kahte nah the kih jaan se jaate rahe;Nge ham
achchhaa nahii;N hai aa nah hame;N imti;haan kar

1) didn't we [habitually] say that we will [gradually] keep leaving our life?
2) all right, it's not so! -- come to us, won't you? -- do a test!



imti;haan karnaa : 'To examine, test, try, prove; to tempt; to prosecute an inquiry; to make experiment or trial (of, - kaa );'. (Steingass p.98)

S. R. Faruqi:

Ghalib took one aspect of this theme and created an absolutely new and complex idea. In Mir's verse there's drama; in Ghalib's, contemplation and a generalized account of the beloved. In Mir's verse, colloquial structures have reached perfection. Then, in addition there's the subtlety of implication. The beloved tested the lover-- that is, she wanted proof of his claim that he was dying for her. The lover died, and showed her. But in the verse he's made only a suggestion that the lover has died, he hasn't expressed it in detail.

Ghalib's verse is:


That is, she's confident about her true lover, that he's dying of love for her; now if there remains the Other, then there's no need to test him. In Mir's verse the beloved tests her true lover as well, and as a result causes the lover's life to gradually leave him.

Look at the structure of the second line: he's fitted into it three utterances. And in nah hame;N imti;haan kar both the words nah and hame;N have an equal force. At his death the lover has a kind of pride, and happiness at the beloved's anxiety or repentance. All these ideas have been conveyed in the tone of the verse. If there's to be subtlety in poetry, then let it be like this! Or else let there be the kind of complexity that's in Ghalib's verse.



This kind of highly idiomatic verse is sometimes hard to fully get. In the first line, only the semantic context tells us that 'didn't we [habitually] say?' is more probable than 'We [habitually] didn't say'. Then in the second line, the first clause takes note of the beloved's skepticism ('Oh, all right, it's not so, if that's how you want it!'). But she will learn that her skepticism is misplaced: she should come to her lover, and test him.

In the first line, jaan and jaanaa (the infinitive of jaate ) also go well together.

Note for grammar fans: In the second line, imtihaan karnaa normally takes kaa rather than ko , so that leaves hame;N aanaa , which also sounds a bit odd. But it's my best guess.