ab laa;Garii se dii;N hai;N saarii rage;N dikhaa))ii
par ((ishq bhar rahaa hai ek ek merii nas me;N

1) now, from gauntness, all my arteries/veins/sinews have become visible
2) but passion is filling, one by one, my every vein/sinew



laa;Garii : 'Leanness, thinness, gauntness'. (Platts p.945)


rag : 'An artery, a vein; tendon, nerve, sinew, fibre'. (Platts p.582)


bharnaa : 'To be contained to fullness, be filled or filled up, be full; to be satisfied or sated; ... to fill up, heal (as a wound); ... to be steeped (in, - me;N ), soaked, drenched; to be painted, coloured, daubed ... ; to develop, become plump or well-conditioned (the body); —v.t. To fill; to satisfy; to bestow in abundance, make rich'. (Platts p.187)


ek ek : 'One by one, separately, singly; severally, each, every'. (Platts p.113)


nas : 'A vein; a muscle, sinew, tendon, nerve; fibre'. (Platts p.1136)

S. R. Faruqi:

He has repeated this theme in the fifth divan [{1686,6}]:

tan-e zard-o-laa;Gar me;N :zaahir rage;N hai;N
bharaa hai magar ((ishq ek ek nas me;N

[in the pallid and gaunt body the arteries/veins are apparent
but passion has filled up every single vein]

The idea that's found in the present verse has not come into {1686,6}. In its first line, the words are not entirely effective. In its second line, 'passion has filled' is not as effective as 'passion is filling'. In any cases, both verses display Mir's special kind of thought and style.

In the first line of the present verse, the scene is realistic; thus the verse, despite being based on hyperbole, seems to be near to everyday life. The image in the second line-- how can it be described! Such a narrative and emotional image can be found only in Shakespeare. In the first line, by mentioning the visible arteries/veins, he has fortified the image, and also created an affinity of words.

In the second line, the image is so powerful that it also does duty as a meaning. But nevertheless, Mir has also included another layer of meaning. In 'but passion is filling up', the word 'but' has created two additional interpretations. (1) Although I myself have become gaunt and feeble, the strength of passion has filled my veins and arteries. (2) Although I am gaunt and emaciated, passion does not leave me-- as if these veins that are visible, are visible because instead of blood, passion has filled them up.

For ((ishq bhar rahaa hai , there are also several meanings: (1) Passion is in a state of having filled. (2) Passion has remained in a state of having filled. (3) Passion is, from moment to moment, filling up the veins. (4) Passion is some conscious thing, that deliberately goes on filling up my veins. This meaningfulness is not there in bharaa hai ((ishq .

To see the difference between an imaginary theme and a realistic them, between 'delicacy of thought' and 'meaning-creation', listen to this verse of Momin's, which is based on a similar theme:

dard se jaa;N ke ((iva.z har rag-o-pai me;N saarii
chaarah-gar ham nahii;N hone ke jo darmaa;N hogaa

[something like pain, instead of life, in every vein and vessel is flowing
physician, we are not the kind for whom there will be a medicine]

Momin's verse is very fine, but it doesn't have a depth of meaning, and in the theme it doesn't have the mood of everyday life. Momin's thought is very refined/delicate, and in the second line the miraculousness is such that in the expression there's come to be unlimited trimness. Momin's theme is based on Persian poets; for example, Naziri:

'It seems as if it will keep on leaving my breast; otherwise,
To give one's life is not any such a difficult thing.'

The intensity of 'mood' that's in Naziri's verse, is not found in Momin's. Otherwise, the logic of the theme is the same in both verses.

Mir's theme is entirely his own invention. And along with everything else, in it there's also an aspect of arrogance and self-glorification-- that grief dissolved my whole body and made it thin, everything melted and flowed away, but passion didn't depart from the constitution of my body.

When wine or some other intoxicant takes control of a person, then a stage comes when it becomes a necessity not for the mind, but rather for the body. That is, food might or might not be available-- that doesn't make any great difference. But if the habitual intoxicant is not available, then the body doesn't work. In Mir's verse too, passion now is not only a mental mood, but rather has become a necessity for the constitution of the body.

Jahangir's courtier and a famous Mughal chieftain, Inayat Khan (d.1618), had at the end of his life become so emaciated and gaunt that according to Jahangir, even his bones had wasted away. Because of addiction to opium and wine, Inayat Khan had come to be so sickly that Jahangir didn't believe that anybody could waste away with such speed. In the picture of Inayat Khan on his deathbed that Jahangir caused one of his artists (probably Bishan Das) to make, Inayat Khan seems to be only a collection of bones and skin. (This picture is in the Boston Museum.) By contrast, in a picture of that same Inayat Khan from only three years before his death (Victoria and Albert Museum, London), he looks to be a superior example of masculine beauty and dignity. Mir was interested in painting, so it wouldn't be strange if he had been aware of the deathbed picture of Inayat Khan.

[See also {1779,3}.]



Are we meant to consider the small difference of meaning between rag and nas ? It's always a question worth asking, but in this verse, I don't think we are.

The second line makes it clear that passion is filling up the veins with itself, not with something else, although I can't figure out how to show this distinction unambiguously in the translation.

Note for grammar and translation fans: In English, 'to fill (up)' can be either transitive ('a transfusion fills the veins with blood') or intransitive ('the veins gradually fill with blood'). The same is true of bharnaa in Urdu (and Hindi). My translation makes the second line look as though it might be similarly ambiguous. But it's not, because of the me;N (which remains untranslatable in this case). Since passion is filling 'in, within' every vein, the process is clearly marked as intransitive: we might say that passion is 'accumulating in' every vein (except that 'accumulating' doesn't have the aspiration to completeness that 'filling' does). I could go on about the possible nuances at more length, including SRF's interesting alternative meanings (1) ((ishq bharaa hu))aa hai , and (2) ((ishq bhar ke rah gayaa hai . But I'll control myself, because I don't think all these subtleties really affect the interpretation and enjoyment of the verse.