ek biimaar-e judaa))ii huu;N mai;N aap hii tis par
puuchhne-vaale judaa jaan ko khaa jaate hai;N

1) I'm a single/particular/unique/excellent separation-sickened one, in my own right-- on top of which
2) inquirers 'eat up' my separated/isolated life



khaa jaanaa : 'To eat up, swallow up, devour, consume; to embezzle, to make away with; to leave out, omit; to eat away, rub or wear away, corrode, &c.' (Platts p.868)

S. R. Faruqi:

This theme he has also composed very well in the fifth divan [{1746,5}]:

:zulm-o-sitam sab sahl hai;N us ke ham se u;Thte hai;N kih nahii;N
log jo pursish-e ;haal kare;N hai;N jii to u;Nho;Nne khaayaa hai

[her cruelties and oppressions are all simple, whether they arise from ourself or not
when people ask how we are, they have devoured our inner-self]

Mus'hafi, in this ground, has composed a 'fourfold-ghazal' [chau-;Gazlah]. He has not picked up Mir's theme, but in one verse he's tried to arrive near Mir:

naa.si;ho;N kii mai;N na.sii;hat se bah jaa;N aayaa huu;N
yih to bak bak ke mirii jaan ko khaa jaate hai;N

[I've barely come away with my life from the advice of the Advisors
these, babbling on and on, devour my life]

It's clear what a gulf there is between the inquirers and the Advisors, between the inquirers' asking about the sick person's health and the Advisors' babbling. Mir's theme and his style of expression are both much better than Mus'hafi's.

But there's also the fact that it was Sa'ib [in Persian] who gave Mir the idea for this verse:

'I am downcast through the coming and going of madmen,
As Doorkeepers I need leopards and tigers.'

There's no doubt that Sa'ib's idea is novel, but because of that novelty the verse has approached 'thought-binding' and has become remote from everyday experience.

In Mir's verse, everyday life and the lover's vexation (which is entirely appropriate) have been straightforwardly expressed. That was exactly what the theme required. The verse has nothing of Sa'ib's regal style. But homey-ness is so effective that Sa'ib's 'theme-creation' has been left behind.



The 'inquirers' are of course people who come to check on or visit the sick lover and ask about his condition. We can easily imagine them as smug or hypocritical, or mere idlers looking for gossip and scandal. But even if we take them to be genuine friends, grieved and solicitous and eager to help, it's still quite understandable that they might drive the lover crazy (or crazier). The lover craves solitude for many reasons, most of which his friends disapprove of. It's easy to imagine their devising affectionate, well-meant little schemes for distracting him from his mad passion.

And then, the lover is ek lovesick person, 'in his own right' [apne aap]. Is he 'single', 'particular', 'unique', or 'excellent'? Is he depicting himself as especially weak and wretched (a single isolated invalid, sick in any case), or especially powerful (a particular and unique madman, whose sickness is self-chosen and self-generated)? In either case, the meddlesome attentions of the 'inquirers' are one more, externally imposed burden that the lover feels he shouldn't have to bear. The fretful tone of the second line feels exactly right; aren't most of us irritable when we're sick?