DO WE REALLY NEED AN INTRODUCTION? == You probably came to this site through my main website, and you've probably looked at the Ghalib site already, so perhaps I don't need to say much by way of a general introduction. If you don't know much about the classical Urdu ghazal, please do start with the Ghalib site. It will be better as a jumping-off point than this one.

'A GARDEN OF KASHMIR' == In the verse from which the name of this project is taken, I translate gulshan-e kashmiir as 'a garden of Kashmir'. S. R. Faruqi would prefer (August 2003) 'the garden that is Kashmir', since that would provide 'extra meaning' (by suggesting size, elaboration, and the combination of natural and man-made qualities) and would also correspond better to normal Urdu i.zaafat usage in cases like this. I agree with him that an equational reading would be the normal, least-marked usage in Urdu, but my reading is also grammatically sound. After all, Kashmir not only 'is' a garden, but 'has' gardens too (chief among them Jahangir's famous Shalimar Bagh), and the i.zaafat construction is easily multivalent enough to permit both readings. My reading also makes for a more evocative title, I think. Does it mean a garden that is located in Kashmir? A garden of a special type that is characteristic of Kashmir (with all the qualities mentioned by Faruqi)? A metaphorical garden that evokes Kashmir in some crucial way? In short, I hope the title can work somewhat the way 'A Desertful of Roses' does.



PRESENTING MIR'S GHAZALS == It's a very different problem from that posed by Ghalib. In the case of Ghalib, we have a small (published) divan of 234 ghazals, handpicked and edited by the poet himself, discussed obsessively by many dozens of commentators for well over a century.

In Mir's case we have a huge body of primary-source material-- six divans [diivaan], totaling 1,916 ghazals-- from which no shorter selection was ever made by the poet himself. And though we have many later anthologies or selections [inti;xaab], we have no commentarial tradition at all. The only serious commentary that exists, as far as I know, is Shamsur Rahman Faruqi's four-volume one, which itself is based only on his own selection of the best of the poetry. This invaluable work is the foundation of the commentarial part of this project. In fact this whole 'garden of Kashmir' project is dedicated to Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, my ustad, collaborator, and dear friend for my whole scholarly career, without whom it could never have taken shape at all.

Fortunately, some pages on the Ghalib site will not need to be replicated. In particular, the overview page called *About the Genre* (as it develops over time), and the page on *Transliteration*,  will serve for both sites. *Urdu Meter: A Practical Handbook* will be even more valuable for Mir, since he's far more metrically adventurous than Ghalib. The 'Names' and 'Terms' indices for the two poets will be somewhat linked, with the Ghalib ones treated as primary.

In general, the Mir commentary assumes that the reader already has some background. Fewer names and terms in individual verses are hyperlinked to the indices, and more references are left unexplained. The basic reason for this practice is that the vastly greater amount of poetry means that the structure of the site has to be more complex, and moving up and down the layers is more cumbersome, so making hyperlinks becomes more time-consuming. Moreover, since I would never live long enough to do the whole kulliyaat , there can't be even the hope of any kind of systematic indexing of things.

So I decided to be more free-form in dealing with Mir than with Ghalib. I've translated almost all of Faruqi's commentary ('SSA'), mostly quite literally but sometimes with a bit of flexibility. For example, I've made many more paragraph breaks than he does in the Urdu. And I've generally omitted the texts of the Persian verses he often supplies, and have generally confined myself to (re)translating his translations from the Persian. Within his commentary, all expressions in parentheses are his own, and all those in square brackets are my explanatory insertions. Sometimes he provides his own English terms or translations (examples: {602,6}; {1024,4}); I haven't arranged any systematic way to show these cases clearly, so for real authenticity of such details it's best to consult SSA itself. I have also replaced many of his Perso-Arabic grammatical terms with simpler descriptions of the structure in question. In some cases I have slightly paraphrased, compressed, or rearranged his commentary for readability. Since SSA (2nd ed.) is now online, it can easily be consulted; and serious researchers will certainly want to get hold of the third edition (which contains some new material here and there).

I have not followed SRF's practice of sometimes assembling verses from two different formally identical ghazals and presenting them together; all verses have been presented as parts of the ghazals in which Mir originally placed them, and I have arranged and adjusted SRF's commentary accordingly. And of course, I follow the main modern Abbasi-Mahfuz kulliyat numbering system, not the ad hoc system that is peculiar to SSA. I have also fixed many small errors of calligraphy and other such little glitches in SSA, without bothering to indicate them. (I have SRF's authorization to make such small changes.) If you want to correlate the kulliyat numbers with the SSA numbers, here's the chart.

The title of SRF's commentary, shi((r-e shor-angez , comes from {1543,6}:

har varaq har .saf;he me;N ik shi((r-e shor-angez hai
((ar.sah-e ma;hshar hai ((aar.sah mere bhii diivaan kaa

[in every page, every line, is a single/particular/unique/excellent tumult-creating verse
the scope of Doomsday is the scope of even/also my divan]

After translating SRF's comments on each verse, I've then added my own thoughts, and explained or discussed various terms and concepts as the spirit moved me. In a few cases-- which are clearly marked-- I've added to the website verses, or a ghazal, that were not included in SSA.

Sometimes SRF selects for commentary a number of verses from a single ghazal, and sometimes just a few (usually a minimum of three, as explained in {380,6}); in these cases he normally includes the opening-verse. But he often chooses only a single verse. (For SRF's account of his own working methods, see {1502,1}.) My policy is that when half or more of the verses in a ghazal have been selected for SSA, I present the text of the whole ghazal. I also do this when I have provided translations for that ghazal. Otherwise I present only the selected verses. Fortunately the whole set of Mir's six divans of ghazals is available online through rekhta.org, thanks to the wonderful work of Sanjiv Saraf and his collaborators.

SRF generally uses the traditional terms of Indo-Persian poetics-- though not exclusively, since he's added terms like 'dramaticness' [;Draamaa))iyat]. For various reasons (including impatience, ineptitude, and ruthless practicality) I haven't engaged too much with traditional Indo-Persian poetic terms either in the Ghalib website, or here. I've found it more helpful to start from the ground up, and invent my own terminology as I need it. The SETS and MOTIFS pages are basically mine; the NAMES page is (mostly) objective; the TERMS page largely reflects SRF's critical vocabulary (which is traditional, but of course inflected through his own literary-theoretical views). Naturally, I too sometimes use this vocabulary.

Many minor issues of script representation come up: badil versus the more informative bah dil ; ke liye versus ke li))e ; aa))iinah as a fixed spelling versus aa))inah to show scansion where appropriate, etc. I've tried to resolve these with a bias toward whatever would be most helpful to a student. I've shown izafats where they are required, and where they are optional but seem the better reading; I've also shown metrically-caused changes through the spelling of the relevant words. For the same reason I've thrown in many teacher-ish grammatical and metrical explanations.

And of course, my translations are the very reverse of stand-alone literary creations-- they are aimed entirely at opening up the Urdu for you and pulling you into the original poem itself. Perfect consistency of every detail in a project this large and long-term is impossible, so I've sought to do a 'good enough' job, and to ensure that the inevitable small inconsistencies won't be of a kind to cause any real misunderstandings.

If you wonder why so many examples of traditional (and 'garden'-like) North Indian zardozi embroidery are embedded in the site, I could reply that these visual appetizers are a kind of introductory celebration of the poetry. But the real reason is that I love them; they refresh and delight me as I do this difficult work. It's a pleasure to share them, and I hope you too will enjoy them. Here's a look at how they are made.



THE GHAZAL INDEX ITSELF == The whole ghazal tradition is not attuned to indices; it's sometimes even hostile to them. It favors memorization, oral recitation and discussion, deep intimacy with a smaller number of poets, rather than efficient, rationalized access to a large number of texts. There has never been anything like a complete, well-organized on-line index of all Mir's ghazals. So one of the purposes of this project is to provide one. The *Ghazal Index* page for Mir is far more complicated than the one for Ghalib, but apart from that, the two kinds of indices that are provided are basically the same as for Ghalib.

I began designing this site in the spring of 2003, and started to think of how it could develop; a sketchy outline form of it first went on line in early July 2003. When I got hold of the new gold-standard kulliyaat in fall 2003, the indexing could begin in earnest. Making these two indices (the divan-based main one, and the rhyming-elements-based rational one) was a really horrible ordeal combining boredom and nuktah-chiinii in the most annoying way imaginable. The only thing that kept me going was stubbornness, and the realization that half an index was no use-- and how could I stand to waste all that work? I'm passionately glad it's over, as of January 7, 2006. I worked on it mostly while visiting my mother in Little Rock, Arkansas, and it was her patience, love, and cheerful support that made it (barely) endurable.

The two main indices on this site (divan-ordered and refrain-alphabetical) can thus help you find out whether a ghazal ascribed to Mir is actually his, according to the best available scholarship. And if it is, from the divan-ordered index you'll have a bit of background information on it (meter, divan number, etc.), and you'll easily be able to locate it by number in the best current text of the kulliyat.

For Mir far more than for Ghalib, a 'finding tool' is itself a real contribution. In the past, comparative study of Mir's similar ghazals, and comparison of his verses with relevant ones by Ghalib and other poets, has been possible only for the most serious specialists. Now, that kind of study will be within the reach of interested people who have much less background. This democratization of access is something that I as a teacher value greatly. It's also a response to both new constraints (the supply of traditionally-educated ahl-e zabaan has virtually dried up) and new opportunities (who could have imagined the wonders of the internet as a knowledge-sharing tool?).

In particular, the radiif (and qaafiyah ) index of Mir's poetry goes way beyond anything that has ever existed before, toward providing access for people who don't already know the poetry well.

The FIRST STAGE of the project thus consisted of indexing all 1,916 ghazals by first verse in two different ways, and providing a little basic information about each ghazal (number of verses; meter; which verses have been included in Shi'r-e shor-angez).



COMMENTARY == The SECOND STAGE, the commentary part, began on February 2, 2007. After doing only a handful of ghazals, however, I stopped work. This was partly because Ghalib's unpublished ghazals were calling out to me; but I was also intimidated by the difficulty and sheer scale of the Mir project. Only on May 12, 2010, did I resume work on the commentary for real. I then went through the four volumes of SSA, correlating its verses with the new kulliyaat, translating SRF's commentary, adding my own, and adjusting the indices as I went along. Vol. 2 of SSA was finished on Jan. 11, 2015. Vol. 3 of SSA was finished on Dec. 11, 2016. Vol. 4 of SSA was finished on January 25, 2018. When this first pass-through was finished, I did a second pass-through, for editing, cleaning up errors, and adding any new thoughts. (It felt like a kind of 'victory lap'.) It was finished on September 25, 2018. After that I went back to Ghalib for a while. Over the summer of 2021 Zahra Sabri and I began our special translation project, inspired by SRF's work. On Nov. 18, 2021, I began a third pass-through, for minor revisions of course but mostly for pleasure; this was completed on Sept. 11, 2022.


=on 'dramaticness': {7,1}
=on 'iham': {178,1}
=on verses where one line does all the work: {292,6}
=on problems of 'mood' or 'tone': {724,2}
=on the question of humor: {485,7}
=an excellent credo: {736,1}
=on 'meaning': {265,5}; {770,7}
=on erroneous or false attributions: {1015,1}; see also {1783,3}
=on 'East' versus 'West': {1336,7}
=on 'natural poetry' readings that may tend to creep in: {1337,2}
=on varied moods vs. single ones: {1373,3}
=on the tempting (mis)uses of punctuation: {1507,5}
=on terminology and its discontents: {1579,3}
=on special 'musical' ghazals (SRF): {1589,1}
=on controlling the multiplicity of meanings: {1507,1}
=on problems of establishing transmission and borrowing(?): {1725,6}
=on the beloved as speaker: {1815,3}

SRF on (dubious) technical and ideological criticisms by later 'Ustads':

{54,5} == on the use of 'entanglement of words' [ta((qiid-e laf:zii]; also {1723,1}*
{100,7} == on the use of ;xuun with a full nuun
{126,5} == on the omission of an i.zaafat (in pushtah-reg , 'sand-heap')
{236x,1} == on using the same word twice, with different meanings
{265,5} == on using a conjunctive vaa))o between clauses
{291,1} == on the folly of later, artificial 'rules' applied to the ghazal; also {1882,1}*
{336,2} == on very erroneous historical claims about iihaam
{383,6} == on 'improper breaking' [shikast-e naa-ravaa] within a meter; also {729,4}*
{471,7} == on the Progressives' preference for only one, politically correct meaning in a verse
{851,7} == on rhyming lagaa))iye dil with judaa))ii-e dil
{938,3} == on composing a verse in order to make use of a particular word
{949,5} == on Hasrat Mohani's thematic approach to the ghazal; also {1806,1}
{1024,1} == on the unfortunate rejection of izafats used with Indic words:
{1040,4} == on the value and desirability of translating/transcreating earlier verses; also {1589,9}
{1120,1} == on the legitimacy of humor in the ghazal
{1161,1} == on the cult of 'originality' and accusations of 'plagiarism' etc.
{1289,5} == on the undesirability of finding retrospective 'distasteful aspects'
{1317,4} == on the false claim that Lucknow poets used wordplay, Delhi poets disdained it
{1337,3} == on the later rejection of usages like ulfat-kushto;N ko
{1370,3} == on the narrowness of the 'Romantic' cult of radical originality
{1426,1} == on the view that the beloved's 'fair' complexion is European-influenced
{1450,6} == on Shibli's erroneously naturalistic view of metaphor and 'theme-creation'
{1471,6} == on the erroneous rhetorical categorization of kinds of 'padding'
{1537,4} == on rejecting liberties with scansion (e.g. rangii;N as long-short)
{1537,5} == on bursting blisters and other distasteful themes
{1582,1} == on Hasrat Mohani's self-invented rules about juxtaposition of sounds
{1706,5} == on Khvajah Manzur Husain's erroneous claims about the political views of the ghazal; also {1781,4}
{1778,6} == on the erroneous view that Mir's ghazals are autobiographical




For the project I'm using CSS style sheets developed by my friend and software-designer Gary Tubb, and relying on the same script-display program created by Sean Pue for the Ghalib site. I'm altogether grateful to them both, for making me such magnificent tools. Obviously this project would be nowhere without the fundamental work of Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, and his ongoing help and observations are a precious resource. Peter Hook generously helps me out with linguistic problems. Pasha Mohamad Khan and Owen Cornwall provide advice and encouragement. Mehr Farooqi, Zahra Sabri, Owais Syed, Yashowanto Ghosh, Aditya Pant, Shariq Khan, Saurabh Mangal, Ajay Tiwari, and Vatsal Sharma have helped me correct errors. I am also grateful as always to Columbia University, my academic home and the home of this project.