ik nuur garm-e jalvah falak par hai har sa;har
ko))ii to maah-paarah hai miir us rivaaq me;N

1) a single/particular/unique/excellent light, eager/'hot' in radiance, is in the sky at every dawn
2) no doubt some moon-fragment, Mir, is in that pavilion/gallery



garm : 'Hot, warm; in a state of heat; burning; glowing: fervid; ardent, zealous, fervent; excited; eager, intent on; fiery, choleric, virulent'. (Platts p.904)


jalvah : 'Manifestation, publicity, conspicuousness; splendour, lustre, effulgence'. (Platts p.387)


to : 'conj. (correl. to agar , jo , jab ) & adv. Therefore, then, in that case; at any rate, at least; at that time; moreover; that; also; for; —yes, well! —(as a particle of asseveration or emphasis) indeed, actually, in point of fact; forsooth; just'. (Platts p.341)


rivaaq : 'A tent or canopy supported on one pole in the middle thereof; a curtain stretched like a canopy before a tent or the door of a house; a roof in the front of a tent or a house, a portico, porch; a gallery in front of a house; a lofty building resting on columns'. (Platts p.602)

S. R. Faruqi:

rivaaq = a palace, a chamber

Mannu Lal Safa, a pupil of Mus'hafi, has very enjoyably composed a theme resembling this one:

char;x ko kab yih saliiqah hai sitam-gaarii me;N
ko))ii ma((shuuq hai is pardah-e zangaarii me;N

[since when does the sky have such skill in tyranny-doing?
there's some beloved within this verdigris-colored veil]

But in Mir's verse, the aspects of meaning are numerous, and in both lines the imagery too is fine. The provision of affinities too is very subtle and enjoyable. There's nuur , garm , jalvah , maah-paarah . Then there's the opposition between sa;har and maah .

In the first line, the arrangement of words is such that we can read it in two ways:

(1) ik nuur garm-e jalvah falak par hai har sa;har

(2) ik nuur-e garm-jalvah falak par hai har sa;har

In the light of the first reading, the meaning becomes that in the sky at every dawn a light is absorbed (hot) in showing its radiance. In the light of the second reading, the meaning becomes that in the sky at every dawn there is such a light that its radiance is hot (that is, enjoyable and pleasing and illuminating).

In the second line, the word to is very excellent; and the insistence is also fine that one or another beloved, one or another beautiful one, will certainly be in that chamber. It might be some Houri, it might be some Pari, it might be a human, or it might be the radiance of the Divine Beauty itself. To declare the light of dawn to imply that there's certainly some beautiful one in the sky, is a very fine theme. The point is also fine, that the light of the dawn (that is, the sun) is proof of the presence of some 'moon-fragment'.

In comparison to this, Josh Sahib's theme is pallid and his style patronizing:

ham aise ahl-e na:zar ko ;subuut-e ;haq ke li))e
agar rasuul nah hote to .sub;h kaafii thii

[to people of insight like us, for proof of the Truth,
if the Prophet had not existed, then the dawn would have been sufficient]

In the first divan, Mir has construed the radiance of dawn as fire, but there, in addition to 'theme-creation', the tone of 'thought-binding' has also entered in [{472,2}]:

gor kis dil-jale kii hai yih falak
shu((lah ik .sub;h yaa;N se u;Tthaa hai

[of which heart-burned one is it the grave, this sky?
a single flame, at dawn, arises from here]

By 'thought-binding' is meant, to leave the normality of the theme and be far from it, and to base the verse on a kind of similitude (=metaphor) that would itself be in need of a proof. Or again, to versify a kind of theme that would be apart from the customary set/sequence of themes but that, despite this novelty/rareness, would not have the strength to be able to enter into the customary set/sequence-- or even if it wasn't able to enter into it, to be not entirely strange to it.

It should be kept in mind that in the words of Michel Riffaterre, a theme can be called a 'submerged matrix'. The thing that is apparently mentioned in the verse is, so to speak, a single glimmer of this submerged matrix, for which the words of the verse act as a setting/scene.



SRF singles out for praise the little word to in the second line, but doesn't explain the nature of its excellence. This isn't surprising, because even in Urdu its range of colloquial effects can be hard to describe. It of course has a formal grammatical use as equivalent to tab , so that it is used as part of 'when-then' [jab-tab] constructions (standing in for tab ), and 'if-then' [agar-to] constructions as well. But from there, no doubt partly by extension, it goes careening off into colloquial speech and often acts as the kind of interjection that I always want to call a 'sentence re-balancer'. Just take a look at Platts's definition, given above-- 'therefore, then, in that case; at any rate, at least; at that time; moreover; that; also; for; —yes, well! — ... indeed, actually, in point of fact; forsooth; just' are all part of the range of its uses.

In the present verse, I've translated to as 'no doubt', because it seems to me that it's establishing a kind of explanatory probability. While ko))ii maah-paarah hai would be a flat assertion of fact ('there is some moon-fragment'), ko))ii to maah-paarah hai conveys in context a feeling of deduction ('there is, then, some moon-fragment' is only a literal rendering). Even though the first line doesn't present itself as a logical premise, the to gives us the feeling that it's being used as one. The information in the first line leads the speaker to the conclusion in the second line. But what information? Is it the uniqueness (established by ek ), or the heat, or the radiance, or the celestial dwelling, or the eager daily and day-long omni-vision, that so evokes the beloved? As befits a brilliant and garm-e jalvah poet, Mir leaves us to decide for ourselves.

Note for translation fans: It's intriguing that to shares so much with 'then' in English, which has a similarly formal grammatical use ('when-then', 'if-then') that also extends much farther into colloquial registers. Consider 'Come along, then', or 'Now then, behave yourself!', or 'But then, he does his best', or 'So then, is that all?'. I often try to reflect this in translation, with only limited success. Similarly, consider the colloquial (sentence-rebalancing) similarities of so to 'so', and ;xair to 'well'. By contrast, beyond 'even/also', bhii goes off in directions that have no English counterparts; and hii has no real English equivalent at all.