===
1850,
3
===

 

{1850,3}

shaayad bahaar aa))ii hai diivaanah hai javaan
zanjiir kii sii aatii hai jhankaar kaan me;N

1) perhaps springtime has come, the madman is young
2) a jingling like that of chains comes to the ear

 

Notes:

bahaar : 'Spring, prime, bloom, flourishing state; beauty, glory, splendour, elegance; beautiful scene or prospect, fine landscape; charm, delight, enjoyment, the pleasures of sense, taste, or culture'. (Platts p.178)

 

jhanaknaa : 'To tinkle, jingle, clank, clink, ring, rattle, &c.; —to be angry, be offended or vexed, to take umbrage'. (Platts p.408)

S. R. Faruqi:

We have already seen in

{265,5}

and

{1163,12}

how Mir has used the conjunctive o in a way that was apparently unnecessary, but actually showed masterful skill. Here, in the first line, the situation is reversed: he has omitted aur from the line.

In Urdu the omission of the conjunctives aur and o is very common, and this is a special feature of Urdu that is contrary to Persian ( mel milaap , ;xa:t kitaabat , aanaa jaanaa , etc.). But the omission of the conjunctive is seen only between two words; omission of the conjunctive between two phrases is not part of everyday usage. It's up to the speaker where to omit it-- but to do so in such a way that it would not seem unpleasant.

In the first line of the present verse, this is just the situation: the omission of the word aur has been done with extreme fineness. At first glance it seems that the utterance is entirely complete, but when we consider carefully, then we realize that aur has been omitted. The prose of the line will be, shaayad bahaar aa))ii hai aur diivaanah javaan hai .

Here the mention of the youth of the madman has various kinds of pleasures of meaning. One kind creates an ironic tension: what good is the madman's youth? The mention of his youth sheds even more light on his helplessness and oppression. If we consider another kind, then with regard to the madman's youth: (1) it is the 'youth' of his madness; (2) it is the 'youth' of his strength and power; (3) the way the garden flourishes in springtime, in the same way madness too becomes more intense in youth. Thus on the one side there's the 'youth' of the garden, on the other side the 'youth' of the madness. (4) The phrase diivaanah hai javaan alludes to javaanii diivaanii , or at least recalls this proverbial saying. In this too is a kind of sarcasm.

The word jhankaar is, with regard to the atmosphere of the verse, very fine of course. But in kii sii there's the point that the jhankaar is in fact not from the chains, but rather is 'like' the chains. That is, it's possible that it might be the sound of something else, but might seem to be the sound of chains. The peacock's cry at once comes to mind, because with us 'spring' [bahaar] is really the rainy season, and in the rainy season the peacocks call beautifully. The peacock's cry is called his jhankaar . The partridge's cry too is called his jhankaar .

In the [dictionaries] nuur ul-lu;Gaat and the aa.sifiyah , the peacock's cry is given as jha;Ngaar . Asar Sahib has objected, and said that in Lucknow jha;Ngaar is not used. In Platts, one form of jhankaar is given as jha;Ngaar and another as cha;Nghaa;R . But in Platts neither jha;Ngaar nor cha;Nghaa;R has been given as a peacock's cry. Asar Sahib says that the peacock's cry is cha;Nghaa;R . Asar Sahib's words are absolutely correct. But the peacock's cry is also called jhankaar . As can be verified from craftsmen, the sound of a sword is also called jhankaar . (This meaning is not in Platts, but it's in nuur ul-lu;Gaat with a 'warrant' from Mir Anis.) Through the Taraqqi Urdu Board of Pakistan's urduu lu;Gat , all these meanings can be established.

In the present verse, it's also interesting to ask who the speaker is. It cannot be someone who participates in the everyday affairs of the world, for then he himself would know whether spring had come or not. He says after all that 'perhaps' spring has come. Thus we learn that he himself is imprisoned in some cell, or for some reason is shut up in a house; and his information about the outside world is based on guesses and traces, not on observation. Such a person will apparently be a madman himself. Thus this verse is the opinion of one madman about another madman, and of one madness about another madness. It's possible that the 'jingling like that of chains' that comes to his ear might be evidence of intoxicated joy or grief, and upon hearing these sounds his own madness would overpower him.

In the whole verse there's a mood of some anxiety/grief, but it's also ebullient with desire/longing and dignity. See

{1851,8}.

It's also possible that the speaker might be not some madman, but some sane person. In such a case, the meaning of 'perhaps spring has come' will be that spring has come suddenly, the way we often see that cold suddenly increases, or heat suddenly increases. When you go to sleep at night it's one season, but when morning comes the season seems to have changed entirely. The meaning of diivaanah hai javaan can be that youth has perhaps suddenly come upon the madman too (that is, it has come upon his madness), and this is a cause for anxiety.

FWP:

SETS == A,B; GESTURES
MOTIFS == MADNESS; SPRINGTIME
NAMES
TERMS == IMPLICATION

SRF makes a major point about how aur has been omitted between the two clauses in the first line. I take this omission to be deliberate on Mir's part, and to suggest the possibility that the 'perhaps' applies to both clauses. By means of the omission Mir causes us to read 'perhaps A, B', rather than 'perhaps A. B.'. This reading even more fully opens up the 'A,B' possibilities of the verse.

And in fact this verse contains such a brilliant use of 'A,B' structure that it's positively thrilling. We are given not two but three separate statements:

(1) Perhaps springtime has come.

(2) (Perhaps) the madman is young.

(3) A jingling like that of chains comes to the ear.

How many kinds of connections and implications can exist among these statements! We have absolutely no information about the speaker-- he could be a caretaker in a madhouse, or a madman himself, or even a casual but imaginative passerby. Thus (2), or the connection between (1) and (2), could be entirely speculative and thus wrong. For that matter, the sound described in (3) might not be the jingling of chains at all, but merely 'something like' it (and what could that be, and what would that mean?). And if the sound is in fact the jingling of chains, what does that jingling mean? Is the madman dancing, or trying to beat his head against the wall, or restlessly flailing around?

Whoever the speaker is, he invites us to imagine an unbearably wretched predicament-- that of a mad young man whose only way of reacting to the coming of spring could be a jingling of his chains. But of course, Mir also makes it clear that we may be entirely misunderstanding the situation. Even the basic facts may be wrong, for we may not actually hear the jingling of chains; and even if we do hear it, our guess about what it means may be far from the truth.

Thanks to the little thorns of ambiguity provided by shaayad and kii sii and the 'A,B' structure, Mir gets us both coming and going: we feel for the wretched prisoner, we imagine his plight-- but we also uneasily wonder if that's what is really going on. (Could it be something even more terrible?) The verse offers us something uninterpretable like a 'gesture'-- except that we don't even know if the 'gesture' has really occurred at all.

For another verse that more specifically deduces from a madman's behavior the possible coming of spring, see

{1579,2}.

For further discussion of 'springtime' versus the rainy season, see:

G{49,4}.

Note for grammar fans: In the case of diivaanah hai javaan , we could perfectly well read it either way: either 'the madman is young' or 'the young man is mad'. In the latter case, the observer would be distressed by some young man's visibly mad behavior, and would be muttering ominously about how this bodes ill-- 'perhaps it's because of the spring, but before long he'll have to be locked up-- alas, one can already hear in one's mind ('something like') the clinking of chains!'. This isn't as rich as the other reading, but there's no reason it shouldn't rank as a small but piquant trail branching off from the main roads.