kuchh ho ai mur;G-e chaman lu:tf nah jaave us se
nau;hah yaa naalah har ik baat kaa andaaz hai ek

1) whatever might be, oh bird of the garden, the pleasure/refinement would/should not go {from / because of} that
2) an elegy, or a lament-- of every single utterance/idea, the style is 'one'



lu:tf : 'Delicacy; refinement; elegance, grace, beauty; the beauty or best (of a thing); taste; pleasantness; gratification, pleasure, enjoyment; —piquancy, point, wit; —courtesy, kindness, benignity, grace, favour, graciousness, generosity, benevolence, gentleness, amenity'. (Platts p.957)


ek : 'One, single, sole, alone, only, a, an; the same, identical; only one; a certain one; single of its kind, unique, singular, preëminent, excellent'. (Platts p.113)

S. R. Faruqi:

For kuchh ho , there are two meanings: (1) no matter what might be; and (2) whether it be an elegy or a lament, it would be something. If we put the emphasis on ho , then a third meaning is generated: that 'something ought to be'. In the same way, andaaz hai ek too has multiple meanings: (1) one style is of elegy, one style is of lament; (2) every utterance/idea has a single (special) style; (3) whether it be an elegy or a lament, the style of both is one and the same; that is, neither elegy nor lament should be devoid of pleasure.

We can also consider this verse to be one part of Mir's outlook on poetry. That is, in an utterance/idea lu:tf is necessary. The meaning of lu:tf is 'excellence'-- that is, 'beauty'. A second meaning is that an utterance/idea should be such that having heard or read it, a 'mood' of lu:tf -- that is, joy or freshness-- would be attained. Even if the theme is based on sorrow and grief, the utterance/idea should be said in such a way that it would be able to generate freshness and joy. Simple weeping and wailing-- that is, the kind of narration of emotion that would have intensity but no freshness in the style of expression-- was not what Mir wanted. Thus the way in which the theme was expressed-- this is the important thing.

If we look at things from this point of view, then the important principle of Mir's poetics [shi((riyaat] (that is, classical Urdu poetics) turns out to be that poetry is not the impression of individual emotions, but rather the beautiful expression of any emotion at all. The verse doesn't become beautiful because in it there's some emotion that touches the heart (as twentieth-century critics have said when praising the ghazal). Rather, the verse becomes beautiful because in it emotions (or whatever is there-- theme, thought, etc.) are presented in a way that causes lu:tf -- that is, delight and joy are obtained. That is, the verse's being beautiful is its lu:tf , and its lu:tf is dependent upon how the theme would be presented.

This sense of lu:tf (excellence, superior desirability) is established here and there in dastans. For example, in :tilism-e hoshrubaa vol. 7, by Ahmad Husain Qamar, when I opened the volume at random then within a few pages the following uses of lu:tf met my gaze:

1) Page 429: asad bhii bah lu:tf garebaa;N-giir hai , us be-;hayaa kii jaan kii halaakat kii tadbiir hai

2) Page 459: abhii pahalvaan-e nau-javaan ho , tum ne kabhii lu:tf se muqaabilah nah kiyaa

It should be kept in mind that ja;zbah -- that is, 'emotion'-- and 'experience'-- that is, tajrubah -- have in Urdu classical poetics no important place. The fundamental place is that of the theme, and things like emotion, experience, autobiography, chronicle [jag-biitii], etc., are nothing at all-- they are only a tafaa((il (that is, 'function') of the theme. That is, these things are generated from the theme and are merged into the theme. The phrases har ik baat kaa andaaz hai ek and lu:tf nah jaave us se prove that the principle of expression, by means of which the 'refinement/pleasure of speech' is generated, is the fundamental thing. In the first divan itself he has said [{179,6}]:

miir shaa((ir bhii zor ko)ii thaa
dekhte ho nah baat kaa usluub

[Mir too was one powerful poet!
you see, don't you, the arrangement of his words?]

Now let's consider some other aspects of the meaning of the verse. One reading of lu:tf nah jaave us se can also be that the bird of the garden himself obtains pleasure from singing elegies or laments (the way a poet finds pleasure in reciting his own poetry). Thus he is instructing the bird of the garden: the pleasure that you are obtaining from your own singing of elegies or laments-- it ought always to remain established. Or, he is uttering a prayer/blessing that that pleasure may never depart, no matter what might happen.

Another meaning can be that he's explaining to the bird of the garden that no matter what might happen, the pleasure of the hearers must remain established. Whether it be an elegy or a lament, every utterance/idea has a special style, and by means of it the hearers obtain pleasure. No matter what may happen to you, keep that very same style of elegy and lament established, so that the power of pleasure-givingness in it would remain.

It should also be kept in mind that an 'elegy' is for lost things, departed people, and whatever cannot be again. For a 'lament', there's no such condition. In a lament there can be complaint; in an elegy there's no complaint.

[See also {336,2}.]



The extreme multivalence of this verse makes it what I call a 'generator' of meanings. In the first line, the heavy lifting is done by the two future subjunctives ho and similarly (though to a lesser extent) jaave . Here are some literal possibilities for kuchh ho (see also the grammar note below):

=something might be (neutral)
=let something be! (a desire)
=if something would be... (part of planning for the future)

and for lu:tf nah jaave :

=pleasure might not go (uncertainty)
=pleasure would not go (a kind of conditional assertion)
=pleasure ought not to go (a moral obligation)

and for us se :

=because of it/that
=from it/that

And then, the us can refer either to some unknown 'it', or else to some contextually indicated 'that' (the one in 'something', or the 'elegy' or 'lament' in the next line).

In the second line, what really strikes me forcefully is that after the miniature two-item 'list' of 'elegy or lament', we get the sudden globally sweeping generalization about har ik baat , 'every single utterance/idea'-- which strongly suggests that the full range of such utterances goes from 'elegy' to 'lament'. The speaker apparently can't even conceive of the existence of a wider range of examples.

And what do we then learn about 'every single utterance/idea'? That its 'style' is ek -- a word with a remarkable variety of possible meanings in its own right (see the definition above). Among other possibilities, it might mean that every baat has its own unique style, or else that every baat has the same single style.

Finally, since this is a radically 'A,B' verse, we're left entirely on our own in deciding how to put the two lines together. Something in the first line is being likened and/or contrasted to something in the second line-- but what, exactly? Or are the whole lines being compared or contrasted, in their broad meanings? The elusiveness of this verse is stunning.

Note for grammar fans: In the first line, kuchh ho of course literally means 'something might/would/should be'. As SRF notes, there's also the idiomatic meaning of 'whatever might be' or 'no matter what'. Because kuchh ho is a limit case of future subjunctive simplicity, and can be said in so many different tones, its range of meaning becomes un-pin-downably broad.