guu;Ndh ke pattii gul kii goyaa vuh tarkiib banaa))ii hai
rang badan kaa tab dekho jab cholii bhiige pasiine me;N

1) having kneaded rose-leaves, so to speak, she/he/it has made that mixture/construction/device
2) look at the color of her body then-- when her blouse/'choli' would be wet with sweat



guu;Ndhnaa : 'To knead (dough); —to plait, braid; to plat, weave'. (Platts p.927)


tarkiib : 'Putting together, combining, mixing; setting (a stone); composition; compound; mixture; construction, structure, make, mechanism; form, fashion, mode, method, arrangement; means, plan, contrivance'. (Platts p.319)


cholii : 'A small jacket, a bodice; a waistcoat; body (of a gown or coat)'. (Platts p.453)

S. R. Faruqi:

He has composed a theme resembling this one in the third divan [{1292,7}]:

bah rang-e barg-e gul saath ek shaadaabii ke hotaa hai
((araq-chii;N bhiigtaa hai dil-baro;N ke jab pasiino;N se

[along with the color/style of a rose-petal, there is a verdure
when the handkerchief/'perspiration-collector' of the heart-stealers becomes wet with sweat]

But the way in the present verse the word cholii has delicate and erotic suggestions-- the word ((araq-chii;N is devoid of these subtleties, and makes the line heavy and formal. Then, in the present verse there's a mention of the color of the body, while {1292,7} refers to the colorfulness of a handkerchief. It's true that the theme of color dripping from the beloved's body is also extremely fine, but since it has been limited only to the handkerchief, the eroticness of the theme has become greatly diminished.

Mus'hafi has well said,

us ke badan se ;husn ;Tapaktaa nahii;N to phir
lab-rez-e aab-o-rang hai kyuu;N pairahan tamaam

[if beauty doesn't drip from her body, then
why is her whole robe brimful of water/radiance and color?]

In the present verse the sensual, visual, and emotional suggestions are devastating. Because of sweat, delicate fabric sticks to the body here and there. In this way here and there the shape of a rose petal can be seen. Now the second meaning of the word rang becomes clear-- that it's not only in the sense of 'color', but also with the sense of 'mood'. That is, the 'mood' of her body, its beauty-- look at it then, when the blouse would be wet and would stick to her body here and there.

In both lines, the insha'iyah style too is very fine. In the second line especially, there's praise, astonishment, and also a kind of glorying in the beloved's beauty-- that our beloved is so very beautiful! Then, it's also been given in its expression a kind of proverb-like aspect: if you want to get the proper pleasure from the color of a body, look at it when the blouse would be wet with sweat.

Since he hasn't made clear why the sweat appears, Mir has created many kinds of sexual and other possible events, and has made the verse extremely eloquent:

(1) The sweat is due to sexual activities. For example, here are two of Mir's own verses. From the fifth divan:


From the fourth divan [{1375,5}]:

jo ((araq ta;hriik me;N us rashk-e mah ke mu;Nh pah hai
miir kab hove hai;N garm-jalvah taare us :tara;h

[the sweat that, in movement, is on the face of that envy of the moon
Mir, when are the stars 'hot' for radiance/appearance in that way?]

(2) The sweat is due to swift movement. (This is suggested too in {1375,5}.)

(3) It is due to shame.

(4) The cause of the sweat is the intensity of affection/intimacy.

(5) Because of some household task (for example, work in the kitchen, or any labor in the house) she has become sweaty. In this last case, the beloved is some domestic-minded girl, or a wife, and the speaker is traversing the stages toward complete familiarity with her.

In every case, the delicacy and immediacy of the image remain established.

To see the beloved naked, and also not to see her; or to see the beloved naked despite her being clothed-- this is Mir's special style. And even within this special style, this verse stands out, and is a masterpiece. In the first line the word tarkiib deserves attention, for this tarkiib can apply to various limbs of the beloved's body, or to that work-of-art rose leaf that has become visible since her sweat-soaked clothing has adhered to her body. In both cases, the clothing itself is doing the work of nakedness.

How difficult it is to maintain the theme of sweat, can be guessed from this verse of Nazir Akbarabadi's:

saraapaa motiyo;N kaa phir to ik guchchhaa vuh hotii hai
kih kuchh vuh ;xushk motii kuchh pasiine ke vuh tar motii

[from head to foot, she is, then, a single cluster of pearls
for some of them are dry pearls, some wet pearls of sweat]

Despite mentioning so much detail, the image has not been able to be created-- to mention dry pearls and wet pearls, and to call the beloved a cluster of pearls, causes not a vision not of the beloved's beauty but of the marks of smallpox.

[See also {584,3}.]



What is the nature of the tarkiib ? Is it her body itself that's a 'device' for entrapping the poor lover? Is it the thin fabric of her clothing that's a 'device' for, as SRF says, making clothing do the work of nakedness? The word tarkiib strongly suggests agency, planning, deliberate choice or even scheming (see the definition above). But who has made or contrived this 'device'-- the beloved herself? Nature? God? As so often, we're left to decide for ourselves.

The idea that someone has, so to speak, 'kneaded' rose-leaves to make her flesh adds to the erotic vision presented in the verse. Of course, guu;Ndhnaa can also refer to 'braiding' or 'weaving' (see the definition above), but the primary meaning has to do with kneading dough, and that's much the most juicy and tactile vision.

Nowadays 'choli' refers to the kind of blouse that is worn with a sari (or maybe with a long Rajasthani skirt). But notice the definition above, which is much broader. It would be a mistake to decide that the beloved is (imagined as) wearing a sari or a Rajasthani skirt. We really can't tell what she's wearing, except that it's made of only one layer of very fine fabric, so that when it's wet the color of her skin can show through.