Ghazal 30, Verse 2


hai ek tiir jis me;N dono;N chhide pa;Re hai;N
vuh din ga))e kih apnaa dil se jigar judaa thaa

1) it's a single arrow, in which both are lying [in a state of having been] pierced
2) those days have gone, when my liver was separate from the heart


chhidnaa : 'To be pierced, to be bored'. (Platts p.461)


That is, those days are gone when the heart was in its place, and the liver was in its place. (30)

== Nazm page 30

Bekhud Dihlavi:

Mirza Sahib has versified/'tied' this theme in one more opening-verse: {158,1}. In that verse too, the arrow means the arrow of the glance. (60)

Bekhud Mohani:

Now the heart too is prey to the beloved's arrow of coquetry, and the liver too; that is, love has already had its full effect. (76)


ARCHERY: {6,2}
JIGAR: {2,1}

ABOUT THE LIVER AND HEART: We've only seen a few jigar , 'liver', examples before, and most of those were in passing, or went by pretty quickly while we concentrated on the heart. So let this verse be the one where we pause and consider that bane of translators, the 'liver'. It is impossible to make it sound other than absurd and/or edible in English, and yet it's a mainstay of the ghazal poetic repertoire. Translators usually just try to substitute 'heart' for liver, which is defensible in a general way. But in verses like this present one (and {20,4}, and {35,7}), a necessary contrast is drawn between heart and liver, so that strategy can't work.

In ghazal physiology, the liver is the organ that makes fresh blood; thus it's an emblem of fortitude, steadfastness, endurance over time. The heart, by contrast is always consuming blood: bleeding constantly, pumping blood to the eyes so the lover can weep tears of blood, and then tearing itself into fragments as a sign of its proper lover-like self-destruction. For the heart to be done for is an initial state of passion, since more blood can be sent along from the liver. But when the liver is finished, the game is up.

Verses in which both the heart and liver appear include: {7,4}; {17,7}; {20,4}; {30,2}; {35,1}; {35,4}; {35,6}; {51,6x}; {61,9x}; {62,6}; {78,3}; {85,5}; {99,1}; {158,1}; {176,6}; {204,6}.

After the dramatic but unresolved first line, the second line is so plain and low-key, with such a words-of-one-syllable quality, that it can hardly help but be moving, in the style of that other brilliantly and poignantly simple verse, {4,6}. I don't know why it's jis me;N ; I would think jis se would sound better.

There's some clever wordplay (of a kind that markedly evokes the present verse) about the two organs in {4,14x}. The contrast between them is lightly alluded to in {20,4}, when the lover realizes that if the arrow had not lodged in the heart but gone through the liver, he'd be done for. And consider {35,4} and especially {35,6}, in which the lover gets annoyed with his heart precisely for its lack of stamina, and thinks fondly of his liver. In {85,5}, he recognizes that both of them are done for, and his blood-weeping days are over.

In the present verse, the lover is so wrecked, his liver is so implicated in constantly supplying blood to his ravaged heart, that the two are almost part of a single seamless import/export complex for blood. (Or, metaphorically, the lover is so close to exhaustion and death that his liver is indistinguishable from his heart and both are equally vulnerable.) Both heart and liver have been split open with a single arrow.

But is the lover sorry, self-pitying, lamenting? Not a bit of it. He's making a flat report, and maybe with only partly concealed pride. He has followed his chosen path nearly to the end, and he has exactly the right wounds to prove it. He's like a duellist with a scar down his whole face, who is proud to carry around physical proof that at the crucial moment he didn't flinch.

Note for grammar fans: Here apnaa can't mean, as it theoretically should, 'pertaining to the subject of the sentence'. So we have to take it as short for kisii kaa apnaa , 'someone's own'; and the strong conventions of the ghazal lead us to read the 'someone' as the speaker (=the lover). For more on this see {15,12}.

On the translation of ga))e as 'have gone', see {38,1}.