mujh ko dimaa;G-e va.sf-e gul-o-yaasman nahii;N
mai;N juu;N nasiim baad-farosh-e chaman nahii;N

1) I don't have a mind/nose to praise/describe the rose and jasmine
2) I am not, like the breeze, a flatterer/panegyrist/'wind-seller' of the garden



dimaa;G : 'The brain; head, mind, intellect; spirit; fancy, desire; airs, conceit; pride, haughtiness, arrogance; intoxication; ... —the organ of smell'. (Platts p.526)


va.sf : 'Describing; declaring; praising; —description, expression of qualities; praise, encomium'. (Platts p.1195)


baad-farosh : 'Flatterer; boaster; (in India, generally,) a bhaa;T , a musician or minstrel'. (Platts p.119)

S. R. Faruqi:

baad-farosh = flatterer, panegyrist

This verse is a clear proof that-- as I have suggested in the introduction to SSA, volume 1-- Mir, like Baudelaire, had such an ardor for using interesting words in his verses that he composed a number of verses only in order to versify some fresh word. The word baad-farosh is so attractive and novel/striking that he couldn't rest until he had versified it.

And Mir did full justice to it too, for he called the breeze (which spreads the garden's perfume in all directions) a 'flatterer' of the garden. Then, he also showed his individuality, and arrogance too: 'I am not a frivolous light-weight like the breeze. How would I be content to waste my time in praising roses and flowers, or prove myself their panegyrist?'

Now let's consider the fact that in order to express the theme of 'flattery' he has searched out a word like baad-farosh , which is the very summit of affinity-- because the breeze is not only itself wind, but is also used when people say baad or nafas to mean 'sweet scent'. Then, since the breeze spreads the perfume ( baad ) to great distances, it's as if it does 'wind/perfume-selling'. People always speak ill of flattery, but to bring out for it a word that would also manifest and prove the evil of flattery-- this is to bring the search for fresh words to perfection.

Nisar Ahmad Faruqi has written-- and rightly written-- thatbaad-farosh used to be a name for professional bards [bhaa;T] who memorized the genealogies of great families, and used to present extemporaneous or previously-composed poems in their praise. This meaning too accords with our view. But it's not entirely operative, as will have been seen from the above discussion.



In such an utterly wordplay-based verse, there's one more small bit of secondary wordplay that I must mention, because SRF himself taught it to me so emphatically. Check the definition of dimaa;G given above, and you'll see that the word means not only mind but also, way down on the list, 'nose'. (Platts perhaps thinks the word undignified, for he substitutes 'the organ of smell'.) There are a number of verses in which this double meaning is strongly and explicitly invoked; for Ghalibian examples, see G{11,2}. Here, it may not be part of the primary meaning of the verse (because the nose is not used for va.sf ). But in a verse about breezes, spreading perfume, and flattery, how can dimaa;G as 'nose' fail to hover somewhere in the background?

SRF's emphasis on such obscure double meanings was part of his larger and all-too-legitimate complaint that most modern commentators are content to know a single meaning for a word-- usually a modern meaning that happens to be in their head already. In their confidence (and in their conscious or unconscious 'natural poetry' disdain for verbal artifice) they don't consult dictionaries, and therefore they miss out on much of the subtlety and multivalence of poets like Ghalib and Mir.