yak gha;Rii .saaf nahii;N ham se hu))aa yaar kabhii
dil bhii juu;N shiishah-e saa((at hai mukaddar apnaa

1) not for a single hour/minute did the beloved ever become 'clear'/serene/calm with us
2) even/also our heart, like an hour-glass, is turbid/disturbed



gha;Rii : 'The space of twenty-four minutes; —an hour; —time, hour; a small (indefinite) period of time, a moment'. (Platts p.933)


.saaf : 'Pure, clean, clear; calm, serene; open, unclouded, bright (as the sky); open, sincere, candid, frank; simple, innocent'. (Platts p.742)


mukaddar : 'Rendered muddy or turbid; muddy, turbid; —disturbed, troubled, afflicted; —vexed, displeased; —sullen, gloomy' (Platts p.1058)

S. R. Faruqi:

.saaf honaa = to renounce anger or ill-temper

The whole verse is glittering with wordplay. This verse too is an instructive chastisement for those people who look at wordplay with a gaze of contempt. By means of wordplay, even in an ordinary verse excellence can be created. Muhammad Husain Azad has alluded to this point-- that if to search out a new theme is an achievement, then to express some ordinary theme in some new style, especially when there wouldn't be any special convolutedness of the language, is another sort of achievement. Azad has said this about Atish [in aab-e ;hayaat, p.376], but Mir was really the one for whom it was appropriate.

In any case, in the present verse the wordplay of 'moment' and 'hour-glass'; of 'clear' and 'turbid'; of 'heart' and 'glass', is fine. The simile of 'hour-glass' is also fine, because in it are allusions to the way time keeps on passing, and occasions keep on slipping out of one's hands.

In the heart's becoming 'turbid' there's also there's also the implication that our heart too is now not 'clear' toward the beloved. If she's not sincere, then in our heart too there's no 'clearness' toward her-- she on her part, we on our part. In the word 'turbid' the ambiguity too is excellent.



The pivot of the verse is really mukaddar , which in its various dimensions unites the other imagery. In metaphorical, emotional terms it describes a heart that is 'disturbed, vexed', as opposed to 'bright, open, serene'. And in physical terms it describes a solution of water or mud that is 'turbid, muddy', as opposed to 'clear, calm'. The idea is that the hour-glass is like turbid or muddy water because its grains of sand keep falling, forming hills, cascading, moving around, as fresh grains constantly rain down upon them. Moreover, the hour-glass cannot help but make us think of finiteness, of death, of 'time running out'. (There was an ancient time-telling device called a 'water clock', but there's no reason to believe that Mir would have known about it.)

And by no coincidence, mukaddar is in the crucial rhyme-word position, so that it hits the listener at the last possible moment and suddenly pulls the whole verse together. This is a good example of what I call a 'mushairah verse'.

The ambiguity pointed out by SRF is facilitated by the two possibilities of bhii . If it's taken to be 'also', then the 'same-category' reading emerges: 'she was annoyed with me, and I too was annoyed with her'. If it's taken to be 'even', then the 'incommensurable' reading emerges: 'not only was she annoyed with me (which after all is normal for her), but even I was annoyed with her (which is surprising)'.