ustu;xvaa;N kaa;Np kaa;Np jalte hai;N
((ishq ne aag yih lagaa))ii hai

1) bones, having trembled and trembled, burn
2) passion has lit {this / such a} fire!



kaa;Npnaa : 'To tremble, shake, quake, quiver, shiver'. (Platts p.806)

S. R. Faruqi:

The theme of the burning and melting of bones was probably Nizami's invention. In 'Khusrau o Shirin' there is [in Persian]:

'In his body the life was in such turbulence/melting,
That the marrow of his bones emerged.'

Bedil too, in this same meter, has expressed the theme [in Persian]:

'An idol took his pulse, as a test,
Like a candle, his bones were turbulent/melting.'

Despite the presence of such forerunners, Mir achieved rareness/uniqueness in both image and theme. The expression kaa;Np kaa;Np jalnaa is not found in dictionaries, so its literal meaning itself is proper: that from the intensity of the fire the bones are trembling, are cracking open and burning. For bones to move in the turbulence of heat is a common observation. When a corpse is burned, then while the limbs of the body are burning they tremble in such a way that the corpse begins to give a deceptive appearance of life.

For the fire of passion, fever too is used as a metaphor. (See


And in fever too, trembling is created in the body. Then, for the fever of passion they also use the metaphor of a 'hectic fever' [tap-e diqq]-- in which a person really does melt/waste away so much that it seems that even his bones have melted. (See


In the second line two interpretations are possible. One interpretation is obtained by taking yih as adjectival-- that 'this' fire in which the bones are trembling and burning has been lit by passion. The second interpretation is obtained by taking yih only as showing emphasis-- that passion has lit 'such a' fire that the bones tremble and burn.

Another meaning is also possible: that the trembling of the bones might be caused not by the intensity of the fire, but rather by the effect of passion-- that passion has caused a trembling not only of the whole body, but even within the body as well. Ghalib has composed a whole ghazal [in Persian] with the refrain larzad . It might have been expected that he would use this theme. But Mir's verse was so complete that Ghalib didn't even come near it-- and if he did come, then he came only this far:

'My breath wanders around the heart and writhes with love, in separation from you,
Like a bird who, if his nest is burned, trembles [with fear and grief].'

In Ghalib's first line, the theme has not been properly expressed. For the breath, the simile of a bird is used; in this regard the heart is considered to be the 'nest' of the bird of the breath. This is only 'thought-binding'. Although indeed the theme of the nest of the heart being set on fire has been successfully presented, because in the heart the fire of passion is flaring up. But a cause for the bird's nest being set on fire has not been brought in. Thus taken all in all, this verse is below the usual rank of Ghalib's verses, and is many degrees lower than Mir's verse.

In contrast to Ghalib, Mus'hafi has kept the theme light, but his way of following Mir is fine:

aatish-e ;Gam me;N baskih jalte hai;N
sham((a saa;N ustu;xvaan galte hai;N

[in the fire of grief we burn to such an extent
like a candle, our bones melt]

Shaikh Muhammad Khan Shad, in Mir's footsteps, changed the metaphor and created a good theme:

ghun lagaa maut kaa jo a((.zaa me;N
ustu;xvaa;N ;xaak ho ga))e ghun ke

[when the canker/weevil of death came into the limbs
the bones were blighted/'worm-eaten' and became dust]

(In the first line ghan , rhyming with ran , means 'a powerful wound, a sledge-hammer'; for example, lohaar kaa ghan .) [[But ghun'naa and ghun lagnaa mean 'to be blighted by weevils, to be worm-eaten'; this reading seems to make better sense in context.]]

Asghar Ali Khan Nasim has, by making the burning bones into a metaphor for the candle of love, done justice to 'thought-binding':

shu((le nikal rahe hai;N har ustu;xvaa;N se apnii
sham((e;N yih vuh nahii;N hai;N jin ko bujhaa hii de;Nge

[flames are emerging from our every bone
these are not those candles that people will only/emphatically extinguish]

Dard has versified this theme in a slightly altered form. His verse is well-grounded, but because it doesn't have the image of the heat of grief, it doesn't have the same power:

sailaab-e ashk-e garm ne a((zaa mire tamaam
ay dard kuchh bahaa di))e aur kuchh jalaa di))e

[the flood of hot tears on all my limbs
oh Dard, swept away some, and burned up others]

[See also {1160,4}.]



Note for grammar fans: Literally the bones 'having trembled and trembled', then afterwards burn (since it's kaa;Np kaa;Np kar with the kar colloquially deleted). But in actual usage the form is flexible enough so that it's also quite possible to imagine the bones as trembling while burning.