ul;Tii ho ga))ii;N sab tadbiire;N kuchh nah davaa ne kaam kiyaa
dekhaa is biimaarii-e dil ne aa;xir kaam tamaam kiyaa

1) all plans/devices became reversed/overturned; medicine didn't do any work
2) did you see? --this sickness of heart finally {finished [me/him] off / did all the work}



tadbiir : 'Forethought, judgment; deliberation, counsel; opinion, advice; expedient, contrivance, plan, device; provision, management, arrangement, ordering, conduct, regulation; policy, prudence; skill'. (Platts p.314)


kaam : '(Indic) Action, act, deed, work, doing, handiwork, performance; work, labour, duty, task, job; business, occupation, employment, office, function; operation, undertaking, transaction, affair, matter, thing, concern, interest ; —a hard task, a difficult matter; a feat; object, end, purport; ... —service, use; serviceableness, fitness (for)'. (Platts p.804)


kaam : '(Sanskrit) Inclination, wish, desire, longing, inordinate desire; affection, love, passion; sexual passion; lust; love of pleasure; the object of desire or love'. (Platts p.804)


kaam : '(Persian) Desire, wish; design, intention; --the palate'. (Platts p.805)


tamaam karnaa : 'To perfect; to complete, finish, end, conclude, bring to a close (at, or by, - par ), put an end to (a business, or life, &c., e.g. us kaa kaam tamaam kiyaa )'. (Platts p.336)

S. R. Faruqi:

He has also used this theme rather well in


but in the present verse, in both dekhaa and aa;xir there's such 'dramaticness [;Draamaa))iyat], and in the whole verse a tone with two aspects, or rather three aspects, has come about so excellently that this verse is deservedly famous.

If we read it in one tone, then the speaker of the verse is talking to himself. If we read it in another tone, then the speaker is someone else-- for example, a friend of that person whom passion finished off. If we read it in a third tone, then the speaker is a nurse or physician of the disease of passion. See {74,3}.

[See also {277,1}; {1806,1}.]



Well, this early in the first divan we come to one of Mir's most famous ghazals. Moreover, this is the first ghazal we've encountered in the special, unusual 'Hindi meter' (also known as 'Mir's meter'), which is quite rare this early; most of his ghazals in this meter occurs in later divans. (For discussion of this meter, see *Urdu meter: a practical handbook*, Chapter 6.) Because I taught this ghazal for so many years and am so fond of it, I've decided to comment on all the verses myself; the ones SRF has not chosen for SSA, and thus has not commented on, have their numbers enclosed in square brackets.

The conspicuous wordplay (and meaning-play too of course) with kaam ought to be mentioned as well. In the first line, medicine did no 'work' . In the second line, the heart-sickness literally literally 'did all the work'-- or, idiomatically 'finished his work' (in English we have the equally idiomatic 'finished him off'). See the definitions above for details; the Persian sense of kaam as 'desire' can hardly help but hover over such wordplay as well. When medicine doesn't 'work', but a disease does 'work', no wonder all plans/devices have been 'reversed'. Only in retrospect do we realize how literally we are meant to take that first word of the verse.

About kaam : Of all the protean, multivalent words that Mir loves to use, kaam has to be near, if not at, the top of the charts. In addition to the usual sense that centers on 'work', and a secondary (Sanskritic and Persian) sense of 'erotic desire', there's also an enjoyable third one: 'palate' or 'throat' (see the definitions above). This latter sense is not so common, but it's far from nonexistent. For Ghalibian examples of kaam , see G{22,6}. More of Mir's verses that play on the possibilities of kaam : {26,6}; {36,3}; {80,7}; {96,7}; {96,9} (with the 'throat' meaning too); {132,1}; {185,4}; {291,1}; {429,4}; {490,3}; {564,1}; {617,5}; {693,7}; {813,1}; {992,2}*; {1162,2}; {1339,1}; {1463,1}; {1542,1}; {1582,5} (with triple meanings).

'Dramaticness': This verse is the first for which SRF uses the term 'dramaticness' [;Draamaa))iyat]. As can be seen from the Terms index, 'dramaticness' is an important quality that SRF sees in Mir. He never defines it, but when I asked him about it (July 2013), he elaborated:

'As for the dramatic quality in Mir, there are two things:

Very often, the verse assumes, or presents, two, or three, or more participants, or characters who are part of the narrative. This quality I have found but rarely in other poets.

The narrative starts in a routine way, then there's a sudden jerk and a new element is introduced. For example:


Even among the 'Sabk-i Hindi' [Persian] poets, there is no one else to my knowledge except Sa'ib, and Khusrau among the earliest ones, who have this quality. These three are able to imagine a ghazal world which has more people than just the routine lover, beloved, Preacher, Advisor.'

See also {1589,1}, for a discussion of a special sort of all-over musical effect that SRF finds in some ghazals; he later adds this present ghazal to the group of examples.