tark-e libaas se mere use kyaa vuh raftah ra((naa))ii kaa
jaame kaa daaman paa))o;N me;N uljhaa haath aa;Nchal iklaa))ii kaa

1) as for my abandonment of clothing, what does she care? --she is absorbed in graceful-movement
2) the hem of her robe is entangled with/'in' her foot; her hand, [with/'in'] the embroidered-fabric border



ra((naa))ii : 'Gracefulness of motion, graceful gait; grace, loveliness, beauty'. (Platts p.595)


aa;Nchal : 'The border or hem of a cloak, veil, shawl, or mantle; a kind of sheet or wrapper'. (Platts p.89)


iklaa))ii : 'Singleness; loneliness; —a sheet of one breadth (generally laced)'. (Platts p.66)

S. R. Faruqi:

raftah = absorbed
jaamah = a long full-skirted dress-like robe
iklaa))ii = embroidered fabric

By haath aa;Nchal is meant haath me;N aa;Nchal . And iklaa))ii is an embroidered fabric, sold in lengths, from which dupattahs, kurtas, etc. are made. It's clear that here a dupattah made of iklaa))ii is intended. In the whole line, how attractive is the aspect of movement, and how homey and realistic is the scene! For jaamah was a kind of 'formal dress' that was worn for weddings and other such special occasions. Thus the girl wearing a jaamah is in the full flower of her youth. From her swift movement as she comes and goes here and there, the border of the jaamah becomes entangled again and again with her foot. With one hand, she's holding up her embroidered dupattah. In the house there's a scene of hustle and bustle. There are preparations for the wedding, or her girlfriends keep on arriving.

The girl is absorbed in graceful movement, the graceful movement that is in her body, but that her clothing both hides and makes manifest. Seeing the girl in her colorfully adorned clothing, the mind is at once drawn to her body-- this is what the earlier generation of people felt. Allusions to this are common in Mir's poetry.

Perhaps Khusrau has composed [in Persian] the most mischievous verse on this theme:

'If the spirit of Hazrat Yusuf has not come to this side of nonbeing,
Then what was that body that I saw beneath her robe?'

Thus the relationship of 'graceful-movement' is with the girl's robe, as far as the girl is concerned. But as far as the speaker is concerned, the relationship is with both the robe and the body beneath the robe. But the second line, despite all its beauty, would not be entirely effective if the ground had not been able to be prepared for mention of the robe.

With complete dexterity Mir has, by mentioning his 'abandonment of clothing' (that is, madness and nakedness), prepared the ground. In his being naked and the beloved being clothed there is the additional pleasure of 'opposition', and the sexual suggestions of nakedness are enhanced. It's a complex verse, and devastating.

The theme of embroidery and border, Muhammad Aman Nisar too has well versified, but without the complexity of Mir's verse. Although the image is indeed very beautiful:

chhup nah sakegaa baadah-e gul-guu;N jaise bharaa ho shiishe me;N
mu;Nh nah chhupaa kar ham se bai;Tho aa;Nchal me;N iklaa))ii ke

[the way rose-colored wine will not be able to be hidden in a full glass
sit, not hiding your face from us in the embroidered-fabric border]

In connection with this kind of images, see Mir's opening-verse in the second divan:


[See also {383,7}; {1039,5}; {1123,5}; {1185,1}.]



Note for grammar fans: The omission of me;N in the second line is worth noticing. No doubt Mir feels that he can omit it because it's (implicitly) part of a second clause that is meant to be parallel to the first clause in the line, which does contain its own me;N . But if we hadn't intuited that (or had SRF to point it out), it's easy to imagine that in this or some other case we could have found the grammar absolutely impenetrable-- especially since haath is unmarked, so there's absolutely no grammatical trace of the missing postposition. The possibility of this kind of thing just adds to the repertoire of interpretive tools that we need to carry with us into the Mirian world. These tiny little poems can be the hardest things in the world to interpret.