bahaar aa))ii khile gul phuul shaayad baa;G-o-.sa;hraa me;N
jhalak sii maartii hai kuchh siyaahii daa;G-e saudaa me;N

1) spring has come, roses and flowers have bloomed, perhaps, in garden and wilderness
2) the blackness gives off somewhat of something like a brightness/reflection, in the wound/scar of madness



gul :  A rose; a flower; a red patch (on anything); ... —a mark made (on the skin) by burning, a brand'. (Platts p.911)


jhalak : 'Brightness, radiance, glare, glitter, sparkle, lustre, splendour, refulgence, reflection (of light)'. (Platts p.406)


saudaa : 'The black bile (one of the four humours of the body), atrabilis; melancholy; hypochondria; frenzy, madness, insanity'. (Platts p.695)

S. R. Faruqi:

In Mir's first line, Abbasi has written baa;G .sa;hraa instead of baa;G-o-.sa;hraa . Asi has given no indication. Kalb-e Ali Khan Fa'iq has written baa;G , .sa;hraa . In my view baa;G-o-.sa;hraa is the most rhythmic, so it's the one that I've preferred.

For a theme similar to this, see


The present verse, because of some rarities and beauties, holds a place of its own. It's clear that, as in {1579,2}, the speaker here too is imprisoned in a cell, or is shut up in some confined place, and the outer situation is known to him only through his own inner experiences and the effects of those inner experiences on his own body. Thus when his wound/scar of madness began to turn black, then he became aware that outside perhaps it was spring.

For this there can be a number of meanings:

(1) If spring had not come to the garden and the wilderness, then spring would also not have come to my wounds. I and the arrangements of nature and destiny-- they are all links in a single chain.

(2) In spring there's every kind of color upon color; my 'color' is only this-- that the blackness of the wound would increase; or that the wound, which previously was red-tinged, would begin to be black.

(3) The blackness of the wound is a symbol of the ebullition of madness. When the ebullition of madness increased, then the circulation of blood in the body increased. Thus the red-tinged wound became so tinged with so deep a red that it became black-tinged.

(4) In the spring flowers bloom, my flowers are of such a kind that my wound would become black-tinged.

(5) Madness is called saudaa . The dictionary meaning of saudaa is 'blackness'. Thus when madness reaches an ebullition, then in the wound the blackness will of course increase.

(6) One meaning of gul is 'wound'. Thus in the spring flowers have bloomed, as if in the body of the earth wounds have opened. Thus on my body too the wounds have brightened/flourished (have become blacker).

The image in the second line is peerless. In the wound, for the blackness 'to give off a reflection/brightness' was no small thing in itself, since by saying daa;G-e saudaa he has also included an uncommon 'affinity'. Because (as has been mentioned above) one meaning of saudaa is 'blackness' as well.

Then, the words sii and kuchh are very fine, because they not only have the colloquialness proper to everyday life, but even establish a tone of conversation. Most of all, through them the speaker's mental state becomes manifest-- that because of his madness he can't manage to distinguish between reality and obscurity/ambiguity. That is, in the ebullition of madness he even supposes that blackness has come upon his wounds. Or again, he has so much ardor for madness that through a kind of longing he engages in wishful thinking.

It's hardly surprising that Ghalib, having seen in Mir's verse jhalak sii maartii hai kuchh siyaahii , would have written [in an unpublished verse:


In Ghalib's verse, in the second line there's an extraordinary tone of narrativity. Mir's verse too has this quality. Ghalib's idea too is based on the intensity of madness, but in his verse there's the breadth of the desert and wilderness, and in Mir's verse there's the narrowness of a prison cell. Both, juxtaposed to each other, are fine verses.

In Mir's verse gul phuul is not repetition. It was the colloquial speech of that era. Mir and his contemporaries have used it again and again. Thus here are two verses by Mirza Jan Tapish:

ga))e vuh din jo la;xt-e dil the us me;N ab hai;N yuu;N mizhgaa;N
;xizaa;N me;N jis :tara;h gul phuul se hove;N shajar ;xaalii

[those days are gone when there were fragments of the heart in them; now, the eyelashes are like
the way in autumn, a tree would become empty of roses and flowers]

bah :zaahir go kih har gul phuul kaa ((aalam niraalaa hai
;haqiiqat me;N vale dekho to kab baa-ham judaa))ii hai

[although outwardly the situation of every rose and flower is unique
still in reality, if you look, when is there separation from each other?]

In the work of later poets, gul phuul is not to be seen. Though indeed, Zafar Iqbal has written it, in his brick-like ghazal style:

ho aur to kyaa umiid tujh se
baare gul phuul hii masalvaa

[what more hope would there be from you?
finally you crushed only/emphatically the roses and flowers]

[See also {451,1}.]



SRF says that in both this verse and {1579,2}, the speaker is 'imprisoned in a cell, or shut up in a confined place', such that he cannot see the outer world. According to the verses themselves, this not so clear. In {1579,2}, the speaker (or thinker) is 'at home' (as SRF himself recognizes in his discussion), and there's no indication that he can't go out into the desert. In his discussion of {1579,2}, SRF also says, ''The wounds of madness became black' is an extremely beautiful image, and an idiom as well. Because when a wound/scar fades, then they call this daa;G siyaahii figandah .'

So if a wound's 'becoming black' is an idiomatic expression for its fading, then in the present verse there's no reason the speaker needs to be locked up in a dark cell of any kind. He may just be sitting at home in a dim room, suffering and lamenting in proper lover-like style, when he notices that his wounds are looking 'blacker' and/or 'brighter' than before. He might conjecture that perhaps spring had come; perhaps he would go to the window and check, or perhaps he wouldn't bother, but the verse gives us no reason to suppose that he's stuck in a dark prison cell.

In fact, this is a classic 'A,B' verse, in which the relationship between the two lines is left for us readers to determine. Just consider some of the possibilities:

(1) A is the cause, B is the effect. This is SRF's reading.

(2) A and B are parallel, since both are effects of the same cause. Just as the cycle of the seasons brings out the spring flowers (and the 'perhaps' here means only that the speaker hasn't actually gone out and inspected the gardens and wilderness areas), the same cycle brings about the 'blackening'/'brightening' of his wounds.

(3) B is the cause, A is the effect. The lover notices some small glimmer in the blackness of his wounds, and concludes that this tiny change is probably causing all nature to rejoice and flourish (and might it even be a sign that the beloved's nearness?). He thinks this either because of his extravagant madness (with saudaa itself elegantly uniting 'madness' and 'blackness'), or because in fact the heat and energy of his passion are the forces that power the universe. Compare the brilliant


in which the cosmic claims are not merely about creating the springtime, but about actually powering the cycle of day and night. But the present verse is so enjoyably extreme-- one little glimmer of light in the 'blackness' of the lover's wounds, and the whole world is blossoming with springtime and flowers!

The idea that the 'blackness' of the wounds give off a jhalak , a 'brightness, reflection of light' (see the definition above), is wonderful in itself-- and of course, as SRF notes, both the sii and the kuchh tend to qualify the effect, so it's really 'somewhat of something like a brightness'. These little qualifiers echo the 'perhaps' in the first line, so it's also possible that the speaker is mistaken, and really nothing much is happening at all. Is it not a spectacular verse?