naqsh kisuu kaa daruun-e siinah garm :talab hai;N vaise rang
jaise ;xayaalii paas liye ta.sviir chitere phirte hai;N

1) an image/painting/shape of someone, within the breast, hot/warm-- we are seeking colors in such a way
2) the way that, taking with them an imaginary picture, painters roam/wander around



naqsh : 'Painting; colouring; drawing; designing, &c.; —delineation ... ; —a painting, a picture; portrait; drawing; a print; a carving, an engraving; a map, or plan...; a design; —an impression; a stamp; a mark'. (Platts p.1145)


:talab : 'Search, quest; wish, desire; inquiry, request, demand, application, solicitation; sending for, summons; an object of quest, or of desire; ... Seeking, requiring, desiring'. (Platts p.753)


vaise : 'In that manner, &c. ... ; —uselessly, in vain, to no purpose; —for no special reason, with no particular object; without just ground or cause, causelessly, gratuitously'. (Platts p.1209)


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'. (Platts p.286)

S. R. Faruqi:

chiteraa = painter

It's an entirely novel verse, and the arrangement of the words has created an extraordinary ambiguity. The first line can be read in several ways:

(1) naqsh kisuu kaa daruun-e siinah garm , :talab hai;N vaise rang

(2) naqsh kisuu kaa daruun-e siinah , garm :talab hai;N vaise rang

(3) naqsh kisuu kaa daruun-e siinah , garm-e :talab hai;N vaise rang

The words too of this line are such that, taking advantage of the swingy meter, they can be scanned in two different ways:

(1) fa((l fa((uulan fa((uul fa((lan fa((l fa((uulan fa((lan fa((

(2) fa((l fa((uul fa((uulan fa((lan fa((l fa((uulan fa((lan fa((

Now let's consider the meaning.:

(1) With regard to the first reading, the meaning is that someone's image is hot/warm within our breast; we need colors the way they exist in the imaginary pictures made by painters. Because in order to bring down this image onto paper, only such colors can be of use.

(2) If we declare 'hot' to be a quality of color, then with regard to the second reading one meaning is that we need the kind of hot colors that are in imaginary pictures.

(3) One meaning of garm is also 'quick'. If this meaning is taken, then the interpretation of the second reading becomes 'we quickly need such colors as are in imaginary pictures'.

(4) In the light of the third reading, if hai;N is taken to mean 'we are', and rang is taken to mean 'manner, style', then the interpretation will be that we are in 'hot' pursuit (absorbed in pursuit) of a picture of the kind that painters have.

(5) If we take rang to be the subject, then the idea will be that the way colors are in pictures, in that way colors are in hot pursuit. That is, the colors themselves are in pursuit: 'make use of us, apply us in a picture!'.

With regard to imagery and meaning, the theme of someone's image being hot/warm within the breast is the best reading. (1) They use for the beloved's face the simile of the sun, or other bright things; thus her face too will be hot. (2) The image of the beloved makes the heart restless, and creates a burning in it; for this reason too we can call it hot. (3) For the redness/rosiness of the beloved's face, heat is a metaphor. (4) The coming of the beloved's image into the heart increases the beating and throbbing of the heart; thus it can be called 'hot'. (5) The beloved's image in the heart is like a wound. A wound is inflamed, therefore hot. (6) The beloved's image is the cause of the heart's life. Heat is a metaphor for life. (7) The beloved's image is restless to go out of the heart; thus he has called it 'hot'.

No matter how we look at it, for the image to be hot within the breast is an uncommon metaphor. It should be kept in mind that in the terminology of our portraiture, if the portrait is of some real person then it's called a 'real image' [shabiih-e ;haqiiqii]. And it the portrait is imaginary, then it's called an 'imagined image' [shabiih-e ;xayaalii]. (It's possible that the beloved here too would be imagined, because he's said naqsh kisuu kaa .) In a 'true image' the possibilities for color are limited. By contrast, in an 'imagined image' the painter has freedom: he uses whatever color he wishes. This is why the speaker is in search of the colors that are in an 'imagined image'. That is, unlimited possibilities for colors.



'Ambiguity' is the word, all right. Just look at how multivalent the first line is:

= naqsh kisuu kaa -- This can, as SRF observes, refer to the speaker's beautiful beloved (to whom he is coyly alluding), or to some unknown or imagined vision (of which he is in search).

= daruun-e siinah -- Is the image there, or is the search occurring there?

= garm -- Is the image 'hot' (the reading SRF ultimately prefers), or is the search 'hot' (in which case we'd read garm-e :talab ), or are the colors 'hot'?

= :talab hai;N -- Are 'we' doing the searching, or are the 'colors' doing the searching?

= vaise -- Does it mean 'in such a way' (to go with jaise , 'in the way that', in the second line)? Does it mean 'such' colors (the ones painters go around carrying)? Or does it mean 'uselessly, vainly, casually, causelessly' (see the definition above)?

= rang -- Are the 'colors' the objects of search, or the searchers?

The degree of do-it-yourself assembly required to read the verse is admirable (though the resulting meanings are not different enough or exciting enough to make the whole process truly thrilling). Compare the almost equally multivalent previous verse, {1177,4}.

In the second line, the prose word order would be jaise chitere ;xayaalii ta.sviir paas liye phirte hai;N . What's not clear is how or why the painters roam or wander around with their imaginary pictures. The many possibilities of phirnaa (see the definition above) help to keep the question open. Does their roaming have some special connection with the imaginary pictures (are they searching for suitable 'colors'?), or do they just go about their everyday business (while always keeping the imaginary pictures in the back of their mind)?

Note for meter fans: SRF points out that in this 'Hindi meter', naqsh kisuu kaa daruun-e siinah can be scanned in two ways:

(1) NAQ-sh ki-SUU KAA da-RUU-ne SII-NAH -- that is, = - - / = = / - = - / = =

(2) NAQ-sh ki-SUU kaa da-RUU-NE-SII-NAH -- that is, = - - / = - - / = = / = =

I can't see why this constitutes any special merit or interest in the verse, since many verses in this meter have variant possibilities of scansion. The reason he mentions it is perhaps because (1) creates in its third foot an unusual, deviant-feeling pattern that gives an effect of extra syncopation.