a;Nkh;Riyo;N ko us kii ;xaa:tir-;xvaah kyuu;Nkar dekhiye
sau :taraf jab dekh liije tab ;Tuk uudhar dekhiye

1) how would/should a well-wisher look at her eyes?!
2) when looks would go in a hundred directions, then look just a bit over that way



a;Nkh;Rii : '(dim. of aa;Nkh ), Eye; glance of the eye'. (Platts p.96)

S. R. Faruqi:

It's an interesting and extremely subtle verse of 'affair-evocation', but its real excellence (or importance) is in the fact that the discussion is about looking fully at the beloved. There's no mention of looking at her whole face, or her body. It seems that in Mir's time too, the kind of burqas were customery in which the face remains hidden but the eyes are visible, and which we people consider to be a 'modern burqa'. Or again, it's possible that there would be the possibility of meeting the beloved's gaze.

The probability is that it would be about the kind of burqa mentioned above. The beloved is perhaps in the market, or in some shop, and the speaker is quite near to her. But he knows (or fears in his heart) that if he would look directly into the beloved's eyes, then everybody would notice. Thus he uses great care and resolve, and looks toward the beloved when in his opinion nobody is paying attention to him. A picture of a whole culture, and within that culture of the whole framework of a special aspect of passion, has come into the verse.

It hasn't been made clear what the beloved's reaction is to this whole affair. It's possible that she too might have an interest in the speaker, and might want the speaker to look toward her, and want their eyes to meet

A long time ago the late Ihtisham Sahib had recited this verse to me, which at that time was often being attributed to Mir:

dekh letaa hai vuh pahle chaar suu achchhii :tara;h
chupke se phir puuchhtaa hai miir tuu achchhii :tara;h

[she first looks around in all four directions, very well
then stealthily asks 'Mir, are you well?']

Akbar Haidari has said that the late Asar Lakhnavi has attributed it to Mir, but this verse is by no means Mir's. It's obvious that the verse is not Mir's. But it's possible that someone might have invented it as an example of the style of verses like the present verse. In the whole of the verse, the dramaticness of the affair is in any case very fine, and the late Ihtisham Sahib also recited it very well. May God rest his soul.



Other misattributed 'Mir' verse are cited in {256,1} and {1320,2}. Those, like the anonymous one cited by SRF above, are serious, legitimate verses that could well have been attributed to Mir by one or another kind of understandable error. I would call this 'erroneous' attribution. (And here's a witty complaint about the opposite problem, of having one's own verses attributed to someone else: {1783,3}.)

Nowadays, however, there are also more and more really awful, nonsensical, impossible verses that could be attributed to Mir only through radical ignorance of the whole ghazal genre. I would call this 'false' attribution. Here's an excellent (?) example of the problem. This one is quite blatantly false, since it doesn't even scan. It also comes with a bonus, in the form of a fake 'Mir Anis' verse too:

For discussion of a verse erroneously attributed to Amir Khusrau, see {324,1}.

If you're interested in general issues of erroneous or false attribution, see