rang havaa se yuu;N ;Tapke hai jaise sharaab chuvaate hai;N
aage ho mai-;xaane ke niklo ((ahd-e baadah-gusaaraa;N hai

1) color/style drips from the air {casually / 'like this'}, the way they distil wine
2) come out in front of the wine-house-- it's the mandate/vow/season/reign of the wine-drinkers



chuvaanaa : 'To cause to drop or drip, to distil, filter, draw off, drain'. (Platts p.447)


aage : 'Before, in front, in the presence of, confronting, facing, opposite, in view, in sight; in the time or reign; in advance; foremost; fore, beyond, onward, further, further on, furthermore, more than this; in future, hereafter, henceforth; again; for the future; next in time or place, then, afterwards; thereupon, after that; formerly, in former times; already'. (Platts p.72)


((ahd : 'Injunction, charge, mandate; will, testament; —compact, contract, covenant, agreement, engagement, obligation, promise; bond, league, treaty; —a vow, an oath; —time, season, conjuncture;  lifetime; reign (of a king)'. (Platts pp. 766-67)

S. R. Faruqi:

Here too [as in {1504,1}] Nazir's rainy season comes to mind:

aur jis .sanam ke tan me;N jo;Raa hai za((fraanii
gulnaar yaa gulaabii yaa zard sur;x dhaanii
kuchh ;husn kii cha;Rhaa))ii aur kuchh na))ii javaanii
jhuule me;N jhuultii hai;N uupar pa;Re hai paanii
-- kyaa kyaa machii hai;N yaaro;N barsaat kii bahaare;N

[and the idol on whose body is a saffron-colored outfit
pomegranate or rose or yellow, red, light-green
somewhat the ascendancy of beauty, and somewhat new youthfulness
in a swing, they swing; above, water/rain falls
-- how the springtimes of the rainy season, oh friends, have been stirred up!]

In Nazir's verse, everything is on the surface, while in Mir's verse (despite an apparent simplicity) there are very great depths. It's a verse in Mir's special style, such that it seems very easy, but after a bit of reflection some difficulties confront us. For example, what are the meanings of these idioms (or perhaps metaphors)-- (1) havaa se rang ;Tapaknaa , and (2) mai-;xaane ke aage honaa ? Or again, should we read it as mai-;xaane ke aage ho ( kar ) nikalnaa ? Or should we assume aage to mean 'in front of'? Should we take ((ahd to mean 'season, era', or 'fixed resolve'?

First of all let's consider rang ;Tapaknaa . In Persian, all the meanings of rang re;xtan are dependent upon re;xtan . [A discussion of the possible meanings of rang re;xtan , 'for color to scatter', in Persian.] Before Mir, rang ;Tapaknaa is not found. It's probable that Mir would have constructed it on the example of rang re;xtan . The interesting thing is that in Urdu the meanings of rang ;Tapaknaa became more metaphorical than the meanings of rang re;xtan . That is, in addition to 'for drops of color to fall', several new meanings were created-- for example, for color to be glistening, glittering, radiant; for colot to be apparent (from the [dictionary of idioms] ma;xzan ul-mu;haavaraat by Chiranji Lal Dihlavi). [Further discussion of dictionary entries.]

Now consider the following verses. From the first divan [{189,4}]:

saaqii ;Tuk ek mausam-e gul kii :taraf bhii dekh
;Tapkaa pa;Re hai rang chaman me;N havaa se aaj

[Saqi, just take a single look toward even/also the rose-season
in the garden, color always drips from the air, today]

A verse by Mus'hafi:

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

[if color does not drip from her body, then
why is the whole robe brimful of water/luster and color?]

A verse by Atish:

mi;sl-e shafaq-e char;x vuh but aa))e lab-e baam
rang-e a;sar us naalah-e shab-giir se ;Tapke

[like the redness of the sky, that idol came to the edge of the roof
the colors of effect dripped from that nightingale's lament]

In these verses rang ;Tapaknaa has been used according to the Urdu idiom, and with more or less all the meanings that I have mentioned above. [Discussion of why the Persian meanings are not relevant in these verses.]

In both {189,4} and the present verse, there's the mention of color dripping from the air. Mir was very fond of this image, and he used it in several places with great power and beauty. From the fourth divan:


From the second divan [{675,2}]:

hai abr kii chaadar shafaqii josh se gul ke
mai-;xaane ke haa;N dekhiye yih rang havaa kaa

[the shawl of the cloud is red-colored from the ebullience of the rose
in the wine-house, look at this color of the air/desire]

From the fourth divan [{1313,5}]:

gul phuul fa.sl-e gul me;N .sad rang hai;N shiguftah
mai;N dil-zadah huu;N ab kii rangiinii-e havaa kaa

[roses, flowers, in the rose-season, have bloomed in a hundred colors
I am heart-stricken, this time, by the colorfulness of air/desire]

From this continuing mixture of 'color' and 'air', two ideas come to mind. One is from this [Persian] verse of Bedil's:

'In this garden with colors that are founded [rangash re;xtand] on conversation, Bedil,
Hearing is seeing, and seeing is hearing.'

In the light of this verse, to see and to hear are the same thing ( shuniidan , 'to hear', also means 'to smell'; thus in the light of this meaning to see and to smell are the same thing). Thus the thought occurs that in Mir's verses, along with seeing, the effect of smelling, or of relishing, is also present. In the present verse especially, this 'conflation' of the senses is entirely clear-- for 'color' has been given the simile of wine.

The second point is that Mir probably felt that because the light varies at different times, one single thing seems at different times to look changed. That is, in Mir's verse havaa me;N rang might refer to the various effects of light. The abundance of flowers, the color of the clouds, the twilight/redness or sun behind the clouds-- all these affect the light, and with the variation in light the colors of things too change in one way or another.

Then, the light varies in different places. For example, the color of light on the mountains is different from the color of light on the plains; the light in the north is different from the light in the south. In painting and photography, the first person in the West to feel the importance of the character of light was Monet, who in Western painting is considered the founder of Impressionism. [A discussion of the emphasis placed on light by Monet and Klee.]

Mir had a special attachment to colors; this we have already seen-- consider




and so on. Thus it's not strange that he would have perceived the varied colors of light, and through their effects the changed color of things. Thus havaa se rang ;Tapaknaa can mean that the light has changed, and because of the flowers and the crimson color of the clouds, a rose orange red has spread in the air. Then this redness is coloring everything with its color.

Here attention must also be paid to the meanings of rang . In the [dictionary] burhaan-e qaa:ti(( thirty-three meanings for rang are given. Among them, in addition to 'color', are: 'delicacy'; 'force and power'; 'strength of life and spirit'; 'happiness and wellbeing'; 'robustness'. It's clear that all these meanings are suitable for us, and they increase the meaningfulness of Mir's verse. The meanings of 'force and power' and 'strength of life and spirit' are especially operative in the second line.

In the burhaan the meaning of rang-e havaa is given as 'darkness'. This meaning recalls the extremely famous line by Thomas Nashe, 'Brightness falls from the air.' It seems possible that Mir too, like Nashe, said that darkness is dripping from the air-- that is, light was dying, and in every direction only a very faint light could be seen. (The difference is only that Nashe's line refers to the dripping of light, but the logic is the same in both cases.)

Now let's consider what is meant by sharaab chuvaanaa . It should be kept in mind that [the lexicographer] Chiranji Lal has equated rang ;Tapaknaa and rang chuunaa . That is, both are suitable. Thus it's possible that Mir too might have had chuvaanaa in mind from the beginning, and might have been helped by it in creating the image of sharaab chuvaate hai;N . Thus the meaning is clear of the falling of wine drop by drop, the way it falls during distillation. As though the sky and the air are very large distilling-places, and color, which has the effect of wine, is raining down drop by drop the way distilled wine falls drop by drop.

We have supposed color to have the effect of wine because its dripping is like the dripping of wine-- that is, it also has the quality of wine. And when air will have the effect of wine in every direction (keeping in mind the meanings of rang ;Tapaknaa discussed above), then from simply smelling that air (again the same 'conflation') intoxication will result. It's possible that Ghalib received a theme from this verse:


But the word chuvaanaa brings to mind the way water (or wine) drips into the mouth of a thirsty person. Thus one more meaning is that the earth was thirsty, and for it drops of wine are dripping from the sky in the form of color. That is, the way after extreme heat, drops of sweat appear, in the same way the sky is distilling color/wine.

Or again, the way people don't give a desperately thirsty person a whole flagon all at once, but rather provide water/wine slowly/gradually, in the same way color is slowly/gradually dripping from the air. That is, through the effect of light every thing is slowly/gradually becoming colorful.

Another possibility is that in some places there was a custom that before drinking, a little wine was always caused to drip on the ground, or spilled out. A line by Riyaz Khairabadi:

mere ;hi.s.se kii chhalak jaatii hai paimaane se

[my portion of [wine] spills out from the glass]

Thus one meaning of sharaab chuvaanaa can also be that the way at the time of wine-drinking some drops of wine are freely/deliberately dripped or spilled, in the same way casually, or unstoppably, color is dripping from the air.

In the second line, both meanings of ((ahd-e baadah-gusaaraa;N are suitable: (1) this time is the rule/reign of the wine-drinkers; (2) the wine-drinkers have taken this vow.

But in aage ho there are even more meaningful ambiguities. Chiranji Lal Dihlavi has given several meanings for it. One is 'to set up a wine-cask firmly and confront it'-- thus the meaning becomes that since the effect of wine has spread out in every direction, the ((ahd of the wine-drinkers is that they would come out of their homes and confront the wine-house. Until now the wine-drinkers have been obliged to be indebted to the wine-house, but now the effect of wine and more wine is in the air. Now they don't need to be indebted and subordinate to the wine-house. Now it's necessary to put an end to the supremacy of the wine-house, to come out prepared for battle against it. In the light of this meaning niklo means 'come out and make a stand, come forth'. Thus the prose order of the line will be: yih baadah-gusaaro;N kaa ((ahd hai kih niklo aur mai-;xaane ke aage ho .

If the meaning of ((ahd-e baadah-gusaaraa;N is taken to be the rule/reign, the kingship, of the wine-drinkers, then the interpretation of the line is that it's the reign of only/emphatically the wine-drinkers, now they have no need of the wine-house. Come out before the wine-house, ignore the wine-house and move on. In this case the meaning of aage ho mai-;xaane ke niklo will be 'come out in front of the wine-house, advance and leave it behind' or 'come out and move on beyond the wine-house, take precedence over it'.

Mughni Tabassum has used rang kaa havaa se ;Tapaknaa with the meaning of 'for the color of the light to change'. His verse is a good example of profiting from Mir:

apne lahuu ke na;Gme kii taa;siir hai kyaa
rang havaa se ;Tapkegaa to dekhe;Nge

[what the effect of the melody of my blood is--
when color will drip from the air, then you'll see]

A final point is that this verse fulfills all the claims of 'mood', 'theme-creation', and 'meaning-creation'. And in addition, it has 'flowingness'.

It's also possible that this verse and the opening-verse [{1504,1}] might be connected [marbuu:t] with each other; on this topic see the brief discussion in


It's a peerless verse.

In the fourth divan itself Mir has tested his temperament once more on this theme, and the truth is that he brought out a fine verse [{1520,3}]:

gah .suufii chal mai-;xaane me;N lu:tf nahii;N ab masjid me;N
abr hai baaraa;N baa))o hai narmak rang badan me;N jhamkaa hai

[sometime, Sufi, go into the wine-house; there's no pleasure now in the mosque
the cloud is rainy, the breeze is soft, color glistens in the body]

Here there's not the abundance of meaning that is found in the present verse, but the image in the second line is fine.

Asif Na'im has published, with the title of ganjiinah , an intikhab of Indian Persian poets whose divans have not yet been published. In ganjiinah I noticed the following verse by Mirza Razi Danish. It's possible that Mir too might have seen it:

'In the desert, the cloud has {laid out / dripped the color of} [rang re;xtan] a bedchamber of tulips
Why are you making a spectacle of the bric-a-brac of the house?'

[A brief discussion of how chuvaanaa can definitely mean 'to distill'.]

[See also {1283,3}; {1882,5}.]



That aage ho mai-;xaane ke niklo nags at me. Why the unusual specificity of 'come out in front of the wine-house'? For the purposes of the verse, it seems that 'come out of the wine-house' would be equally satisfactory. SRF brings up the possibility that the wine-drinkers are rebels who plan to confront and attack the wine-house, to overthrow its previous domination of their lives. But really, if the drinkers now have, courtesy of the air itself, access to unlimited wine, why would they bother any longer with the wine-house at all? And if they are using the aage ho to measure progress in terms of future forward movement and so on, why the insistence in the exact location which they are to start, and why the awkward postposition? If it were aage ho mai-;xaane se niklo , then this futuristic reading would be much easier to sustain.

The real center and pivot of the verse is that ravishingly multivalent ((ahd . Every single meaning in Platts's list of definitions-- 'injunction, charge, mandate; will, testament; —compact, contract, covenant, agreement, engagement, obligation, promise; bond, league, treaty; —a vow, an oath; —time, season, conjuncture;  lifetime; reign (of a king)'-- can work perfectly well in such a broad statement as 'It's the X of the wine-drinkers'. And not just work in a technical way, but work in a way that generates a whole series of intriguingly different possibilities. This wild versatility yields a strong pleasure of its own.