aa;Nkho;N kaa jha;R barasne se hathyaa ke kam nahii;N
pal maarte hai pesh-e na:zar haathii kaa ;Dubaa))o

1) the flood of the eyes is not less than the 'raining of Hathya'
2) in the blink of an eye, before the gaze is 'the drowning of an elephant'



pal : 'The eyelid; a moment'. (Platts p.266)


pal maarte : 'In the twinkling of an eye, instantly, immediately'. (Platts p.266)

S. R. Faruqi:

The word hathyaa is the name of a lunar mansion [nakshatra] of the month of the rainy season, in which it rains a great deal. Thus when it rains heavily and continuously, people say hathyaa baras rahii hai . Where water is deep and ample, people say of it haathii ;Dubaa))o paanii hai . Between hathyaa and haathii kaa ;Dubaa))o is an interesting wordplay.

Through this verse it's proved once again that in the classical ghazal the mention of weeping and wailing was more a dialectic matter of 'theme-creation' than an expression of reality. And it's also proved once again that no matter what kind of theme there might be, Mir never failed to include wordplay. Through this means, depth of meaning is of course created in the verse; cheerfulness too comes into the theme. And it's also revealed that before piteousness, despair and longing, or any emotion, one ought in the ghazal to keep the aspect of 'theme-creation' in view. When 'piteous' verses fail, that is in reality a failure of theme.

Consider the additional wordplay: aa;Nkho;N , pesh-e na:zar , aa;Nkho;N , pal . The meaning of the word pal has been given in the urdu lu;Gat taarii;xii u.suul par (Taraqqi Urdu Board, Karachi) as 'a short form of palak ['moment']'. Platts has given its meaning as 'the eyelid'. In both cases, the wordplay about eyes is obvious. And while we're on the subject, Platts has given the correct meaning, and the urdu lu;Gat has given an erroneous one. For palak is Persian, and in Persian it has no diminutive in general use, neither pal nor any other word. Rather, if it's necessary to assume a diminutive, then we have to consider palak to be a diminutive of pal , since in Persian the addition of kaaf is used as a diminutive.

Nasikh has taken advantage of Mir's verse and composed his own, but he didn't get his hands [haath] on hathyaa and haathii kaa ;Dubaa))o :

aise mirii mizhah ke hai;N baadal bhare hu))e
pal maarte me;N dekhe hai;N jal-thal bhare hu))e

[the clouds of my eyelashes are so filled
in the blink of an eye, if you look, lakes are filled]

Finally, reflect on the way Mir did not say 'flood of tears', he said 'flood of the eyes'. In this way a metaphor has been created, and also an affinity with the clouds, because both the eye and the cloud are black and wet.



This ghazal and the previous one, {1236}, form a 'double-ghazal'. For further discussion, see {1236,1}.

This verse also serves to further discredit (if any further discreditation is needed) the Azadian 'natural poetry' view that Mir simply wept and suffered, disdaining the 'artificial' device of wordplay. For this verse has absolutely nothing going on in it except wordplay, and that wordplay is of a most obtrusive, ostentatious kind. He's got it, and he flaunts it. And why not? For a poem something like seventeen words long, the resonance of hathyaa and haathii is a quite sufficient little pleasure; in 'mushairah-verse' style, the punch-phrase has been withheld to the last possible moment.

The use of pal maarte is an additional pleasure, since it's a conventional phrase like 'in the blink of an eye' in English. That's how we first read it, as a metaphor of instantaneousness, and as such it works well. But then in the context of the whole verse we realize that its literal sense it is even more enjoyable: when the speaker blinks, such huge quantities of water flood out from his eyes that 'before his eyes' they would drown an elephant. This vision of the speaker as watching a helplessly flailing elephant carried off in a sudden tear-flood strikes me as quite funny, but I can't think of any way to demonstrate that Mir did (or didn't) mean it that way.