naa-kaamii-e .sad ;hasrat ;xvush lagtii nahii;N varnah
ab jii se gu;zar jaanaa kuchh kaam nahii;N rakhtaa

1) the disappointment/unsuccess of a hundred longings doesn't seem good-- otherwise
2) now, to pass from life isn't any difficult task



naa-kaamii : 'Disappointment; unsuccessfulness; discontent'. (Platts p.1111)

S. R. Faruqi:

kaam nahii;N rakhtaa = is not difficult

To give one's life isn't any difficult thing, but it also doesn't seem desirable that hundreds of longings would become unsuccessful; or that, taking hundreds of longings in his heart with him, he would remain unsuccessful (because if he would die, then forever and ever they'd remain unsuccessful). Along with an extremity of unsuccessfulness there's a strange dignity, and along with carelessness about life there's an urge to remain alive. Because if he would remain alive, then it wouldn't be strange if some longing would be fulfilled. Probably ;xvush lagnaa is a translation of the Persian ;xvush aamadan (to be pleasing); and kaam nahii;N rakhtaa , of the Persian kaar-e na-vaarid (it is not easy). Neither of these translations became accepted into Urdu. But the affinity of naa-kaamii and kaam nahii;N rakhtaa is very fine.

In the verse there's also a sarcastic aspect, that the speaker is preferring life over death-- on the basis of a dislike for the unsuccessfulness of a hundred longings. But it's not at all necessary that, despite a long life, the longings would become successful. In any case, it's a very fine aspect of the verse that he hasn't accepted life because of an ardor for living, but rather it's a stubbornness, it's a point of pride, that the unsuccessfulness of a hundred longings doesn't please him, therefore he's alive.

[See also {431,7}.]



SRF has done an elegant job in describing the arrogance, the disdain for life, the general moodiness of the verse. There's also the little 'now' at the beginning of the second line, which sums up something like a lifetime of vain longings-- time for the whole hundred of them to settle in the heart and then, for all the intensity of yearning, to fail of fulfillment. After this kind of disheartening experience, what motive would there be (other than sheer perversity) for going on living? The idea of death as jii se gu;zar jaanaa sounds so inviting-- just to slip away from life the way one might gratefully escape from a really tedious party.

For more on kaam , see {7,1}.

Note for grammar fans: In the first line the feminine ;hasrat is actually in the singular, yet there are 'a hundred' of them. Should we take .sad-;hasrat as adjectival, so that the izafat phrase would mean a 'hundred-longinged disappointment/unsuccess'? Or should we just consider that Mir is playing fast and loose with grammar rules? I'm not sure.