((ishq kii hai biimaarii ham ko dil apnaa sab dard hu))aa
rang-e badan mayyit ke rango;N jiite-jii hii pah zard hu))aa

1) we have the disease/sickness of passion; our heart became entirely pain,
2) the color of the body, like a corpse, only/emphatically at the time of living, became pallid/wan



mayyit : 'Dead; —A dead body, a corpse'. (Platts p.1103)

S. R. Faruqi:

There's an affinity between the whole entire heart becoming 'pain', and the 'disease' of passion. In 'we have the disease/sickness of passion' there's also an implication that this disease has arisen of its own accord. For example, they say fulaa;N ko diqq kii biimaarii hai [=a fever]. Consider also that the expression biimaarii hai is not used for ordinary everyday little illnesses; for example, they don't say fulaa;N ko zukaam kii biimaarii hai or fulaa;N ko bad-ha.zmii kii biimaarii hai [=a cold, or indigestion].

The expression biimaarii hai is used for some severe disease, or again for some chronic disease, or again to express something in simple language. For example: (1) fulaa;N ko chhii;Nk aane kii biimaarii hai [=sneezing]. (2) fulaa;N ko pe;T kii biimaarii hai [=stomach trouble]. (3) fulaa;N ko ga;Thiyaa kii biimaarii hai [=rheumatism]. If instead of biimaarii they had said mar.z , then this effect would not have been attained.

By mayyit ke rango;N is meant 'like a corpse', but it also has an affinity with a yellow/pallid color. Through the use of the word mayyit the implication has also been achieved that the culmination of this disease is death. It's a great verse of 'mood' [kaifiyat]. In the tone there's a style like that of some hopelessly sick person, but the mention of the 'disease of passion' is not without dignity.

The image of the corpse-like color he has used in the first divan as well, but the same effect has not come into it [{259,10}]:

dikhaa))ii de;Nge ham mayyit ke rango;N
agar rah jaa))e;Nge jiite sa;har tak

[we will appear like a corpse,
if we remain living till the dawn]

In the fifth divan there's a mention of the corpse-like color, but the first line, in which this image appears, has remained extremely loose. Although indeed, the second line is excellent [{1553,2}]:

jiite-jii mayyit ke rango;N log mujhe ab paate hai;N
josh-e bahaar-e ((ishq me;N ya((nii sar taa paa mai;N zard hu))aa

[while I'm alive, people now find me with a corpse-like color,
in the tumult of the springtime of passion, that is, from head to foot I became pale/wan/'yellow']

[See also {1494,3}.]



Here's Ghalib's take on the lover's color becoming zard :


For them both, as so often, it's chiefly wordplay that energizes the verse. Ghalib's rang u;Rnaa and Mir's mayyit ke rango;N both feel like the starting points, the seeds, from which the verses grew. Yet we feel that their 'styles' are so different-- but do we really have the vocabulary with which to capture and analyze this difference? People throw around words like 'style', but it proves very difficult to make systematic, thoughtful use of them. It's like 'time'-- we all know what it is, until we actually undertake to describe it.