jiite jaagte ab tak to hai;N lekin jaise murdah hai;N
ya((nii be-dam sust bahut hai;N ;hasrat se be-;xvaabii kii

1) we are living-and-moving till now, but we are like a corpse
2) that is, we are weak/exhausted/'breath-less', very languid/sluggish, from the sorrow/longing of sleeplessness



;hasrat : 'Grief, regret, intense grief or sorrow; —longing, desire'. (Platts p.477)

S. R. Faruqi:

About being awake at night, Mir has composed a very excellent ghazal. One verse of it is, from the fourth divan [{1361,4}],

raat ko jis me;N chain se sove;N so to us kii judaa))ii me;N
sham((a nama:t jalte rahte hai;N aur hame;N khaatii hai raat

[at night, in which people would sleep peacefully-- in separation from her
like a candle we keep burning, and the night consumes us]

But I didn't take even one verse from this ghazal into the intikhab. In the discussion of


there's a verse of Nasir Kazmi's about sleeplessness; it too is fine. Nevertheless, in the present verse the images Mir has used to show the effect of wakefulness at night, and the theme he has brought out-- it will be hard to find a 'reply' to them.

First of all let's consider the ;hasrat of sleeplessness. Apparently the meaning seems clear. A 'longing, desire' of sleeplessness. But ;hasrat is also used with the meaning of 'despair' or 'sorrow'. And here this meaning is intended-- that because of continuous nights of waking, the speaker's heart has filled with sorrow and despair, and now he has already despaired of living.

Then look-- in the first line he has called himself jiitaa jaagtaa , which is ordinarily used for something full of life, moving, responsive. Here, jiitaa (because of the death-like sleeplessness) and jaagtaa (in the context of continuous sleeplessness) have become the bearers of an uncommon power and ironic tension.

In the second line, be-dam means 'weak, very excessively tired'. But because of its affinity with jaise murdah hai;N in the first line, it also alludes to 'lifeless'. The word sust too has two meanings. A person who is asleep, or falling asleep, feels sust and weak/scattered. But from much sleeplessness too, the limbs and body-parts become sust . It's clear that here the second meaning is intended.

The word ;hasrat itself contains a sense of helplessness and unreality/insubstantiality. The whole verse is pervaded by a mood of disorderedness, of insubstantiality, of the yawn after yawn, of sleeplessness; of weakness in the limbs; of the imbalance of bodily forces from lack of sleep.

Baudelaire's 'spleen' poem comes to mind. The same intensity, the same gathering of images, the same human helplessness and the coercion of his own temperament. During Baudelaire's last sickness, he couldn't sleep. Eyewitnesses reported that he lay in bed for two or three days at a stretch, quiet and motionless, as though asleep. But his eyes remained open. Some people said that during the last two days of his life, he perhaps also slept in this way, with his eyes open.

Now please read Mir's verse again. In those last days, if Baudelaire had been able to speak, then perhaps he would have spoken in Mir's very language.



I have nothing special to add.