huu;N to naa-kaam pah rahte hai;N mujhe kaam bahut

1) heart-lacerating and liver-tearing and blood-scattering
2) no doubt I'm unsuccessful/useless-- but there remain for me many tasks/desires



naa-kaam : 'Disappointed; unsuccessful; discontented; —useless; hopeless; remediless'. (Platts p.1111)

S. R. Faruqi:

In a poem [N. M.] Rashid has used this verse most excellently [in miir ho , miirzaa ho , miiraajii ho , in 'La = insan']:

((ahd-e raftah ke bahut ;xvaab tamannaa me;N hai;N
aur kuchh vaahme aa))indah ke
phir bhii andeshah vuh aa))indah hai jis me;N goyaa
miir ho , miirzaa ho , miiraajii ho
kuchh nahii;N dekhte hai;N
ma;hvar-e ((ishq kii ;xvuud-mast ;haqiiqat ke sivaa
apne hii biim-o-rajaa apnii hii .suurat ke siva a
apne rang , apne badan , apnii hii qaamat ke sivaa
apnii tanhaa))ii-e jaa;N-kaah kii va;hshat ke sivaa
"dil-;xaraashii-o- jigar-chaakii-o-;xuu;N-afshaanii
huu;N to naa-kaam pah hote hai;N mujhe kaam bahut"

[many dreams of the past age are in longings
and some notions about the future
nevertheless thought is that future in which, so to speak,
Mir would be, Mirza [Ghalib] would be, Miraji would be
we see nothing
except for the self-intoxicated reality of the absorption in passion,
except for our own terror and hope, our own face,
except for our complexion, our body, our stature,
except for the wildness of our life-exhausting solitude,
'heart-lacerating and liver-tearing and blood-scattering
I'm useless, but there remain for me many tasks

Rashid has made this verse into a metaphor of the form of understanding of the poet and the poet's absorption in expression; and he has performed a sarcastic mourning at the poet's non-access. But I see in this verse instead of a love of the self, an attempt to laugh at oneself and to look at oneself in the perspective of a larger truth.



this attempt receives a matter-of-fact expression. There's not a hint of sarcasm; rather, the outer and inner worlds have both been brought together as means for liver-tearing and non-achievement.

In the present verse, the two worlds are separate, and the poet also has a full sense of release from both of them. He's composed a very fine verse. To establish kaam as the 'proof' of naa-kaamii is also an extremely fine example of poetic logic.

Mirza Jan 'Tapish' has borrowed Mir's 'ground', rhyme, and theme. His first verse is a bit shocking, but in the second line there's not the kind of thing to be found in Mir-- huu;N to naa-kaam pah is very powerful, tere naa-kaam is very slack.

chhiiltaa hai kabhii za;xmo;N ko kabhii daa;Go;N ko
tere naa-kaam ko rahne lage ab kaam bahut

[he scratches sometimes the wounds, sometimes the scars,
your useless one has now begun to have many tasks]

[See also {1206,1}.]



The first line contains nothing but a list of three nouns, leaving us to wait and hope for further information when we finally (under mushairah performance conditions) are allowed to hear the second line.

The wordplay (and meaning-play) on the greatly multivalent kaam , as SRF observes, is excellent and very much in the main line of ghazal imagery. The naa-kaam person has many kinds of kaam -- and they're directly generated by being naa-kaam . It's almost like a perpetual motion machine.

All this wordplay is incorporated into the structure of a 'mushairah verse', for the first line is just a 'list' with no grammar, and in oral performance even after the obligatory pause between lines, and even halfway through the second line we don't know where we're going. Not until the explosive punch-word kaam appears can we suddenly interpret and relish the whole verse.

Note for translation fans: SRF points to the idiomatic energy of huu;N to naa-kaam . It's untranslatable, but I've used 'no doubt I'm...' to suggest the concessive but impatient, undaunted feeling.