kab tak dil ke ;Tuk;Re jo;Ruu;N miir jigar ke la;xto;N se
kasb nahii;N hai paarah-dozii mai;N ko))ii va.s.saal nahii;N

1) for how long would I join the fragments of the heart, Mir, with pieces of the liver?
2) my profession is not fabric-repairing; I am not some book-binder!



kasb : 'Acquirement, acquisition (by labour), earning, gain; industry, employment, occupation, trade, profession, handicraft; art, skill'. (Platts p.833)


paarah-doz : 'Patcher, botcher; cobbler, one who applies the leather parts in tents, screens, &c.'. (Platts p.217)

S. R. Faruqi:

kasb = profession
paarah-dozii = to repair old torn fabrics, tents, etc.
va.s.saal = a book-binder

A characteristic of the heart is that even if it should receive a scratch or some light wound, it can work its own cure-- if it's not under too much pressure. The liver too has this characteristic: to a great extent, even if it's injured it can heal itself. Here, the theme is that the heart has fallen into fragments, now it has no power to heal itself. Thus in order to join its fragments together, fragments of the liver are being pressed into service. The idea emerges that the liver too is in pieces. If he uses pieces of the liver to repair the heart, then how will the liver itself be repaired? The insha'iyah structure of the line too is excellent, because it also suggests the vexation of continually (and probably uselessly) piece-patching.

A paarah-doz is a person who joins together fragments of old torn cloth and makes them useful. A tent-repairer too is called paarah-doz . Since tents are often made of leather, in calling the joiner of heart and liver fragments a paarah-doz has even more affinity. In the second line, in addition to vexation, there's a 'mood' of neediness and also a light touch of sarcasm. I'm no paarah-doz , I'm no va.s.saal ! The lover's profession is one thing, the profession of the paarah-doz and va.s.saal is another. What kind of thing is this, that a lover should be expected to do things that are not his profession?!

Since paarah-doz is a rarely-used word, it's fresh. Then, the fragments of the heart and liver are called paarah ; this makes paarah-dozii even more full of affinity. And va.s.saal , meaning 'book-binder', is an extremely superb word. It doesn't appear in any dictionary. Farid Ahmad Barkati, on the authority of Asi, records its meaning. Steingass has certainly given va.s.saal with the meaning of 'book-maker'. Since the thirty chapters of the Qur'an are called paarah , there's also an affinity among jigar paarah , paarah-dozii , va.s.saal . The original meaning of va.sl too is 'joining, connection'. In this way there's also an affinity between paarah-dozii and va.s.saal (meaning 'joiner, connecter').

Amir Mina'i has taken the theme of paarah-dozii directly from Mir. But he didn't have the courage to play with the word va.s.saal :

paarah-dozii kii dukaa;N hai kih miraa siinah hai
har :taraf ;Dher hai;N dil aur jigar ke ;Tuk;Re

[is it a fabric-repairing shop, or is it my breast?
in every direction are heaps of heart and liver fragments]

The structure of Amir Mina'i's second line is not very excellent; and then, his theme too has remained inferior to Mir's.

Mir himself versified the word va.s.saal in the third divan as well, but it wasn't able to become fully balanced [{1229,2}]:

dil-e .sad-paarah ko paivand kartaa huu;N judaa))ii me;N
kare hai kuhnah nus;xah va.sl juu;N va.s.saal mat puuchho

[I patch together the hundred-fragmented heart, in separation
the way a book-binder joins an old manuscript-- don't ask!]

It's apparent that sometimes the second version [=the present verse] truly becomes better than the first version [{1229,2}]. In {1229,2}, the words are not in proportion to the meaning.

In one of Qa'im's verses, the word paarah-dozii has been used better than in Amir Mina'i's verse, but it's not equal to the present verse of Mir's:

aayaa huu;N paarah-dozii-e dil se nipa;T bah tang
aise pha;Te hu))e ko mai;N kab tak rafuu karuu;N

[from the fabric-repairing of the heart, I have become entirely vexed
such a torn-up thing-- how long would I go on mending it?!]



The first line is of course insha'iyah. Technically the second line is not insha'iyah: it makes two flat statements of fact. And yet how insha'iyah it feels, like an exclamation, full of emotion rather than information. For the nature of the declarative sentences shows that they're not chiefly designed to give information. For one thing, they're negative, and people rarely give unhelpful lists of all the things they're not, unless their intention is rhetorical rather than factual. And since the ghazal world does not in any case invite rational professional behavior, we readily take the line as emotional rather than informational.

The obvious reading is an indignant one-- the lover finds it somehow insulting, somehow demeaning, that he should (have to) do the work of some relatively lowly artisan, rather than his own proper work (of lover-ship? of dying quickly? of composing verses?). He is impatient-- how long can he be expected to tolerate this demeaning pursuit of heart-liver patchwork? It would be better to just stop, and elegantly die.

There could be another reading too-- a despairing cri de coeur. Alas, the lover's heart and liver are collapsing into shreds, and he can't seem to fix them! He doesn't have the skills, the techniques, that a professional would be able to use. What can he do? He's no expert! How long can he stave off total collapse?

And of course, va.s.saal not only shares a root ( va.sl ) with vi.saal , romantic and erotic 'union', but has a related meaning (a book-binder brings separate pages together). And the lack or failure of such 'bringing together' of lover and beloved is what has caused the fragmentation problems in the first place. It's no accident that a doubly enjoyable word like va.s.saal has been used as the rhyme-word, and has thus been given pride of place.