's 'enchantment of expression' has mingled with the dust, but he has still arranged for the things in his heart to be sent, somehow or other, to the beloved. In this verse the air of sorrowful melancholy is also fine.

Mir has again versified the word raq((ah-vaar some ghazals later, in the second divan itself [{959,4}]:

kyaa chhupaa kuchh rah gayaa hai mudda((aa-e ;xa:t:t-e shauq
raq((ah-vaar ab ashk-e ;xuunii;N se to afshaanii hu))ii

[has something remained hidden(ly) of the intention of the letter of ardor?!
with/through bloody tears, now the writing-sheet has been scattered]

Apparently here vaar means 'like', as in siimaab-vaar , diivaanah-vaar , etc., and raq((ah means a paper that was used for royal decrees and so on. But raq((ah-vaar meaning 'a paper for letter-writing' is proper as well; and in this sense, the word here is again feminine. Truly Mir's cleverness and creativity are beyond everyone else. The whole ghazal is also endlessly 'tumult-arousing'.

A theme like that of the present verse, Mir has versified like this in the fourth divan [{1502,6}]:

agar vuh rashk-e bahaar samjhe kih rang apnaa bhii hai ab aisaa
varaq ;xizaa;N me;N jo zard ho;Nge ;Gam-e dil un par likhaa kare;Nge

[if that envy of the springtime would consider that our color too is now such
we will always write the grief of the heart on leaves that will be yellow in autumn]

Common to both verses is rashk-e bahaar , but in {1502,6} there isn't the additional wordplay, and the theme too is a bit contrived-- since writing the grief of the heart on yellow leaves is conditional upon the idea that the beloved would consider that the color of the writer too is just the same yellow. It's clear that for writing the state of the heart, any such condition-- and especially one that would depend on implication-- is unnecessary.



For discussion of this ghazal as a whole, see {949,1}.

In this verse 'he' seems most probably to be alive (since 'these' autumnal leaves 'are' his writing-sheets, and they would surely need to be renewed annually).