gul kii to buu se ;Gash nahii;N aataa kisuu ke ta))ii;N
hai farq miir phuul kii aur us kii buu ke biich

1) from the scent of the rose, well, nobody faints
2) there/this is a difference, Mir, between a flower's scent and hers



S. R. Faruqi:





The verse's implicative style is very fine. He hasn't said that upon smelling the beloved's scene, one faints. He also hasn't said that the beloved's scent is more delicate than that of a flower, or sharper, or better. He has only said that no one faints from the scent of a flower; enough, this is the difference between a flower's scent and hers.

Here us has been used most excellently, because the rose too is used as a metaphor for the beloved. That is, one beloved is the 'rose', from whose scent no one faints. And one beloved is vuh , from whose scent one faints. To faint upon smelling the scent of the beloved is also an excellent 'conceit' [;xayaal-aafiriinii].



The beginning of the second line can be read either autonomously as 'There is a difference...', or in conjunction with the first line as 'This is a difference...'. The former reading might be a reply to someone claiming that the scent of the beloved was exactly that of a rose; the latter reading might be part of a thoughtful exploration of the difference(s) between the two scents. It doesn't make a huge change in the reading, but it's proper for us to keep our analytical tools sharpened.

Note for translation fans: That colloquial little to is such an effective sentence-rebalancer, and so impossible to translate! Here I've gone for 'well', which acts as a sentence rebalancer in English. It doesn't make me entirely happy, but leaving it out doesn't make me happy either. Elsewhere I've tried 'after all' or the like; of course, nothing entirely works.

Further note for translation fans: We could say in English either 'a difference' or 'the difference'. In fact the two are pretty different! The former is one among indefinitely many; the latter is one and unique. In the present verse we have to choose one or the other, without guidance from the Urdu. In this kind of cleft-stick situation I usually choose the more flexible and multivalent of the English possibilities. A similar case in Urdu might be the two senses of bhii : 'also' (one among indefinitely many) or 'even' (one in an extreme class by itself). My solution to this latter problem, as you may have noticed, is to keep both; the result is extremely clunky, but who cares? I'm not after beautiful English, I'm after the best possible access to the Urdu.