nigaah barq nahiN, chehra aaftaab nahiN

woh aadmi hai magar dekhne ki taab nahiN

- Jaleel Manikpuri, Fasahat Jung 'Jaleel'(1866-1946)

A prosaic rendering would be...

(His gaze is not lightning, face not the resplendent sun

He's a human being, but one cannot brace oneself to face him)

Jaleel Hasan, 'Jaleel' Manikpuri hailed from Lucknow and was mentored by the great Ameer Minai. He travelled to Hyderabad with Ameer and was eventually appointed by the sixth Nizam, Mir Mahboob Ali Khan, as his teacher. He succeeded the great Daagh Dehlavi as the Nizam's teacher.

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After the demise of the sixth Nizam of the Asif Jahi dynasty, popularly known in erstwhile Hyderabad Deccan as Mahboob Ali Pasha, in 1911, Ustad Jaleel continued to be the guide and teacher of the seventh Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan. He was honoured with the title 'Fasahat Jung' for his command over the pristine purity of the language.

At one obvious level, the couplet cited here can be seen as a verse in praise of the beauty of the beloved. However, it is often interpreted as a 'naatiya' shair or a couplet written in praise of the Holy Prophet. The latter explanation makes it an exquisite verse and lends singular depth to Jaleel's flight of imagination and poetic expression.

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