gul gul shiguftah mai se hu))aa hai nigaar dekh
yak jar((ah ham-dam aur pilaa phir bahaar dekh

1) extremely/'rose-rose' blooming, through wine, the image/idol/beloved has become-- look!
2) give one drink/draught more, my friend-- then, look at the springtime/flourishing!



shiguftah : 'Expanded, blown (as a flower); blooming; flourishing'. (Platts p.732)


nigaar : 'A picture, painting, portrait, effigy; an idol; —a beautiful woman, beauty; mistress, sweetheart'. (Platts p.1150)


jar((ah : 'One draught or gulp; remains of (wine) at the bottom of a vessel, dregs'. (Steingass p.360)

S. R. Faruqi:

gul gul = extremely much

The theme of this verse has been taken from [the Persian of] Mulla Tughra:

'Your face, from one glass of wine, became blooming,
A rose-plant took one drink of water, and a hundred roses became blooming.'

It's true that Mulla Tughra's opening-verse is a superb example of meaning-creation, and Mir was not able to equal it. But Mir, making use of his own style, has created a freshness in the situation. By 'the situation' I mean the occasion on which the verse was spoken. In the verse there are at least three characters. One is the speaker, a second is that person who has been addressed as 'friend', and a third is the beloved. It seems that the speaker and his friend have persuaded the beloved and brought her along, and by giving her wine are enjoying the pleasure of love.

The word nigaar too is interesting here, because the word is also used for those flowers and leaves that are made on the hands and feet with henna. Thus a 'connection of meaning' has been created between the beloved's bloomingness and the bloomingness of the nigaar . In the second line the mixture of ardor, pride in the beloved's beauty and praise of it, and desire/lust is superb.

The theme of wine's causing the face to become blooming, Mir has versified a number of times. On this theme, see his best verse:


Then, in the fourth divan there is [{1471,7}]:

mu;Nh se lagii gulaabii hu))aa kuchh shiguftah to
tho;Rii sharaab aur bhii pii jo bahaar ho

[if having put the wine-flagon to the mouth, some bloomingness took place, then
drink even/also a little more wine, so that there would be a springtime]

The expression gul gul too, Mir has written in one more place, with a similar theme. From the shikaar-naamah-e avval :

gul gul shiguftagii hai tire chahre se ((ayaa;N
kuchh aaj merii jaan qiyaamat bahaar hai

[extreme bloomingness is manifest from your face
today, my life, there's a Doomsday of springtime]

It seems that gul gul meaning 'extremely much' was rather common in the eighteenth century. Thus, consider these verses. Mir Hasan, from his 'Masnavi':

vuh gul gul shiguftah hu))aa gul kii :tar;h
yih gul kii :tara;h aur vuh bulbul kii :tar;h

[that one became extremely blooming, like a rose,
this one like a rose, and that one like a Nightingale]

Khvajah Mir Dard:

nah ho;N gul gul shiguftah kyuu;N-ke ay dil dard-masto;N kaa
mai-e gul-guu;N kii daulat sarbasar gul-faam hai shiishah

[how would they not be extremely blooming, oh heart-- the pain-intoxicated ones
thanks to rose-colored wine, have their glass from end to end rose-colored]

What's surprising is that despite this abundance of usage, gul gul has not been entered in any Urdu dictionary. Janab Barkati's farhang-e miir too is devoid of it. It has also escaped the attention of Asar Sahib.

Janab Abd ul-Rashid says that in the work of Mir and the other poets whom I have cited, gul gul shiguftan is not translated simply as gul gul . But when he himself says that gul gul also means 'much, much', then for example in gul gul shiguftagii hai tire chahre se ((ayaa;N , there cannot be any place for gul gul shiguftan .



It's clear that somebody is drinking wine, and is feeling and showing its effects; it's clear that arrangements are being made for more wine to be provided to that person. But the verse carefully doesn't specify who that person is. SRF is sure that the drinker is the beloved. I agree that this is quite possible. But I much more enjoy the other possibility: that the drinker is the lover, who is the speaker of the verse.

On this reading, the lover is exclaiming to his friend how his sense of the beauty of the nigaar , the 'picture, painting, portrait, effigy; idol' (see the definition above) is increased by the wine he has drunk. The more he drinks, the more beautiful this 'picture' is; he's now so drunk that he expects his friend too to see ('Look!') the changes that he sees himself. So why shouldn't he want a final drink, to enhance his pleasure still further? On this reading, the beloved may be present but at a (physical or emotional) distance; or she may not be present at all, so that the lover is contemplating, say, a painting of her, and drunkenly ascribing to it some kind of heightened beauty. And perhaps he indeed understands what he's doing, and is (morbidly?) amused at himself.

Does this use of nigaar sound slightly awkward? If so, it at least avoids the considerable awkwardness of imagining that the speaker and his friend have allured the apparently passive beloved into going off somewhere private (since there's no Cupbearer present, and seemingly no risk of her refusing to drink more wine); there they are systematically getting her drunk. This situation is highly unlikely, in terms of the conventions of the ghazal world; and it's also somewhat distasteful, with its overtones of sexual manipulation and exploitation.

Here's Ghalib's version of what wine can do for the lover-- it enhances not just enjoyment, but eloquence as well; the verse also makes a similar use of phir :