;xaalii pa;Raa hai ;xaanah-e daulat vaziir kaa
baavar nahii;N to aa.saf aa.saf pukaar dekh

1) the wealth-storehouse of the Vazir lies empty
2) if you don't believe it, then call out 'Asaf, Asaf' and see



baavar : 'Belief, faith, confidence, trust, credit; —adj. True, credible, trustworthy'. (Platts p.128)

S. R. Faruqi:

'Vazir' can refer to Navab Asaf ul-Daulah. Because before the establishment of the kingship of Avadh, the Navabs of Lucknow were still nominally connected to Delhi, and it was through the Emperor of Delhi that they ruled Avadh. Thus they were called 'Navab Vazir'. In this regard ;xaanah-e daulat too is interesting, because the palace in which Asaf ul-Daulah lived was called the daulat-;xaanah , and Sa'adat Ali Khan in fact emptied it out and caused a residence ('Machchhi Bhavan' or 'Chhatar Manzil') to be built near Hazrat Ganj.

In the second line, the [metrical principle of] 'quiescence of the middle' [taskiin-e ausa:t] requires us to read aa-.sa-fa aa-.saf [that is, = - - = = instead of = = = =], through which the line acquires the mood of a call/cry, and an intensity; and the harmony of the line becomes lofty in an unusual way.

A second possibility is that 'Vazir' may refer to Vazir Ali Khan, who after Asaf ul-Daulah was on the throne for some months. Then the English dethroned him. Munshi Naval Kishor has written in his history that in Vazir Ali Khan's hands the kingship did not flourish, so that people turned against him and, through the influence of the nobles, forced him to step down from the throne. In that time itself, the rumor was current that he (Vazir Ali Khan) was not Asaf ul-Daulah's biological son at all, so he had no right to occupy the Navabi throne. Both these ideas are more or less current today. But modern researchers believe that Vazir Ali Khan was very arrogant, and was a bitter enemy of the English; this was the reason that the English and their supporters deprived him of the sultanate and banished him.

In any case, the brief period of Vazir Ali Khan's Navab-ship passed in a state of great turmoil, confusion, and disturbance. At that time Mir's stipend had also ceased to be paid. Thus it's possible that through this verse Mir might have expressed his displeasure with Vazir Ali Khan. The greater probability can be that Mir might have expressed his opposition to the overthrow of Vazir Ali Khan. In this connection, see also:


At a minimum level, the possibility is that this verse might express the theme of the instability of the world. A similar idea, along with the conjoining of king and vazir, Mir has composed again in the fifth divan [{1752,2}]:

kyaa kyaa makaan-e shaah-nishiin the vaziir ke
vuh u;Th gayaa to yih bhii gire bai;The ;Dhah ga))e

[what-all king-seating palaces the Vazir had!
when he rose, then even/also these fell, sat down, collapsed]

The theme of the revolving/revolution of circumstances through the passage of time, and the image of calling out, Sauda too has presented very well:

dekhaa mai;N qa.sr-e fariiduu;N ke dar uupar ik sha;x.s
;halqah-zan ho ke pukaaraa ko))ii yaa;N hai kih nahii;N

[I saw, at the door of Faridun's castle, a single person
having struck the door-knocker, he called, 'Is anyone here, or not?']

I have mentioned above that in the second line, the [metrical principle of 'quiescence of the middle' means that 'aa-.sa-fa aa-.saf' has become possible. By taskiin-e ausa:t I mean that if three 'movent' [muta;harrik] letters [that contain vowels] would be together, then the middle letter can be made a 'quiescent' [saakin] one [that contains no vowel]. This principle can be applied in every meter. But it has very rarely been used in Urdu. Except for the mutaqaarib meter, and certain forms of the hazaj, the taskiin-e ausa:t principle is extremely uncommonly seen in old poetry. The present ghazal is in the following meter:

maf((uul faa((ilaat mafaa((iil faa((ilun

[ = = - / = - = - / - = = - / = - = ]

Here, since the t of faa))ilaat and the m and f of mafaa((iil are 'movent', the m can be made 'quiescent', so that the following form is obtained:

maf((uul faa((iilaatama faa((iil faa((ilun

[ = = - / = - = - - / = = - / = - = ]

For the sake of ease and familiarity, this can be turned into:

maf((uul faa((iilaatuna maf((uul faa((ilun

[ = = - / = - = - - / = = - / = - = ]

Along these lines, the scansion of Mir's second line will be:

baa-var na-hii;N to aa-.sa-fa aa-.saf pu-kaa-r dekh

maf((uul faa((iilaatuna maf((uul faa((ilun

[ = = - / = - = - - / = = - / = - = ]

Asaf bin Barkha was the name of Hazrat Soloman's vazir. Metaphorically, every vazir is called 'Asaf'. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the officer who acted as treasurer was also called 'Asaf'. For all these reasons, in Mir's present verse there is a twofold affinity between 'vazir' and 'Asaf'.

[See also {1337,2}.]



Note for meter fans: The metrical trick played in the second line is indeed extremely rare. For a more complex discussion, see the chapter on taskiin-e ausa:t in SRF's book ((aruu.z aahang aur bayaan .