chalo chaman me;N jo dil khule ;Tuk baham ;Gam-e dil kahaa kare;Nge
:tayyuur hii se bakaa kare;Nge gulo;N ke aage bukaa kare;Nge

1) move on into the garden, so that the heart would open/bloom a bit-- we will always speak together of the grief of the heart
2) we will always babble with only/emphatically the birds; we will weep and wail before the roses



baknaa : 'To prate, chatter, jabber, babble; to rave; to indulge in obscene or ribald talk; to rail (at)'. (Platts p.160)


bukaa : 'Weeping, lamentation, wailing, complaint'. (Platts p.159)

S. R. Faruqi:

In this whole ghazal is an uncommon 'flowingness', a 'tumult-arousingness', and an extraordinary imperious melancholy. When reading it for the first time, one wants to put the whole entire ghazal (seven verses) into the intikhab. After further reflection three verses were removed; that is, the three initial verses and the closing-verse were retained. After some time, in the course of further reflection it seemed that I ought to take one verse more, so the third verse came into the intikhab. Some days after this, I removed the closing-verse and the verse before it. Finally when I was not content even with this, I restored the fourth verse. In this way the present shape of the ghazal emerged.

I've discussed this in such detail not only so that the reader would be helped to understand the method of making the intikhab, but also to clarify the way it's not proper to ignore any verse of Mir's because it apparently has no abundance of meaning. And it's also not proper to place any verse on a high level simply on the grounds that it pleases us. If pleasing us would be made the standard, then the greater part of Mir's poetry would be in the intikhab. But I needed an intikhab about which I could be confident not only that it contained verses of the highest level, but also that I would be able more or less to express the excellence of these verses.

That is, the real standard of the intikhab would not be personal taste, but rather an intellectually informed taste that had obtained the assistance of critical consciousness, of an almost complete understanding of the tradition of classical ghazal, and of an awareness of various methods of poetic analysis. Please also keep in mind Askari Sahib's saying that many of Mir's ghazals are such that they might not have a large number of high-level verses, but the whole ghazal itself seems to be entirely an intikhab.

Along with the present opening-verse, this opening-verse comes to mind:


And the very opposition between them suffices to make both opening-verses memorable. In {1341,1} simplicity and guilelessness, and the frightening bloodshed of passion, are in the forefront. The present opening-verse is from a time when the speaker has passed through every 'mood' of passion. And now there is either an indescribable madness, or a state of reticence and silence that is broken equally by meaningless jabbering or by sighing and lamentation-- as if the purpose is to break the silence, and for the breaking of silence both are equal.

For those ideas, the 'tajnis' of bakaa ( baknaa = to babble) and bukaa (=weeping and wailing) has provided further reinforcement, since between bakaa karnaa and bukaa karnaa there's apparently [in Urdu script] no difference at all.

It's also worth noting that the act of babbling is done before the birds, and the act of weeping and wailing is done before the roses. As though the singing of the birds is only gibberish and prattling. Or, the way the utterances of the birds are not understood, similarly the speaker too will say meaningless things. And since the rose is red (=drenched in blood) and has a torn-open liver, before the roses the speaker considers it more appropriate to stand and weep. Otherwise, even if bakaa and bukaa were reversed, the line would be metrical, but that 'affinity' would not come to hand.

In the first line there's also a subtle ambiguity. For jo dil khule ;Tuk can have two meanings: (1) if the heart would open; (2) so that the heart would open.

The 'tajnis' and ambiguity between khule and khile too is superb, for dil khilnaa and dil khulnaa are both idioms-- dil khilnaa means to be cheerful/flourishing, and dil khulnaa means 'for reticence to be banished' ([from the dictionary] urdu lu;Gat taarii;xii u.suul par ). The truth is that there's very little difference between the two meanings. Though indeed, dil khulnaa has additional meanings as well; for example, kisii se dil khulnaa means 'to become informal with someone, to form an attachment to someone' (this meaning is not in the urduu lu;Gat ).

In any case, here dil khilnaa and dil khulnaa are both appropriate. It seems that Mir, in order to pile up proofs of his mastery, considered it necessary that in the first line one word would be suspected of being two words that are have different short vowels but that mean almost the same thing. Then in the second line he would place two words that are written identically, but have different short vowels and different meanings.

Now let's consider the ambiguity of the addressee. (1) The speaker is conversing with himself. (2) The speaker is saying to some other heart-afflicted lover, 'Come along, we'll speak of our grief of heart together'. (In the light of the first meaning, baham ;Gam-e dil kahaa kare;Nge has reference to the birds and the roses.) (3) The speaker is speaking to some companion or confidant.



Unusually, for this ghazal SSA does not use the kulliyat order: it reverses the order of verses 3 and 4 (in my presentation of course the kulliyat order is used). A very probable reason for SSA's confusion of verse order is the complex, evolving selection process that SRF describes. He means for his description to be an account of his working method in general, but the process also seems to be unusually fraught in the case of this particular ghazal. SRF's quotation from Askari makes it clear that he considers this ghazal to belong to a special set of ghazals with a quality that he has elsewhere called 'musicalness'. For discussion, see {1589,1}.

The juxtaposition of the ambiguous possibilities of khule and khile in the first line, and above all of bakaa and bukaa in the second line, is a striking and adorable feature of the verse. The former case is really pretty common, because it's obviously easy to frame a line in which either choice would work well. Given the kind of Urdu orthography that prevailed in Mir's day, the question of which word was 'meant' must remain unresolvable (if indeed in this case the question has any meaning at all).

But the situation of the second line is, as SRF notes, just the reverse. Given the orthography of Mir's day, only context enables us to guess which of the two identical-looking words is bakaa and which is bukaa (for in fact, either one of them could be used in either place, or one of them could be used twice and the other not at all). But Mir does seem to signal us to differentiate them (that is, to recognize that two different words are being used). He does this by means of the hii . It hardly seems plausible that the speaker would do X 'only' or 'emphatically' with the birds, and then go on to do X before the roses. So once we've been prodded to separate the two words, it isn't hard to conclude that 'babbling' is a more suitable thing to do in the company of the noisy, chirping birds, while 'weeping and wailing' is more suited to the silent roses (which, unlike the birds, can always be stand-ins for the beloved).