daa;G-e dil-e ;xaraab shabo;N ko jale hai miir
((ishq us ;xaraabe me;N bhii chiraa;G ik jalaa gayaa

1) the wound of the ruined/wretched heart burns at night, Mir
2) passion, even/also in that ruin/desolation, lit (in passing) a single/particular/unique/excellent lamp



;xaraab : 'Ruined, spoiled, depopulated, wasted, deserted, desolate; abandoned, lost, miserable, wretched'. (Platts p.487)


;xaraabah : 'Ruin, devastation, desolation; a waste, waste land'. (Platts p.488)

S. R. Faruqi:

The majesty and imperiousness of this verse have predominated over its pain and burning; in Mir's poetry this has often happened. For a verse in the fourth divan that's similar to this one, see:


Here, the structure of the verse is to a large extent peerless. In the sense that we can suppose the first line to be a common utterance: 'Oh Mir, the wound in the wretched heart burns at night'-- that is, it causes much burning. The particularity of this common utterance he has shown in the second line: 'Look, even in that ruin/desolation passion has lit a single lamp'. Another possibility is that in the first line there's a particular testimony: 'Oh Mir, look-- the wound in my wretched heart is radiant at night. This is the effect of passion, that even in such a wilderness a light burns.'

That is, in the first reading the first line is a general utterance and the second line is its particularity. In the second reading, the first line is a particularity and the second line is a general utterance. Within two lines, what greater artistry than this can there be?

But Mir has not contented himself with this. He calls the wound radiant, and supposes it to be a lamp. He supposes the heart to be a ruin; to establish this, in the first line he has said 'the ruined/wretched heart' and has used the verb 'burns', in which there's an iham-- that is, 'burns' meaning 'is radiant' and 'burns' meaning 'causes pain'. Now in the second line the proof for 'ruin/desolation' and 'lamp' has been provided.

The final point is that he's also created the implication that passion is the illuminator of creation; if it stays in a ruin/desolation, then that too it illumines. That is, passion is a medicine for darkness and a cure for lowness. There's another enjoyable thing that should be noticed-- that it's only/emphatically passion itself that has made the heart into a ruin/desolation. Again that same idea of Jacques Derrida appears [as in {1806,3}], that the text outwardly says one thing, and inwardly says something else.

[See also {456,8}; {1746,9}.]



This verse from Mir's shikaar-naamah-e duvvum was added by SRF to SSA, right after the end of the alif section. I've given it the number of the ghazal before it, with an 'x' added, because it's hard to say where it belongs (it of course has no number in the main divan sequence of Mir's ghazals). The shikaar-naamah-e duvvum from which they come is on pp. 358-371of volume 2 of the kulliyat; this verse is the 9th and final verse of an inserted ghazal on p. 365. Other such cases: {236x,1}; {1853x,1}.

As SRF makes clear, the 'A,B' structure of the verse allows (and compels) us to decide for ourselves where the emphasis falls, and what relationship exists between the two lines. But even more enjoyable is the iham, the 'misdirection', provided by the multivalence of jalnaa in the first line. We're encouraged to take it to mean 'burns' in the sense of 'causes pain', since often a sick person does feel worse at the end of the day, and the first line has the matter-of-fact sound of a medical description. Only with the word 'lamp' in the second line do we realize that we need to go back and revise our understanding of the first line to include the meaning of 'burns' like an oil lamp. The multivalence of 'to burn' is so fundamental that (for once!) we can readily capture the wordplay through the similar range of 'burns' in English. But still, it doesn't seem to me to be a true iham in the strict sense, because both meanings are fully available and potentiated by the verse (the wound does indeed undoubtedly 'burn' in a medical sense, which is why it can be said to 'burn' like a lamp). For more discussion of iham, see {178,1}.

There's also the little word ik , with its piquant range of meaning from the possibly deprecatory ('one, single') to the highly laudatory ('unique, excellent').

Moreover, jalaa gayaa perhaps adds a final pleasure of its own. Formally it's something like a short form of jalaa kar gayaa , so that it would carry the distinct extra sense that passion lights the lamp 'in passing', or it lights the lamp and then goes on its way. The effect is to suggest the carelessness of passion, and perhaps also the short time that the lamp will actually manage to burn (since passion will not stay around to solicitously tend it, trim the wick, renew the oil supply, etc.). But there's also an idiomatic sense in which jalaa gayaa would be different only in nuance from jalaayaa ; on this see {1781,1}.

In any case, as SRF points out, we clearly realize that it's passion that wrecks the heart, and thus lights the lamp, in the first place. Passion makes the heart into a 'ruin', which is a remarkable and ambiguous deed, and then within that very 'ruin' it lights a lamp; does that count as a separate and different, or even opposite, deed? Or is it just a rephrasing of the same action? Here we're back wandering in 'A,B' territory again.

In short, who can blame SRF for ending the first of his four volumes with this lovely, potent, haunting verse?