dast-e .saiyaad talak bhii nah mai;N pahu;Nchaa jiitaa
be-qaraarii ne liyaa mujh ko tah-e daam bahut

1) not even as far as the hand of the Hunter did I arrive, living
2) restlessness took/seized me, under the net, much



be-qaaraarii : 'Restlessness, uneasiness, anxiety, discomposure, disquietude; instability, inconstancy, variableness, fluctuation'. (Platts p.203)

S. R. Faruqi:

In the verse there are a number of meanings. The first is that having come under the net, I became restless to such an extent that before the Hunter came to take me into her grip, I gave up my life. But having come under the net, why this much restlessness? Perhaps out of grief at leaving my nest, or my companions. But one reason can also be that I was restless to reach the Hunter. The Hunter took a long time to come, and my restlessness became the means of my death.

Another possibility is that even previously I felt restless-- that is, before coming into the net; and even before becoming aware of the Hunter (that is, of passion and of the beloved) I was restless. If such is the case, then the reason for it can be that there was a natural agitation in my temperament. Every bird is agitated when being captured, but in my temperament the agitation was to such an extent that even in the net I remained restless, and was not able to arrive in the hand of the Hunter.

One meaning of the second line is that restlessness held me down a great deal under the net; that is, restlessness wanted very much for me to remain under the net, so that I would reach the Hunter. (That is, for the Hunter to come and take me away, and in this way for the goal of the restlessness to be attained.) Another meaning is that my restlessness so overpowered me that I wasn't able even to wait for the coming of the Hunter. In both cases the interpretation of the verse remains the same: that non-access was my destiny.

In some people's view, arriving in the hand of the Hunter is the deprivation of freedom and the separation from friends; in the view of others, it's the height of success. But in any case, both are situations of completion. And completion was not vouchsafed to me.

A question can arise as to how it can be said of restlessness that it 'held me down' a great deal under the net. The answer to this is that some nets are such that when a bird has been snared, the more it flutters and flaps its wings, the tighter and the more entangled the net becomes, as Akbar Ilahabadi says sarcastically in his poem 'Conference' [kaanfarans]:

ta;Rpoge jitnaa jaal ke andar
jaal ghisegaa khaal ke andar
kyaa hu))aa biis hii saal ke andar
;Gaur karo is ;haal ke andar

[however much you will writhe in the net
the net will slip inside your skin,
what happened in the course of twenty years--
reflect, in this situation]



In an unusual combination, the lover here speaks both as a bird, and also after his death.

SRF sets out the two main interpretations: that the ensnared bird dies of grief (at the loss of his beloved garden) or of longing (in his desperate eagerness for the Hunter to arrive). But the versatility and unspecificity of be-qaraarii (see the definition above) makes it impossible for us to be sure even of these two alternatives.

As SRF also notes, the bird could have simply been restless by temperament. If he was restless in general, why would his restlessness not continue, or even increase, when he was trapped beneath the net? Was the bird neurotic, or high-strung, or frail, or simply sensitive and imaginative? Through the entirely neutral description in the verse, Mir keeps all options open, so that we're obliged to decide the question (to whatever extent we do decide it) for ourselves.