ai but gurusnah-chashm hai;N mardum nah un se mil
dekhe;N hai;N ham ne phuu;Tte patthar na:zar se yaa;N

1) oh idol, men are hungry-eyed-- don't meet/associate with them!
2) we have seen a stone splitting/cracking from a gaze, here



gurusnah : 'Hungry'. (Platts p.904)


mardum : 'A man; men, people; —a polite or civilized man; —pupil (of the eye)'. (Platts p.1022)

S. R. Faruqi:

To call those who gaze at the beloved with hungry, lustful eyes gurusnah-chashm is an extremely powerful and eloquent thing. But the image in the second line has raised the structure of the verse to the level of a wonder/miracle. The gazes are not only hungry, sharp, or unbridled, but rather have in them a kind of bestiality, a kind of innate and physical power to wound. It seems that they are not gazes, but are stones of lustfulness and shamelessness, that are mentally raping the beloved's face.

Then, along with this theme, there's a full provision for affinity and wordplay. If in the second line he mentioned splitting rocks, then in the first line he used the word 'idol' for the beloved, for idols are made of stone. In chashm , mardum (meaning 'pupil of the eye'), dekhe;N , phuu;Tnaa , na:zar -- among all of these there's the pleasure of wordplay [muraa((aat ul-na:ziir] and zila. Then, there's the poetic trickery-- that he has called other people 'hungry-eyed' and forbidden the beloved to meet with them; but it's clear that the speaker is not counting himself among the hungry-eyed. Thus the suggestion is, don't meet with other people, meet with us.

By using for the beloved the word 'idol', he has also created the implication that the beloved herself may be stony-hearted and uninfluenceable to the nth degree, but the eyes of lustful people are harder than the beloved's heart. He's composed a peerless verse.

The zila of chashm / aa;Nkh / diidah and mardum [as 'pupil of the eye'] that is in this verse, so pleased Shah Nasir that he versified it again and again:

gardish-e diidah-e daryaa hai ((ayaa;N kishtii se
mardumaa;N aa;Nkh la;Raataa hai bah :tuufaa;N daryaa

[the rolling of the eye of the ocean is revealed through the boat
the ocean looks directly into the eye through the typhoon ]

And again:

;xaanah-e chashm us ke sab rahne kii ;xaa:tir chho;R do
diidah-o-daanistah u;T;Tho mardumaa;N bahr-e ;xudaa

[let everyone leave off plans to live in the chamber of her eye
clear-sightedly and deliberately, rise up, men, for the Lord's sake!]

And again:

be-ta.savvur yaar ke yuu;N chashm lagtii hai na.siir
kaasah-e ;xaalii ho jaise mardum-e saa))il ke haath

[without the vision of the beloved, the eye seems, Nasir
like an empty begging-bowl that would be in the hand of a man who begs]

One more point (to which the late Nisar Ahmad Faruqi has alluded) is that some people believe that stone too is vulnerable to the 'evil eye', and if a stone is gazed upon by the evil eye, then a crack appears in it. Mir based the theme on this belief, and in it created a new aspect; this is how 'theme-creation' should be done! Janab Shah Husain Nahri informs us that in his area (Aurangabad) it is said that if the evil eye gazes upon a stone, then even a stone splits. Thus it's possible that Mir might have obtained this theme (a proverb) from Dakani. In Mir's and Sauda's poetry, there are many Dakani words.



Why should a 'hungry-eyed' or lecherous gaze crack a stone? There's no poetic 'proof' of it in the verse itself, no causal agency-- and no motivation, because lecherous gazers seek to approach, not destroy, the object of their gaze. It seems arbitrary and ungrounded. Calling the beloved a (stone) idol makes for fine wordplay, but doesn't resolve this problem.

Fortunately, the existence of a pre-existing (Dakani?) proverb (about the evil eye having the power to crack stone) resolves it. It ensures that the idea of a gaze cracking a stone is grounded in something already established by common consent, rather than being arbitrarily decreed by the poet for the needs of one particular verse.