mihr-e qiyaamat chaahat aafat fitnah fasaad balaa hai ((ishq
((ishq all;aah .saiyaad unhe;N kahyo jin logo;N ne kiyaa hai ((ishq

1) the sun of Doomsday, desire, disaster, mischief, turmoil, misery-- is passion
2) praise be to God, call them 'Hunters'-- those people who have practiced passion



((ishq hai : 'An exclamation of praise; excellent! well done! bravo!'. (Platts p.761)

S. R. Faruqi:

In the fifth divan there are two ghazals of five verses each [this one and {1659}]. After great effort and thought, I omitted one verse from each ghazal. The verses that were omitted-- they too are so excellent in their way that I could hardly bear to leave them out. These ghazals in praise of passion are such entrancingly admirable and 'tumult-arousing' poems that even a major search will not find their equal. [The following comments apply to both these ghazals in general.]

Maulana-e Rum, in his 'Masnavi', at one point has composed twelve verses in praise of passion which present the active forms of passion. That is, in them it's been told what the claim of passion is, what tasks passion fulfills. With regard to the excellence of the themes and the complexity within apparent simplicity, and with reference to to their eloquence and strength, Maulana-e Rum's verses are so beautiful and emotion-arousing that even within a long and uncommon poem like the 'Masnavi' they seem to be distinctive and masterful. It would take much time to analyze the excellences of these verses; therefore I content myself, as is my custom, with translations. From the second daftar:

'Through love, bitternesses become sweet; and through love, copper becomes gold.
Through love, lees become pure wine; and through love, dregs become health-bestowing.
Through love, thorns become flowers; and through love, vinegar becomes wine.
Through love, a load-bearing plank becomes a royal throne; and through love, a burden becomes auspiciousness.
Through love, a prison cell becomes a garden; and without love, a garden becomes a torture chamber.
Through love, fire becomes light; and through love, a Satan becomes a Houri.
Through love, stone becomes oil; and without love, wax becomes iron.
Through love, grief becomes joy; and through love a ghoul [who misleads people] becomes a guide.
Through love, poison becomes honey; and through love a tiger becomes a mouse.
Through love, sickness becomes health; and through love, disaster becomes mercy.
Through love, a thorn becomes a lily; and through love, a house becomes illumined.
Through love, the dead become living; and through love, a king becomes a slave.'

The mood of absorption [vujd] that's in these verses is entirely like that of Mir's ghazal. That is, both poets are themselves in a state of absorption, and are bringing their hearer or reader too into a state of absorption. It seems that there's an ocean of revelation, and through pouring out the cup of rhythmic words it is filling spirit and heart brimful. In both poets is revelation about the universe, and also the simple-heartedness of passion.

Despite all these similarities, Mir's verses are better than Maulana-e Rum's for several reasons. These reasons can be briefly enumerated:

1) In Mir's verses the grandeur of passion itself has been expressed; while in Maulana-e Rum's verses only passion's deeds have been mentioned. Through these deeds we know the qualities of passion, but access to the nature of passion itself is available to us only through Mir's verses.

2) In Mir's verses passion seems to be the reality of the universe-- or rather, beyond its reality. Mir takes us to the outer, the inner, the high, the low, the ground, the sky-- everywhere. While Maulana-e Rum largely keeps us limited to experiences.

3) In the Maulana's verses there's a tone of address; in Mir's a tone of entering a state of absorption and dancing.

4) Mir's speaker is conversing about sky and earth, but his point of view is human and earthly. In the opening-verse itself there's a direct reference to human experience.

5) There's also the fact that in the Maulana's verses is the narrowness of a masnavi, and in Mir's verses is the breadth and colorfulness of a refrain-bearing and continuous [musalsal] ghazal.

Technical clevernesses turn out to be somewhat more numerous in the Maulana's verses than in Mir's, but the overall effect of Mir's is of heavily pouring rain by which the whole neighborhood, in just a few minutes, is soaked. Because of this abundance of flowingness and melodiousness, we don't even feel the comparatively fewer technical clevernesses in Mir's verses.

However much Mir prided himself on these verses, it was still too little. The person who at the age of eighty years composed such verses-- if he considered Insha and Jur'at and Mus'hafi to be no more than dust, then how was he wrong? Compare this ghazal to


Even Sauda slid away and avoided these 'grounds'-- not to even mention everybody else! The ghazals Mir has with the refrain of ((ishq -- in them can be seen all the excellences of 'meaning-creation', uniqueness of theme, loftiness of harmony, and flowingness of composition.

It would seem apparent that in confined [paa-band] refrains-- that is, refrains in which there would be nominal sentences [ismiyyah]-- the possibility of uniqueness of theme would be less; but Mir has, as usual, shown this generalization too to be incorrect.

For discussion of the centrality of 'passion' in Mir's poetry, see the introduction to SSA, volume 1. Here, it's not necessary to repeat these ideas. Although with regard to these two ghazals, some points are worthy of note:

1) Mir has paid attention to human existence, and its pollutednesses, weaknesses, loftinesses-- every aspect of it. There may be a state of a thousand absorptions, but nevertheless he still has a feeling for flesh and blood. Consider {1659,4}:

;xaak-o-baad-o-aab-o-aatish sab hai muvaafiq apne ta))ii;N
jo kuchh hai so ((ishq-e butaa;N hai kyaa kahiye ab kyaa hai ((ishq

[dust and wind and water and fire-- everything is suitable/favorable to it in itself
whatever is, is passion for idols; what can you say, now, [about] what it is, passion!]

Here Askari Sahib's point comes to mind, that Mir never relaxes his grip on his humanness.

2) Among Western poets, George Herbert; the Spanish mystic St. John of the Cross; and his follower the Spanish female mystic St. Teresa of Avila, are a few names that can be mentioned in connection with a Mir-like intoxication of passion and absorption in it. Otherwise, in the West romantic poetry, despite all if its extent/reach, has not arrived at the level of Mir's.

3) While remaining within human limits, to become beyond those limits-- this is the central point of these ghazals. This vision is rarely to be found even within Indo-Muslim poetry, and outside that poetry is not present at all. In Sanskrit there's romantic poetry of a high order, but it doesn't have the transcendent [maa-ba((d ul-:tab((iyaatii] aspect that can be seen here and there in Mir's poetry.


[Discussion of the present verse itself:]

It's not the case that Mir's verses [in these two ghazals] are entirely plain and are only the direct expression of emotional tumult. Consider the points below:

1) The first line of the opening-verse can be read in several ways:

a) sun of Doomsday, desire disaster, mischief turmoil misery is passion
b) sun, Doomsday, desire, disaster, mischief, turmoil, misery is passion
c) sun, Doomsday, desire, disaster-mischief, turmoil-misery is passion

2) In the second line of the opening-verse, ((ishq all;aah is a term used by darveshes, faqirs, qalandars. These people call each other ((ishq all;aah , baabaa sadaa ((ishq all;aah , murshid all;aah , yaar sadaa raa ((ishq hai , yaad all;aah , madad all;aah , and so on, by way of address. This fact is itself interesting in its own way, but in the line the 'seating' of the words is such that various meanings are possible. It's possible that 'Hunter' might be the addressee, and the sense would be, 'oh Hunter, those people who have practiced passion-- call them ((ishq all;aah and give them my salaam'.

The meaningfulness of ((ishq all;aah is twofold-- that is, it's in any case a kind of salaam; in it is also hidden the message that only/emphatically passion is Lord, or that the Lord is only/emphatically passion. The second interpretation is that 'passion' would be the addressee, and the sense would be, 'oh Passion, those people who have practiced passion-- call them all;aah-.saiyaad (that is, 'Hunter of God'). Maulana-e Rum and Iqbal both come to mind. From Maulana-e Rum:

'Under sulphurous battlements many such young men lie fallen--
Angel-hunters and Prophet-pursuers and Divinity [yazdaan]-seizers.'

A [Persian] verse of Iqbal's is:

'In my madness-desert Jibril is a vile/unworthy prey,
Take Divinity in your noose, oh manly courage!'

The third interpretation of Mir's verse is that ((ishq all;aah is an expression of praise. In an admiring tone he says, 'Praise be to God-- those people who have practiced passion, it's as if they possess strong nerves like a Hunter!' If a Hunter's nerves weren't strong, then he'd be influenced by the complaint of the tongueless ones and wouldn't imprison them. The people who practice passion must be just such tough-hearted ones.



The ghazals with the 'passion' refrain are indeed an extraordinary set. An inventory can be found in {837,1}.

SRF amalgamates this five-verse ghazal and the next, formally identical one, {1659}, into a kind of single ghazal, omitting only one verse from each one, for a total of eight verses-- though he has said he admires even the omitted verses greatly, so that it's strange he didn't make a point of including them. I've presented them in the form that Mir composed them, and have adjusted SRF's commentary accordingly.

SRF never refers to these two, {1658} and {1659}, as a 'double-ghazal', though they would seem entirely eligible for the category. I asked him about the criteria for a 'double-ghazal', and he replied (Aug. 2018),

There's no given rule for what constitutes a do-;Gazlah or a sih-;Gazlah and so on. Normally the poet signals that he'll now write another ghazal, or more, in the same zamiin . As a practice, such compositions are counted as one ghazal. Since there was no system or convention for numbering the ghazals in a divan, the matter presented no difficulty. One ghazal or four, it was the same thing. And it was rare for the poet not to signal that he was now proceeding to write another ghazal in that zamiin . Absent such markers, I am inclined to count the ((ishq ghazals (and others of the type) as separate ghazals.

In the present verse, the first line has a 'list'-like sequence of nouns, and what makes the sequence so enjoyable is the long, loose, swingy rhythm of 'Mir's meter', or 'Hindi meter'.

For more on this idiomatic usage of ((ishq hai , see {307,4}.

Note for meter fans: It looks as though we have to scan unhe;N as short-short. That forces nhe;N to be a single short syllable. There might well be some other way to read this, but this is the only real one that I find. I don't like it, but then-- so what? There it is, and it's certainly part of an irresistible verse.