daa;G jalaa))e falak ne badan par sarv-e chiraa;Gaa;N ham ko kiyaa
kahaa;N kahaa;N ab marham rakkhe;N jism hu))aa hai saraasar daa;G

1) the sky burned wounds on our body; it made us a 'fireworks-tree'
2) now, where-all would we put salve? --our body has become entirely a wound



chiraa;Gaan kardan : 'To illuminate... ; to inflict a cruel kind of punishment by placing burning lights into the wounds of a lashed culprit'. (Steingass p.389)

S. R. Faruqi:

The construction daa;G so;xtan , meaning 'to create a wound', exists in Persian as well, and in English too there's the idiom 'to burn a scar on something'. Mir translated from Persian, but it's a pity that this beautiful idiom didn't become common. In the aa.sifiyah and 'Platts' it's not mentioned.

Janab Abd ul-Rashid has noted a verse from Rustami Bijapuri's masnavi ;xaavar-naamah (1640) in which daa;G jalaanaa has been used. Although to me this reading seems dubious, it's nevertheless possible that daa;G jalaanaa became an idiom in the Dakan, and Mir might have taken it from there. We've already seen that in Mir's poetry are numerous usages that also exist in the Dakan. In any case, daa;G jalaanaa is unfamiliar and was not able to become widespread.

Then, sarv-e chiraa;Gaa;N is both a kind of fireworks, and a tree-like frame of wood or silver in which lamps are hung. But the phrase chiraa;Gaa;N ham ko kiyaa also directs the mind toward chiraa;Gaan kardan . In ancient Iran one form of punishment was that here and there in the criminal's head they made holes, and into those holes they thrust lighted candles. This bestial punishment was given the poetic name of chiraa;Gaan kardan . In this way, in the whole line an atmosphere of pain and terror has been established.

The second line is not equally powerful, and has been directly borrowed from a famous [Persian] verse of Nisbati Thanesari:

'One heart, and a dense crowd of longings,
The body is all wounds, where would I put the cotton?'

Nisbati's first line is very fine. In contrast, Mir's first line is brilliant and full of 'mood' and full of meaning. Thus although Mir borrowed his second line from Nisbati, his whole verse is better than Nisbati's whole verse.

[See also {1437,3}; {1746,9}; {1853x,1}.]



Well, perhaps SRF's description of the 'fireworks' torture needn't be taken quite literally. For one thing, how could there be enough places on the criminal's head to make 'holes' deep enough for a 'candle' to be thrust into them-- and then how could the candle continue to burn (and thus create the torment)? Surely more of the victim's body would have to be involved, and the torment would have to be provided by something more like small oil lamps (which are shallower, and which unlike candles could burn with painful heat even in the midst of a wound). Presumably the criminal would have been whipped bloody (assuming that that's what Steingass means by 'lashed'), and then the whole body, not just the head, could have been tormented. It's a grisly image. For more discussion of the image of a 'fireworks-tree', see G{5,5}.

But then, there's {1706,4}, which is addressed to mad lovers in general:

aa))ii bahaar junuu;N ho mubaarak ((ishq-e all;aah hamaare liye
na((l ju;Re siino;N pah phiro tum daa;G saro;N pah jalaate raho

[springtime has come, let madness be auspicious; for us, it is the Divine passion
wander around with a [heated?] horseshoe applied to your chests; keep on lighting the wounds on your heads]

In any case, however, this whole form of torment sounds very literary, as SRF too notes about its being given a 'poetic name'. It reminds me of the 'paper garments' in G{1,1}, which are easy to document in a long chain of literary references, but much harder to establish in actual early Iranian reality. Which of course is not a problem in the ghazal world; once a ghazal convention is widely known, there's no point at all in asking whether it does, or once did, or ever did, or ever could, have any basis in ordinary reality. In a genre in which the dead lover keeps right on talking long after he's in the grave, who could bother about a few sociological details?

Compare Ghalib's less morbid 'fireworks-tree' verse, with discussion: