is dasht se ho miir tiraa kyuu;N kih gu;zaaraa
taa zaanuu tire gil hai tirii taa bah kamar aab

1) through this desert, Mir, how would be your passage?
2) to your knees, is mud; to your waist, water



dasht : 'A desert, a steppe, an arid plain; a forest'. (Platts p.518)


gu;zaaraa : 'A passing, passing over, crossing; a passage; passing of time or of life; living, subsisting; —stay, abode'. (Platts p.900)


gil : Earth, mud, clay'. (Platts p.911)


In the second line, both taa and taa bah are Persianized counterparts of tak .

S. R. Faruqi:

In the second line the 'seating' [nishast] of the words is so Ustad-like and commanding that the intensity of the image doesn't at once catch the eye. In the first line, by mentioning the 'desert' he has made the scene very expansive.

The style of address too has created a kind of beauty: as if other people besides Mir are in that desert, but on Mir alone has fallen the disaster that up to above his knees he has become stuck in mud, and in addition there's water up to his waist. The speaker, and perhaps his companions, see this scene and pause; they simply say a few words of commiseration and pass on.

Atish has tried to imitate both the image in the second line, and the seating of the words, but he has been badly unsuccessful:

baa;G-e ((aalam me;N jo raa;hat hai to phir ranj bhii hai
taa kamar gil hai;N to yaa;N taa sar-e zaanuu kaa;N;Te

{in the garden of the world when there is comfort, then again there is sorrow too
if up to the waist there is mud, then here up to the knees are thorns]

The example is wholly ineffective, the claim is entirely without 'proof'; the abundance of unnecessary words and the first line's dry, moralistic expression-- this is the creation of that verse.

Mir himself has borrowed from [the Persian of] Nur ul-'Ain Vaqif the image of mud to the waist:

'With mud up to my knees, I am entirely trapped--
From one end to the other, oh street of the beloved, at the hands of the heart.'

The image did come to Vaqif, but he didn't manage to use it well. To address the street of the beloved is foolish, and 'from one end to the other' is entirely useless. Mir took from Vaqif a single gold coin, and with it made a whole treasury.

This theme, having changed it a bit but with more clarity, Mir has expressed in the third divan like this:


[See also {255,2}.]



Are we to believe that the water and mud have been generated by the lover's own tears? It seems quite possible , since no other source is suggested.

SRF proposes that the verse is spoken by some travellers who 'simply say a few words of commiseration and pass on'. This makes them seem remarkably cold-hearted, since they are not even strangers: they know 'Mir' well enough to address him by name. Surely the verse works better as something that 'Mir' is saying to himself, as he reflects (ruefully? resignedly? bitterly? amusedly? neutrally?) on his impossible plight.

And locating all this mud and water explicitly in a 'desert' is especially piquant: we realize that Mir's plight is no ordinary run of bad weather, but is unnaturally (or even supernaturally?) wretched.

Note for grammar and meter fans: The kyuu;N kih is not the normal one that means 'because'. Rather, it's kyuu;N kar , meaning 'how, why', which has had its kar turned to kih to accommodate the meter.