shab-e hijr me;N kam ta:zallum kiyaa
kih hamsaa))igaa;N par tara;h;hum kiyaa

1) in the night of separation, I did little lamenting/complaining/injury
2) for I showed mercy to the neighbors



ta:zallum : 'Complaining of the wrong-doing, injustice, or tyranny (of anyone); groaning under oppression; injustice, injury, oppression'. (Platts p.326)

S. R. Faruqi:

In the verse is a strange kind of dignity. On the one hand, there's helplessness to such an extent that we are compelled to lament; but thinking of the neighbors (that it will be a trouble to them) we complain little. Thus he says, we showed them mercy, and left them alone. Even in helplessness to pay such regard, is Mir's magic alone.

On this theme Khaqani has a peerless verse [in Persian]:

'When the neighbor heard my lament, then he said
'One more night has come to Khaqani'.'

See the discussion of this verse, and of Mir, in [SRF's book] shi((r ;Gair shi((r aur na;sr .

[See also G{31,1}.]



This is the first verse of a set that I plan to call, for want of a better name, 'neighbors'. It will consist of verses that reflect the common-sense, down-to-earth sensibilities of ordinary people. Such verses are a specialty of Mir's; as SRF has pointed out to me, nothing like this is to be found in Ghalib. Sometimes, as in the present verse, the lover thinks and speaks about the neighbors; at other times the voice of a neighbor thinks and speaks about, or to, the lover. Usually the neighbor's voice is sympathetic but pragmatic.

In this verse, the lover, unusually, talks about the neighbors. A more common example in which a neighbor talks to the lover, and in which SRF discusses such verses::


The range of ta:zallum is so enjoyably wide (see the definition above) that the first line could mean that the lover did not complain much about the injustices and cruelties he had suffered, and/or that he did not himself do much injustice or injury (by such complaining) to the neighbors.