gulshan me;N aag lag rahii thii rang-e gul se miir
bulbul pukaarii dekh ke .saa;hib pare pare

1) in the garden/'rose-place' fire was starting from/like the color of the rose, Mir
2) the Nightingale called out, having seen this, 'Sahib, away, away!'



pare : 'Beyond, yonder, at a distance; apart, further off, away ... ; out of, or beyond, the reach (of); after, afterwards; in another world, hereafter'. (Platts p.258)

S. R. Faruqi:

Jur'at has versified this rhyme too, but his verse remained limited to a commonplace kind of 'affair-evocation':

kyaa yaad aa))e hai vuh lage jaanaa apnaa aah
aur muskaraa ke us kaa yih kahnaa pare pare

[how it comes to mind, my beginning to leave, ah,
and her smiling and saying, 'Away, away!'

It seems as if Jur'at composed this ghazal in a situation when his imagination was not working. This very theme, he had already composed better in several verses. Here perhaps the oppressiveness of Mir was such that despite his effort, no theme came into his hands. And then, this 'ground' too is such that the poet's choice of rhymes becomes narrow.

Mus'hafi, in old age (in the seventh divan) composed in 'reply' to Mir's ghazal a ghazal of six verses. His situation wasn't any better than Jur'at's. By way of a memento, listen to Mus'hafi too in this rhyme:

jaa))uu;N jo us ke paas mai;N aasuudah-e sharaab
vuh nek paak mujh ko kahe hai pare pare

[if I would go near her, carefree/satiated with wine
that pure, virtuous one says to me, 'Away, away!']

With regard to the freshness of the theme, Mus'hafi's verse is somewhat better than Jur'at's. But Mus'hafi's 'affair-evocation' is unsuccessful, because no preparation has been made for introducing the beloved's disaffection. Simply saying nek paak doesn't do the job.

The theme of the present verse, Dard and Yaqin too have very well versified. Dard:

aashiyaane me;N dard bulbul ke
aatish-e gul se aaj phuul pa;Raa

[in the nest, Dard, of the Nightingale
from the fire of the rose, today a {fire has started / 'flower has fallen'}]

The meaning of phuul pa;Rnaa is 'for a fire to start'; here it makes a fine iham, and good advantage has been taken of the 'fire of the rose'. But the verse lacks the movement and 'dramaticness' of Mir's present verse. Nevertheless, Mir took phuul pa;Rnaa from Dard and versified it. From the fourth divan [{1532,3}]:

bha;Rkii thii jab kih aatish-e gul phuul pa;R gayaa
baal-o-par-e :tayuur-e chaman miir phuk ga))e

[since the fire of the rose flared up, a 'fire started'
the wings and feathers of the birds of the garden, Mir, were burned]

Dard's verse is a superb example of economy of expression and trimness of construction. Yaqin, in his verse, has versified the image of fire starting from the color of the rose. It's possible that Mir might have borrowed it from Yaqin. Yaqin:

pa;Rii kahtii thii bulbul nau bahaar aave bahaar aave
pa;Raa chain ab lagii jab rang-e gul se aag gulshan me;N

[the Nightingale spoke up: 'May the new spring come, may the spring come!
now ease/peace would come when from the color of the rose, fire would start in the garden']

In Yaqin's verse there are many words of padding, and there's also a lack of 'flowingness'. As for a 'dramaticness' like Mir's-- well, the question doesn't even arise.

In Mir's present verse there's also a mystery: to whom is the Nightingale saying .saa;hib pare pare ? It's possible that he might be speaking to himself, or to other Nightingales. Or to those who want to stroll in the garden, who want to come into the garden to take pleasure in the spring. In the first two cases the Nightingale's passion doesn't seem so very true, for he avoids burning in the fire of the rose. In the third case he seems to be dominated by jealousy, and wants no one but himself to heat his eyes with the beauty of that fire (or to die in the fire); he wants to have no other partner, but to enjoy the pleasure alone.

In this verse a part of the 'dramaticness' is that the one who calls out .saa;hib pare pare is the Nightingale, and no other (like a gardener, or some other bird). In this way the image of the garden and the spring is established with more power, because the Nightingale keeps wandering along the garden paths and is the truest, the most genuine, dweller in the garden. Then, if a gardener called out pare pare , it would not have had the kind of meaningfulness to which I've alluded above.

So far we have assumed that the Nightingale has said .saa;hib pare pare . That is, the Nightingale saw fire flaring up in the garden, and then he called out 'Sahib, please just stay a bit away, away!'. But it's possible that the Nightingale might have said dekh ke -- that is, the line might be read, bulbul pukaarii , ' dekh ke .saa;hib ! pare pare ! '. With regard to meaning, both readings are equally forceful. The 'dramaticness' of the second reading is probably greater, because in this way dekh ke too becomes an insha'iyah exclamation.

It should also be kept in mind that it's possible to read the line in other ways as well. If a pause is established after pukaarii , then these readings are possible:

bulbul pukaarii , ' dekh ke _ .saa;hib ! pare pare !'
bulbul pukaarii , ' dekh ke ! .saa;hib pare ! pare !'
bulbul pukaarii , ' dekh ke ! .saa;hib pare pare !'

Because of this abundance of possibilities, I consider it better to have a pause after bulbul pukaarii . The verse is in any case among the best. Its ambiguity, its image, its dramatic structure are all peerless. It's a devastatingly 'tumult-arousing' verse.

[See also {25,4}.]



Since one of the meanings of pare is 'beyond, in another world, hereafter' (see the definition above), it's also possible that the Nightingale is addressing the fiery, burning roses (since the beloved is often called 'Sahib'), and proposing to meet his beloved rose again in another world, a world 'beyond' the flaming death of the garden. Though the jealousy reading too is very attractive (the Nightingale is eager to warn off any rivals, and thus remove them from the vicinity of the rose).

SRF is of course strongly opposed to the common modern editorial practice of inserting English-style punctuation into classical ghazals; I emphatically agree. So what are we to make of his three examples of how to read the Nightingale's warning? The readings are differentiated almost only by the differential insertion of English exclamation points. Since there would have been no such exclamation points in the minds of Mir and his contemporaries, we have to assume that these represent different emphases in recitation. It's not clear to me that these are real differences in meaning, or that the original audience would have felt them to be alternatives in any meaningful way. For after all, in written Urdu, without English exclamation points it would hardly be possible even to differentiate them.