tan raakh se malaa sab aa;Nkhe;N diye sii jaltii
;Thahrii na:zar nah jogii miir us fatiilah-muu par

1) the body all smeared with ashes; the eyes burning like lamps
2) the gaze did not linger, Mir, on that dreadlocked/'wick-haired' jogi



fatiilah : 'A wick; a match; a fuse'. (Platts p.776)

S. R. Faruqi:



Asi has read ;Thahrii na:zar nah jo kii , and Abbasi has read ;Thahre na:zar nah jogii . My view is that jogii is better, but instead of ;Thahre , the more appropriate reading is ;Thahrii . Because in this way the verse seems to be an account of a mysterious and stupefying encounter. As if on the road we suddenly saw such a person, and then told people, 'today we encountered a very uncommon individual'.

The prose of the second line will be like this: (oh) Mir, on that dreadlocked/'wick-haired' jogi only/emphatically the gaze did not linger. That is, we were not able to meet his gaze; or else he disappeared so swiftly that we were left gaping, he vanished from our eyes in an instant.

That jogi can be some world-renunciant faqir, some magician, some strong-hearted lover, some madman. Because it gives us no details, the verse's mysteriousness has become very deep. By mentioning, along with the ash-smeared body, the eyes burning like lamps, he has created a superb effect of fire and ashes. As though that person had himself already burned to ashes, but the eyes, which are the windows of the heart, are blazing like lamps. The cause of the eyes' being radiant in this way can be spiritual power, or else madness, because in madness the eyes become red.

In Nisar Ahmad Faruqi's opinion ;Thahrii na:zar nah jo kii is the most probable reading. Janab Shah Husain Nahri too also doubts that between fatiilah-muu and par there would be a [grammatical] place for jogii . The truth is that in the line there's a very interesting and pleasurable unity. The prose of it will be like this:

( ay ) miir us fatiilah-muu jogii par na:zar nah ;Thahrii

If we read jo kii , then the prose will be like this:

( ay ) miir us fatiilah-muu par na:zar jo kii to ( na:zar ) nah ;Thahrii

It's obvious that this latter reading is devoid of pleasure. That I gazed, and that my gaze did not remain-- this isn't exactly a deep idea, but rather has the defect of repetitiveness [takraar]. It would have been quite sufficient to say us fatiilah-muu par na:zar nah ;Thahrii .



Why does the lover even say these words in the first place? In the ghazal universe, the lover basically thinks only about the beloved, himself, other lovers, and people who could help or hurt his access to the beloved. Even in Mir's characteristic 'neighbors' verses, it's the neighbors who are concerned about the lover, not the other way around. Now here the lover seems to be telling someone (a friend? us? himself, later on?) about a completely unrelated person. Why is he doing this?

Well, apparently because the jogi is unforgettable-- although, or because, he is unwatchable. His momentary appearance is like a wordless, uninterpretable 'gesture'. What is it about him that so fascinates the speaker? Ah, now that we get down to it, Mir of course gives us no hint. We ourselves are required (or permitted) to imagine the nature and source of the fascination. There's of course the fire and ash wordplay, centering on the 'wick-haired' jogi. And as SRF also observes, the jogi's power could be that of the mysterious wandering religious ascetic, to whom magical abilities were popularly ascribed; or it could be that of the madman who looks to be capable of anything.

But is the speaker fascinated with the jogi as Other (someone who has powers and knowledge that he himself does not), or as a colleague (someone who is in the same neck of the woods, professionally speaking)? After all, the lover too is mystically empowered by his passion, and is also driven mad by it; so perhaps all that separates him from the jogi is the latter's overt display of ashes and 'wick-hair'? And maybe time as well: perhaps the jogi represents the final stage of the wild, relentlessly passionate trajectory upon which the speaker too has now launched himself.

Note for grammar fans: The best reading of the first line is with the first verb an adjectival past participle, and the second verb an adjectival present participle.