rahaa phuul saa yaar nuz'hat se ab tak
nah aisaa khilaa gul nazaakat se ab tak

1) the beloved, like a flower, remained in distance/purity/freshness/pleasantness up to now
2) no such rose bloomed with delicacy/elegance up to now



nuz'hat : 'Distance; —spotless purity; integrity; —pleasantness (of a place); verdure, freshness; —pleasure, delight, joy, cheerfulness; ornament'. (Platts p.1136)


nazaakat : 'Softness, tenderness; —delicacy; neatness; elegance; politeness'. (Platts p.1136)

S. R. Faruqi:

To call the beloved a flower, and then to give for this the proof of nuz'hat , is a miracle of expression. For nuz'hat is a multiply meaningful word, and every meaning is suitable for the beloved. One meaning is 'distance', and from that meaning have grown 'purity,' 'to be entirely unsmirched', 'to be entirely without stain'-- because the person who remains far off will also remain undefiled and pure as well. The beloved, like a flower, remained fresh and dewey and beautiful-- because she was pure and flawless, and she remained quite far from people. Thus she remained free and clear from bodily defilement. Her purity remained the guarantor of her beauty.

Then, another meaning of nuz'hat is 'freshness and dewiness'. Thus the meaning emerges that the beloved's beauty was so flourishing, the springtime of her youthful prime was so ebullient, that the beloved always remained blooming like a flower, no autumn ever came upon her.

Then, nuz'hat also means 'pleasure and delight'; and the term is used to describe places for strolling and recreation. So now the meaning becomes that the beloved's body is so delightful that despite intimacy and connection or the passing of time, even now it is heart-delighting and pleasure-giving like a flower. That is, on this reading the sensuous and physical aspect of the beloved's beauty is more evident.

Now please look at the second line. Between nazaakat and nuz'hat there seems to be the device of 'doubt about derivation'. That is, both words seem to come from the same family; but in reality nazaakat is a contrived [gha;Raa hu))aa] word: Urdu and Persian users have treated naazuk (which is Persian) in an Arabic grammatical style. Then, nazaakat is usually taken in the sense of 'to be naazuk '. But it's also used in the sense of 'subtlety' and 'elegance' [for which examples are given]. And it's this meaning that's more useful for our purposes in the present verse.

The idea is that flowers after all keep on blooming; but up to the present no flower of such naazakat as our beloved has bloomed. That is, this is a universal statement. Another aspect is that the flower has tried very hard, but it wasn't able to bloom with the nazaakat of the beloved; this is a particular statement. That is, in the light of the first reading there's an account of all the flowers; and in the light of the second reading, of some one flower. The universality nevertheless remains, because even one flower is a symbol of all flowers.



In the first line, do we read phuul saa as an adjective ('the flower-like beloved remained in [a state of] nuz'hat '), or as a predicative adjective ('the beloved remained flower-like, by means of nuz'hat ')? And in the second line, do we read aisaa as an adjective ('no such rose bloomed'), or as an adverb ('no rose bloomed in such a way')? Such multiple grammatical possibilities I call, for want of a better name, 'midpoints'; by no coincidence, they remain unresolvable, and they all work excellently with each other in the context of the verse. Mir loves to create them.

Note for translation fans: It's hard to avoid, in English, the primary reading of 'X never happened, until now' as implying that X has just now happened. That's why I go for 'up to now', which isn't much of an improvement but at least destabilizes the 'until now' effect. In the Urdu, the grammar much more strongly suggests that X has still not happened. This is the kind of thing that drives careful translators crazy. Less careful translators never notice such possibilities at all. So if you read much Urdu in translation, watch out for the many pitfalls of tak vs. 'until'. For more on this kind of thing, see my Urdu script/grammar notes *19,1*.