ham faqiiro;N se be-adaa))ii kyaa
aan bai;The jo tum ne pyaar kiyaa

1a) what disrespect from/toward us faqirs!
1b) what [kind of] disrespect from/toward us faqirs?
1c) as if there was any disrespect from/toward us faqirs!
1d) was there any disrespect from/toward us faqirs?

2) {when / since / in that / such that} you sat before us and showed affection



se : 'From; out of; with; in connection with; ... concerning; ... in reference to, in respect of, as regards'. (Platts p.708).


be-adaa))ii : 'Non-performance, non-fulfilment; faithlessness; incivility, rudeness'. (Platts p.201)


jo : 'Who, which, that, what'. (Platts p.393)

jo : 'When (= jab )'. (Platts p.393)

jo : 'If, if that, that; in that, inasmuch, since'. (Platts p.393)

S. R. Faruqi:

About this verse, and other verses of this kind, Muhammad Hasan Askari's expression of his view is worth noting. Askari Sahib says:

More than a lover, Mir is a human being. At least, after being a lover he didn't forget his humanity. He doesn't want some special attention [ri((aayat] for himself, that wouldn't be able to be provided for others.... When he complains about the beloved, even then he does it the way one person complains about another person.

In the present verse, there's another point as well. Ordinary lovers in Urdu poetry (and the type of lovers that Mir himself has ordinarily presented) to the contrary, in this verse Mir has laid down as a condition for the beloved's coming and sitting near the lover, that the beloved should behave with affection and graciousness. May it not be that the beloved would would keep showing us contempt, and we nevertheless would keep ourselves tied to her garment-hem! By calling himself a faqir, how excellently he has expressed his independence [isti;Gnaa]!

Verses based on the theme of the self-respect of the lover are not so numerous in Mir's poetry, but compared to Urdu poetry in general, they are numerous. Consider these two verses from the second divan:


And also [{887,6}]:

ham to faqiir hai;N ;xaak baraabar aa bai;The to lu:tf kiyaa
nang jahaa;N lagtaa ho un ko vaa;N ve vaisii ((aar kare;N

[we are a faqir, equal to the dust; when we came and sat down, we enjoyed it
where there would seem to her to be a disgrace, there accordingly she would/could/should make a reproach]

About the present verse Muhammad Hasan Askari has said in another essay,

This verse expresses Mir's tension, in which there would be both concern for the claims of human relationships, and also a sense of the repelling force [;xaliij], not fit for going into, between humans.



Well, I've apparently been reading almost a different verse from the one Askari and SRF have been reading (which of course is part of the fascination of poems that are two lines long). This lofty humanism and human dignity rhetoric hardly enters into my own favorite readings of the verse. In fact I think the verse is both cleverly amgibuous, and quite funny. For more discussion of the possible nuances of 'tone', see {724,2}.

First of all, the verse is distinctly not about one faqir, but about a bunch of them, as the oblique plural faqiiro;N establishes. (When the speaker is using 'we' for himself alone, he avoids such unambiguously plural forms.) Thus there's a vision of the beloved coming and sitting amidst a group of her ostentatiously humble (though perhaps also inwardly subversive) lovers. But that's about the only thing that the reader can be sure of.

For after all, it's impossible to tell what happens in the highly 'insha'iyah' first line. Thanks to the remarkable colloquial versatility of kyaa , the possibilities include:

=1a) What disrespect from/toward us faqirs! (an emphatic affirmation-- how much disrespect we showed/received!)
=1b) What disrespect from/toward us faqirs? (a question about specifics-- what kind of disrespect did we show/receive?)
=1c) As if there was any disrespect from/toward us faqirs! (an emphatic denial-- as if we showed/received any disrespect!)
=1d) Was there any disrespect from/toward us faqirs? (a yes-or-no question
-- was there any, or wasn't there any?)

And then, just to keep all possible possibilities open, the second line refuses to establish a clear sequence of events. That versatile little jo can indicate (among other things) a causal or temporal sequence ('when'), an effect ('since'), or merely a vague coincidence of some kind ('in that')-- see the complex definitions above, in which Platts struggles to come to grips with this protean little word. Thus the choices include:

=line 2, line 1: 'when' you sat before us and showed affection (then line 1 occurred thereafter)
=line 1, line 2: 'since' you sat before us and showed affection (this result was due to the previous occurrence of line 1)
=lines 1 and 2: 'in that' you sat before us and showed affection (line 1 was also generally occurring too)

The obvious sequence is of course 'line 2, line 1', that the beloved came and sat among the lovers and showed them affection-- after which they either did or didn't respond with some form of 'disrespect', or view her doing so as some form of 'disrespect'.

But far more piquant and amusing is my own favorite reading 'line 1, line 2'-- in which the faqirs are saying to themselves uneasily, 'Uh oh, what have we done to offend her, that she's threatening us like this with her ominous show of (apparent) affection? What is she up to? What have we done to deserve this fresh devilry on her part?'

Along these same interpretive lines, for further discussion see


And compare Ghalib's own brilliantly wry depiction of the same situation:


Note for translation fans: How seductive (!) it is to think of translating pyaar kiyaa simply and literally, as 'made love'! But of course, that would be a real error, since in English the clear implication is one of sexual activity, while in Urdu it's much more like 'showed affection'.