be-;xvud us kii zulf-o-ru;x ke kaahe ko aap me;N phir aa))e
ham kahte hai;N tasallii-e dil ko saa;Njh savere phirte hai;N

1) those made self-less by her curls and face-- why/how did they again come to themselves?!
2) we say, for the comfort of the heart, evening, morning, they wander/return



kaahe ko : ''For what?' 'why?' 'wherefore?'. (Platts p.808)


phirnaa : 'To turn, go round, revolve, whirl; to circulate; to turn back, to return; to walk, walk about, walk to and fro; to wander, rove, ramble, stroll; to travel; to turn over, to roll; to turn away, to turn ... ; to change; to turn aside, to deviate, wander; to turn, bend, become distorted or crooked, to warp'. (Platts p.286)

S. R. Faruqi:

The refrain has been used well. Here the meaning is 'to come back'. The affinity of zulf-o-ru;x with saanjh saveraa is superb. With regard to meaning too, this is very fine. The idea is that we comfort our heart: 'if she doesn't come back today, then she'll come tomorrow; if she doesn't come in the morning, then she'll come in the evening'; and so on.

In the refrain, phirnaa can mean 'to revolve'. Now the reading is that we comfort our heart: 'days and nights keep revolving, nothing remains in the same condition; those people who have been lost to her curls and face-- they too will, sometime or other, come to their senses'.

The ambiguity is also fine, that they, having seen the lostness of the curls and face, or having inhaled the perfume of the curls and been dazzled by the radiance of her face, or being submerged in the memory of these things; or they who have been made self-less by the intensity of the loss of these things-- the insha'iyah structure of the first line is reinforced with Mir's usual trimness. In the first line, too, phir aa))e can have two meanings: (1) came again; and (2) came back.

Having kept the identity of the speaker ambiguous, Mir has created an additional pleasure:

(1) The speaker himself is the poet.

(2) The speaker is some neighbor living nearby in the neighborhood.

(3) The speaker is some friend, who is speaking in a tone of anxiety and apprehension.

(4) Several people are speaking among themselves about those who have been made self-less by her soft curls.



The dark curls are (as black as) night, the radiant face is (as bright as) the dawn-- or else, this being the ghazal world, the night 'is' her dark curls and the dawn 'is' her bright face. The 'symmetry' (if A is B, then B is A) is unusually subtle and elegant, because the equation itself is made not in the verse, but only in our minds.

This is a wildly dynamic 'A,B' verse, full of rearrangeable 'midpoint' phrases. Look at some of the possible relationships between the lines:

First line (in which it's not clear whether, or how, or why, those lovers ever did recover):

=How/why did those self-less lovers afterwards come to themselves? (Astonishingly, they did.)

=As if those self-less lovers afterwards came to themselves! (Why would they? They didn't, of course.)

Second line (in which it's not clear who is speaking, whose are the hearts, or who might 'wander' or 'return' or 'change'):

=We observers say, for the comfort of our hearts, 'Evenings, mornings, change with time'.

=We observers say, 'For the comfort of their hearts, in the evening and the morning they wander'.

=We lovers say, 'For the comfort of our hearts, in the evening and the morning we wander'.

=We lovers say, for the comfort of our hearts, evening and morning, 'She is coming back'.

And so on. Pick one from each line and match them up; if you're inclined, try out a few more permutations too. The various meanings of phirnaa offer further possibilities. Compare to the second line the almost equally multivalent first line of the next verse, {1177,5}.