miir ke diin-o-ma;zhab ko ab puuchhte kyaa ho un ne to
qashqah khe;Nchaa dair me;N bai;Thaa kab kaa tark islaam kiyaa

1) why are you asking now about Mir's religion and sect? After all, he
2) put on a forehead-mark, sat down in a temple-- it's been ages since he renounced Islam!



qashqah : 'The sectarial mark made by the Hindus on the forehead with sandal, &c. (syn. ;Tiikaa )'. (Platts p.791)

S. R. Faruqi:

[See {546,1}; {611,5}.]



[This verse does not appear in SSA.]

I'm sorry SRF didn't make room for this one. Its great appeal is in the speaker's impatient tone: 'Have you been living under a rock? Don't you keep up on things at all? Why are you asking about such completely stale news, when all the gossip-mongers have long ago beaten it to death and moved on?' Any possible shock value of Mir's renouncing Islam is so completely negated by this irritably bored, more than ho-hum treatment that the effect is wonderfully funny. Mir's behavior is such old news! Give it a rest, why don't you? In my view this verse is, if read in an appropriately jaded and impatient tone, quite funny.

The crucial word in the first line is that little ab ; only in retrospect (after we've encountered the kab kaa ) do we realize that it's actually the pivot on which the whole verse turns.

And while we're enjoying verses about infidels, here's another, also not chosen by SRF, that I very much relish; it's {846,8}, from the second divan:

but chiiz kyaa kih jis ko ;xudaa maante hai;N sab
;xvush-i((tiqaad kitne hai;N hinduusitaa;N ke log

[what is an idol, that they all consider it to be the Lord!?
how well-believing are the people of Hindustan?!]

When we consider the multivalent possibilities of kyaa in the first line and kitne in the second line, it's easy to see that this verse can be read as an expression of wondering admiration for idol-worship (even though it may imply credulousness!), a sarcastic rejection of idol-worship, or a question about the nature and validity of idol-worship. Needless to say, in the context of the ghazal world the first possibility is much the most compelling; but the hovering presence of the others adds several layers of piquancy to the verse.

And as for the detailed description of Mir's becoming an infidel, here's another explicit endorsement of just such behavior, from the fifth divan [{1679,8}]:

dar pah ;haram ke kushuud nahii;N to dair me;N jaa kar kaafir ho
qashqah khe;Ncho pothii pa;Rho zunnaar gale se ba;Ndhaa))o tum

[if at the door of the Ka'bah there's no opening, then go into a temple and become an infidel,
put on a forehead-mark, read a holy book, have a sacred-thread tied around your neck]

And let's not forget


Note for grammar fans: I've translated the colloquial kab kaa as 'it's been ages since', but actually of course it's short for something like kab kaa vaaqi((ah hai kih , 'it's an event from when?'-- it's something so far in the past that its date doesn't even come to mind.