naa-;haq ham majbuuro;N par yih tuhmat hai mu;xtaarii kii
chaahte hai;N so aap kare;N hai;N ham ko ((aba;s bad-naam kiyaa

1) unjust is this slander/allegation of independence/authority, against us oppressed ones!
2) whatever you want, you do-- you've uselessly/frivolously defamed us!



((aba;s : 'In vain, uselessly, bootlessly, idly, absurdly'. (Platts p.758)


abas : 'Unsubmissive to another's will, disobedient; unrestrained; unsubdued; not under control: not having one's own free will; in subjection to another; helpless, powerless; without choice'. (Platts p.4)


bad-naam : 'Of bad repute, disreputable, infamous, ignominious; defamed, calumniated'. (Platts p.139)

S. R. Faruqi:

A famous verse of Dard's is:

vaabastah hai hamii;N se gar jabr hai agar qadr
majbuur hai;N to ham hai;N mu;xtaar hai;N to ham hai;N

[it rests with us alone, whether it is oppression or power
if there are oppressed ones, then we are they; if there are powerful ones, then we are they]

But in Mir's verse there's informality and naturalness, which is based on everyday words like naa-;haq , tuhmat , mu;xtaarii , so aap kare;N hai;N . Dard's first line is very loose (although the doubt-- if there's tyranny and if there's oppression-- is also very fine). And in his second line too there's only a claim. Mir, in saying 'whatever you want, you do', brought in a proof. Then in ham ko ((aba;s bad-naam kiyaa there's also a darvesh-like, or rather qalandar-like, mischievousness.

Nasikh too has tried to use the theme of oppression and power in an innovative and clever way, but in his case the style is artificial, the rhythm uneven, and the words devoid of affinity:

chalaa ((adam se mai;N jabra:n to bol u;Thii taqdiir
balaa me;N pa;Rne ko kuchh i;xtiyaar letaa jaa

[when I forcibly came out of nonexistence, then Fate spoke up:
'take with you some power to fall into disaster, as you go']

It's obvious that 'to speak up' is here very unsuitable. 'Whatever you want, you do' alludes to a verse of the Qur'an in which the Lord has said about himself that whatever he wants, he at once does.



The real complaint of this 'oppressed one' is not that he's oppressed, or that the person he's speaking to (surely the beloved) has all the power and he has none. Rather, his complaint is that he has been insulted, he's been defamed, for he's been accused of having independence or authority. Not only is that claim false (since in fact he has no such thing), but-- far worse, apparently-- the accusation is offensive, it's 'unjust', it makes him 'disgraced' or 'notorious' [bad-naam] in a way that he seems to take quite seriously.

The lover/speaker considers it his duty to be humble, submissive, powerless, and to have no will of his own; if he is so thoroughly humble, he will, so to speak, be proud of himself. By submitting utterly to the caprices of the beloved he does his duty as a lover; he wants her, and everybody else, to recognize his properly radical 'oppressedness'.

Thus it's extremely vexatious to him when she makes such a slanderous charge. It's unjust, it's disgraceful, it's frivolous and absurd; he actually devotes the whole verse to scolding her for such behavior. In other words, she can wield all the power, but she mustn't claim that she doesn't wield all the power. (He can't stop her from making such a false claim, but he can certainly protest vigorously against the injustice of it.)

There's also a kind of wonderful 'sound effect', in the form of a homonym: the Hindi word abas ('non' + 'control') means: 'unsubmissive to another's will, disobedient; unrestrained; unsubdued; not under control: not having one's own free will; in subjection to another; helpless, powerless; without choice' (see the definition above). Thus the same word means both 'unrestrained', like the wilful, slanderous beloved (who's not under anyone's control); and 'powerless' like the lover (who's not under his own control). I don't claim that Mir thought of this word, though it's such a common little one that it's easy to believe that he probably knew it . But the fact that it sounds exactly like ((aba;s , and that its two meanings encapsulate the power relations described in the verse, make it a perfect final adornment for the verse.