tangii-e jaamah :zulm hai ay baa((i;s-e ;hayaat
paate hai;N lu:tf jaan kaa ham tere tan ke biich

1) the tightness of the gown is cruelty/oppression, oh cause of life
2) we find the pleasure of life/spirit amidst your body



jaan : 'The breath of life, vitality; life, spirit, soul, mind; self; animation, vigour, energy, force, stamina; the best part, the essence (of a thing); that which imparts life, or beauty, &c. (to a thing), ornament, grace, beauty; a sweetheart, darling'. (Platts p.372)

S. R. Faruqi:

This theme too Mir obtained from [the Persian of] Khusrau. Khusrau himself has used it several times:

'Oh rose-like one, of your beauty I speak beautifully,
From head to foot it is life/spirit; he is an infidel who calls it a body.'

A much more mischievous verse than that-- or rather, the summit of this theme-- is this [Persian] verse of Khusrau's:

'If the life/spirit of Yusuf hasn't come from nonbeing in this direction,
Then this body, that I've seen beneath the robe-- what was it?'



The theme of proving the body to be life/spirit, Hafiz too has taken up [in Persian]:

'What stature do you have, who are life/spirit from head to foot?
What face do you have, that has no likeness among humans?'

But the first line of that verse remains light, and the second line is entirely-- or at least, virtually-- unrelated to it.

Unlike Hafiz, whenever Mir took up this theme, he created some new aspect in it. From the second divan:


Also from the second divan:


From the sixth divan [{1851,2}]:

naazuk-badan hai kitnaa vuh sho;x-e chashm-e dilbar
jaan us ke tan ke aage aatii nahii;N na:zar me;N

[how delicate-bodied is that mischievous one with heart-stealing eyes!
the life/spirit, before her body, doesn't come into view]

These verses will be discussed in their place. For the present, I want to observe only that in all four verses Mir has certainly used Khusrau's kinds of methods, but everywhere he has also expressed his own individuality and creative excellence. For example, both lines of {1039,5} are in the insha'iyah style, and he has left the idea ambiguous. In the second line of {1041,1} he has said something entirely different, and in the first line he tells us that the life/spirit is envying the body. In {1851,2} there's poetic trickery (because the life/spirit isn't visible in any case), and he has also directly expressed the effect on him: that compared to her body, he considers his life/spirit to be nothing.

But in the present verse, there's a picture-gallery. The theme of clothing it shares with {1041,1}, but this commonality is only superficial. Apparently the verse is about the beloved's delicacy of body; that is, in it what's been said is that 'you are so delicate that your body has entirely the effect of a life/spirit'. But here too, by saying that amidst the body there's 'pleasure' he's also suggested that from the body there's pleasure and enjoyment. And if we look beyond, then we learn that this verse is a disguised request to be unclothed.

Your body is very delicate, so delicate that in it we find a style like that of the life/spirit. But you are wearing tight clothing. This clothing oppresses your body; that is, it shows cruelty to your delicacy. Then, you are the cause of our life; that is, since your body has the effect of a life/spirit, and you are the cause of our life, it follows that your body is our life/spirit.

If you would show your body, then we would receive life/spirit. Thus your clothing, simply by virtue of being clothing, is cruelty to us. And by virtue of being tight it is cruelty to your body, that body that is refined and delicate like the life/spirit.

For sure-- the person who would compose such a verse, would be called the 'Lord of Poetry' [;xudaa-e su;xan]! And yet there are people who see in his poetry nothing but tears and blood. The whole verse is full of metaphor, poetic trickery, delicate ambiguity and eroticism; and its structure [bandish] is so tight that not even one word is unused.

If we think about it, then in tangii-e jaamah :zulm hai , paate hai;N lu:tf jaan kaa ham tere tan ke biich the idea is complete, but the line is not complete. Through an expression like ay baa((i;s-e ;hayaat he completed the line, but rather than making it only an appropriate-seeming bit of padding [;hashviyaa], by means of it he has created additional meaning, and fulfilled the claims of 'meaning-creation'.

[See also {324,2}; {885,5}; {1620,3}.]



On the question of who should be called the 'Lord of Poetry', see SRF's extended discussion.

SRF has brilliantly unpacked this brilliant verse; I have nothing special to add, except to observe that this verse is immediately followed by a similar but much weaker one {1123,6}:

naazuk bahut hai tuu kahii;N afsurdagii nah aa))e
chaspaanii-e libaas se pyaare badan ke biich

[you are very delicate-- may you not feel oppression
from the adhesiveness of the clothing, amidst your dear body!].