ham be-;xvudaan-e ma;hfil-e ta.sviir ab ga))e
aa))indah ham se aap me;N aayaa nah jaa))egaa

1) we self-less ones of the gathering of the picture/image now have gone
2) in the future/'coming', by us the coming-to-ourselves will not be done/'gone'



ta.sviir : 'Picture; drawing; sketch; painting; portrait; an image'. (Platts p.326)


aa))indah : 'Coming, future, subsequent, ensuing, next; —in future, for the future, hereafter'. (Platts p.116)

S. R. Faruqi:

It's said that Mir's poetry is an aah [a sigh], and Sauda's poetry is a vaah [of admiration]. I consider this kind of commonplaces to be non-critical, but Muhammad Hasan Askari has called aah a Sufi term and has written that its intention is not sorrow and grief and despair, but rather 'a symbol of absolute passion and pain, that the tongue would be unable to express in words'. No doubt that must be so, but an indication of the individuality of Mir and Sauda cannot be made by means of these terms, because that sigh that Askari Sahib construes as a symbol of absolute passion and pain, can exist in other poets as well as Mir.

In practice, in order to examine the individuality of these two poets (that is, the special quality of their temperament), please place before Mir's present verse, this verse of Sauda's. The 'ground' is exactly the same, the rhyme-word too is common. Sauda says:

ru;x.sat hai baa;Gbaa;N kih ;Tuk ik dekh le;N chaman
jaate hai;N vaa;N jahaa;N se phir aayaa nah jaa))egaa

[there is 'leave', Gardener, that we would take just one brief look at the garden
we go there, from where then/again coming will not be done/'gone']

In Mir's verse, there's the idea of finding oneself nonexistent before the glory/appearance of the beloved or of existence. Between the original and a picture there's a relationship of existence versus nonexistence. That is, the original is existent, and the picture is a copy of that existence, it has no existence in itself. Mir considers himself a member of the 'gathering of pictures'; and in that gathering too, in which existence has only the rank of a picture, he's 'self-less'. That is, compared to the existence of the beloved, his own existence is next door to nonexistence.

Sauda is absorbed in observing the external world, and considers that this leisure too is only of a few days. When he gets up from here, he'll arrive at a place from which there's no return. The tone of the verse is sarcastic; the target of the sarcasm is both the Gardener, who objects to giving him even that brief leisure, and also the leisure itself, of which the outcome is endless, endless nonexistence. In Sauda's verse there's also a free-floating sarcasm, because instead of fearing or lamenting the reality of death, it expresses absorbedness in observing the present world.

In both their temperaments there's a grandeur, there's a dignity; both are self-aware. But Mir's self-awareness is psychological and inward; by contrast to this, Sauda's self-awareness is with regard to the external world, so that it's superficial. On the basis of the temperamental suggestion of these two verses, Mir's verse is better than Sauda's verse. A dramatic style of speech is shared by both. If in the first line of Sauda's verse there's the informality of daily speech, then in Mir's second line is the appropriateness of an idiom. Wordplay is something they both have. In Mir's verse aa))indah (meaning 'the coming') is a word that's a zila with aayaa nah jaa))egaa . In Sauda's verse jahaa;N (meaning 'world') gives the pleasure of a zila, as does aayaa nah jaa))egaa . In Sauda's verse there's also a slight ambiguity, because he hasn't made it clear where he is going. It's possible that instead of going to nonexistence, there might be an allusion to being imprisoned in a cage.



[See also {429,2}.]



What does it mean that the 'self-less' ones (with the hyphen there to remind us that this is not the English word that means 'very unselfish'), they who are literally outside or beyond or deprived of their own selves, are 'of the gathering of the picture'? SRF takes it to mean that they're unreal like pictures, which is certainly quite possible. But it could also mean that their gathering has been devoted to ecstatically contemplating a (real? metaphorical?) 'picture' of the beloved. And in addition it could also mean, very readily, that they're petrified or stupefied with amazement [;hairat], so that they're unmoving like a picture; this kind of stupefaction can certainly be an effect of self-lessness. The stupefied lover can also resemble a mirror, or a footprint-- other things that are, like pictures, real but unmoving. For a discussion and Ghalibian examples, see G{51,9x}.

As SRF observes, the wordplay is a treat; the crown jewel is aa))indah , which in Persian literally means 'coming', and thus works cleverly with aayaa nah jaa))egaa . The first line tells us that the speaker and his companions have 'gone'-- which on first hearing we take to mean either that they've left the 'gathering', or else that they've left the world. Only after hearing the second line do we realize that what they've left is 'themselves', and they'll never now be 'coming' back from their 'gone' condition. (Fortunately for translators, in English too we can say 'he came to himself' to mean 'he recovered consciousness'.)

Note for grammar fans: The translation here of 'went' [ga))e] as 'have gone', is, in English terms, absolutely necessary. It points up the fact that the perfect forms in English and Urdu, though they seem to correspond, don't really match up in the ways they're used. This is especially true in older Urdu, before the pressure of English usage became as heavy as it is today. For further discussion of this question, and examples, see G{38,1}.

Another note for grammar fans: on the 'passive of impossibility', see {48,1}.