;Tuu;Ttii;N phuu;Ttii;N nah kaash aa;Nkhe;N
karte in ra;xno;N hii se na:z:zaarah

1) if only the eyes did not burst and split!
2) we would have a look/view through only/emphatically these cracks/crevices



;Tuu;Tnaa : 'To be broken, fractured, cracked, damaged, &c.; to be severed, sundered, dissolved (as a partnership); to break, snap in two, burst, fail'. (Platts p.360)


phuu;Tnaa : 'To be broken, to be broken into; to be broken down; to be dispersed, be separated, be detached; to separate; to be unpaired; to break, crack, split, burst'. (Platts p.292)


ra;xnah : 'Breach (in a wall, &c.), fracture, hole, perforation, gap, crevice, chink, notch (in a sword, &c.), crack, flaw'. (Platts p.590)


na:z:zaarah : 'Sight, view, look, show; inspection; —amorous glance, ogling'. (Platts p.1142)

S. R. Faruqi:

On the last day of a lifetime, when a person is inclined toward self-pity and discouragement, it would seem that the kind of themes ought to come to mind are those of the coldness/sorrow of death, and so on. Especially when it's a poet like Mir, who is widely believed to have kept on doing nothing but weeping all his life. But as usual, in this case too the situation is just the opposite: even at the end of his life the speaker is lively, and his temperament is free from melancholy. He is not sorry for the loss of his eyes because a lack of eyes causes a person extremely heavy hardship/incapacity. His regret is that if he had his eyes, then he would be able to have a view of the beloved.

Then, he's called the eyes ra;xnah . That is, he hasn't accorded much respect and value to them either. They are only 'cracks/crevices' in the wall, or crevice-work [rauzan] in the door, through which he can glimpse the beloved. Moreover, he hasn't merely mentioned the eyes' 'bursting', but has also mentioned their 'splitting'. This has several meanings: (1) Constant weeping caused the eyes to burst, and whatever was left in the eyes after the wounds made by the stones thrown by children of the bazaar, finally broke down. (2) The eyes burst and split-- that is, length of life and excess of usage caused the eyes gradually to go. For example, we say un bartano;N ko tum kyaa puuchhte ho , vuh to kab ke ;Tuu;T phuu;T ga))e . That is, this all happened by chance and by long daily use. (3) The Persian idiom chashm shikastan means to become blind (Steingass). Thus the eyes burst-- that is, I became blind; then the eyes split-- that is, they were wounded in such a way that they completely broke down.

He said all this and didn't even shed a tear; rather, he maintained a tone of good cheer and liveliness. In the style, informality comes through so naturally and easily that after such a verse, if we read the poetry of Atish and Yaganah in which this style has been used, then the difference is like that between 'camel-coquetry' [shutur-;Gamze] and the dance of a peacock. Although indeed, in Zafar Iqbal's witty verses, there's sometimes a Mir-like gleam. For example, on the theme of weakness of the eyes, Zafar Iqbal has a verse:

((ainak diije agar badalvaa
roz aa))e na:zar nayaa hii jalvah

[if the glasses would be changed
every day there would be seen, a new glory/appearance]

The only difference is that in Zafar Iqbal (in such verses) there's very little self-directed sarcasm. The feeling also arises that Zafar Iqbal is happy to see his target show agitation and, on being wounded, writhe helplessly. In his poetry the sarcasm and wit has no ambiguity. It's clear which people, or which kind of people, are his target. For example, in his verse above, the sarcasm is directed against those people who keep searching for romance and colorfulness in life, who have the half-baked opinion that all around them is a world of possibilities of romantic (and unromantic) success. Or again, in that verse the sarcasm is directed against those people who think that it's very easy to see.

By contrast, in Mir's verse the sarcasm is directed against himself, against the beloved, against the affairs of passion, against everything-- and then, besides sarcasm there's so much else. Helplessness, anger and sorrow at helplessness, a strange ascetic kind of carelessness, a commentary on the whole of life (the life of the speaker, and of other courageous people like himself).

Seemingly this verse is very ordinary, but in reality it is unfathomable, because we remain unable to decide whether the speaker is serious, or is only jesting-- and if he's serious, then what his tone is. In it regret, carelessness, sarcasm, raillery, a style of being defeated but refusing to accept defeat, instead of regret at being harmed an obstinacy-- there is all this, and at the same time.

Verses like this are particularly numerous in Mir's poetry, and they fly in the face of the common but unreal image of Mir-- or rather, to compare them with that stereotype is almost impossible.



Here is a verse that provides absolutely no context for itself. Why do the eyes burst and split, what is the situation? We aren't given even a clue. To me, the obvious key to the verse is the eyes as ra;xnah , 'breach in a wall, gap, crevice, chink' (see the definition above). In fact when I first read the verse I predicted that SRF would focus on that word, and perhaps even remind us that a fresh word is equal to a theme. Instead, he reads it simply as dismissive of the eyes.

It's clear in the first line that something fairly dire happens to the eyes, and that the speaker wishes that it wouldn't. The contrafactual is in the present tense-- the speaker regrets that the eyes 'burst and split', not that they 'have burst and split'. If the eyes didn't so radically implode, then the speaker 'would have a look/view through these cracks/crevices'. Of course the eyes are the 'cracks/crevices', and indeed the word ra;xnah could be read as sneering at them for their inadequacy-- they resemble not so much spheres as little hollow holes or cracks in the face.

But ra;xnah as 'breach in a wall', as 'crevice' or 'gap' or 'chink', offers in addition the far more provocative possibility that the eyes might be a way to peer through a wall, to get a glimpse of something that is otherwise forbidden or unavailable. If the eyes didn't break down, we would use them to peer through the gaps that they themselves represent, and see through and beyond. Through and beyond the wall of the beloved's house, to spy on her dazzling beauty? Of course, and then the heat and radiance of that beauty itself causes the eyes to implode. Or better yet, through and beyond the 'wall' of the physical universe, to whatever lies behind it. Whatever lies on the far side of that wall destroys our (physical) eyes; would any Sufi be surprised at such an idea?

The eyes are proverbially the windows of the soul, and windows, like breaches in a wall, admit of two-way traffic. We 'see through' our eyes, but our eyes also 'see through' things. The use of hii calls additional attention to them. It is 'only' or 'emphatically' through the crevices or wall-breaches of our eyes that we might hope for a glimpse of something beyond everything in our world. That hope is defeated, as the verse ruefully but undauntedly admits, only when our eyes suffer a final meltdown.