rang-e gul-o-buu-e gul hote hai;N havaa dono;N
kyaa qaafilah jaataa hai jo tuu bhii chalaa chaahe

1) the color of the rose and the scent of the rose are habitually air/wind/vanished, both
2) what, does a caravan go-- such that even/also you would want/intend/need to go away?!



havaa ho jaanaa : 'To fly with the velocity of the wind; to run with the wind; —to scamper off, to vanish, disappear'. (Platts pp. 1239-40)


havaa : 'Air, atmosphere, ether, the space between heaven and earth;—air, wind, gentle gale ;... ;—flight; ... —affection, favour, love, mind, desire, passionate fondness'. (Platts p.1239)


chaahnaa : 'To wish, desire, will; to want, demand, require, need; to be inclined to; to tend to; to be about to (with perf. part. of following verb); to intend; to like, love, be enamoured of; to choose, approve; to pray, ask for, crave, entreat, to attempt, try'. (Platts p.420)

S. R. Faruqi:

This verse is rightfully famous. Because of the intensity of 'mood', its depth of meaning is ignored. But some people present this verse somewhat as though Mir never composed a better one; although it's clear that in Mir's treasury are jewels even more radiant than this one. In any case, Mir has composed this theme in various ways. From the first divan [{585,8}]:

((aalam me;N aab-o-gil kaa ;Thahraa))o kis :tara;h ho
gar ;xaak hai u;Re hai var aab hai ravaa;N hai

[in the world, how would there be stability of water and earth?
if there's dust, it flies; and if there's water, it's flowing]

From the first divan [{118,1}];

qaabuu ;xizaa;N se .zu((f kaa gulshan me;N ban gayaa
dosh-e havaa pah rang-e-gul-o-yaasman gayaa

[by means of autumn, in the garden the dominion of weakness came to exist
on the shoulder of the breeze, the color of rose and jasmine went]

Insha too has a theme similar to this one:

juu;N mauj-e havaa apnaa thaa hosh bhii u;Rne par
ay nik'hat-e gul tuu ne kyuu;N itnii shitaabii kii

[like a wave of breeze, even/also our consciousness was about to fly away
oh fragrance of the rose, why did you make so much haste/speed?]

Dard too, like Insha, uses a tone of direct address:

;Thahr jaa ;Tuk baat kii baat ay .sabaa
ko))ii dam me;N ham bhii hote hai;N havaa

[please stay just right now, oh breeze
in a few moments/breaths even/also we vanish/'become air']

It's probable that on all these verses, Bedil's legacy [in Persian] is operative:

'Wherever the fragrance of the rose tears open its robe of color,
This is not hidden/veiled: that it is about to journey away from itself.'

Despite these verses, Mir's present verse is not obscured. And this in itself is an important thing. A theme that would be a bit out of the ordinary, and on which various poets would have tried out their abilities-- if it would be versified in a new manner, then this is a point of pride for the poet.

In the present verse, the first line has two meanings: (1) The range of both the color of the rose and the scent of the rose is only that of the breeze: now it's here, now it's gone. (2) Both the color of the rose and the scent of the rose are disappearing, they are going away from the garden.

In the second line the insha'iyah structure has created a 'dramatic' style; and even more than that there's the excellence of the address, and the provocation to the addressee-- 'Should you too go off with such a caravan-- what kind of idea is that?!' The ambiguity of jo tuu bhii chalaa chaahe has an extraordinary pleasure. Another possible meaning is, 'If you too would go with it, then this caravan would become very superb'. A third possible meaning is, 'This caravan is going in any case-- you go too.' (That is, you too are worthy of going.) A fourth possible meaning is, 'After the departure of such a caravan, what need is there for you, or what rank will you have? You go away too.' In short, because of this phrase the meaning of the line is like quicksilver, it doesn't stay still anywhere. But its underlying idea can be discerned as 'When things like the color of the rose and the scent of the rose go away-- or rather, stay only very briefly-- well, how can it be permissible for you that you would stay? As long thereafter as you remain in this world, your presence will be an unnecessary burden.'

The verses by Bedil, Dard, and Insha that I have cited, are devoid of the aspect of the theme that the presence of a person is like an unnecessary burden on this earth, and to whatever extent one would quickly depart from here, to that extent it's a good thing. For further discussion, see




In the second divan, Mir has composed this theme in a tone of surprise and melancholy [{953,2}]:

kyaa rang-o-buu-o-baad-e sa;har sab hai;N garm-e raah
kyaa hai jo is chaman me;N hai aisii chalaa chalii

[what-- are the color and the scent and the dawn breeze all intent on leaving?!
what is it, that in this garden there's such a bustle of departure?!]



That ravishingly multivalent second line is, first of all, a supreme tribute to the 'kya effect'. For kyaa qaafilah jaataa hai , just look at the possibilities:

=Does a caravan go? (a yes-or-no question)

=Which, or what kind of, a caravan goes? (taking kyaa as adjectival)

=What a caravan goes! (an exclamation of admiration)

=What-- does a caravan go!? (a sarcastic negative exclamation-- 'as if a caravan goes! --no such thing!')

Then of course by no coincidence, when the line continues with jo tuu bhii chalaa chaahe , to these four possibilities is attached a second layer of permutations. For since the line is insha'iyah and the verb is subjunctive, the question remains quite open as to whether the addressee is perhaps merely thinking about going, or in fact wants to go, or intends or 'needs' to go (perhaps under some kind of duress); see the broad-spectrum definition of chaahnaa above.

There's also a third layer of ambiguity, provided by the excellent 'even/also' flexibility of bhii -- is the addressee in the same category as color and perfume, such that she 'too', like them, might go; or is she in a quite different class of her own, such that 'even' she might go?

And a fourth layer of uncertainty is that of the questioner's attitude: is he scolding or mocking the addressee over the absurd notion of her departure, or is he encouraging her (resignedly? grimly? sarcastically? impatiently?) to go? SRF has of course rung the changes on many of these possibilities.

When it comes to wordplay, havaa ho jaanaa meaning 'to vanish, disappear' (see the definition above) is based on havaa , 'wind, air'. There's thus an elegant resonance with the color and the scent of the rose, which themselves are almost as intangible as the 'wind'. Does the addressee belong in such company? Is she so intangible, elusive, evanescent? Or is she so irresistible, omnipresent, desirable? For of course havaa also means 'desire, affection' (see the definition above).

Note for meter fans: In the izafat on buu we see something quite unusual: an izafat that's isolated (since it comes after a long vowel) and is required to form a syllable by itself-- which is not at all uncommon-- and then goes on to form a *long* syllable. There's nothing wrong with this, but it's rare, so I'm pointing it out for interest, just to show that it can happen.