aataa hii tere kuuche me;N hotaa jo miir yaa;N
kyaa jaaniye kidhar ko gayaa kuchh ;xabar nahii;N

1) he would only/emphatically have come into your street, if Mir were here
2) who knows in which direction he went? -- there's no telling!



S. R. Faruqi:

Mir composed many verses of this kind. Among them all, probably the best one is


Also worthy of praise is


In addition, these two verses from the second divan are very fine. The first verse [{1213,6}]:

kal jaa ke ham ne miir ke haa;N yih sunaa javaab
muddat hu))ii kih yaa;N to vuh ;Gurbat-va:tan nahii;N

[yesterday we went to Mir's place and heard this reply--
for some time that 'exile-homeland' one hasn't been here]

The second verse [{1215,7}]:

raah-o-ravish kaa hove ;Thikaanaa to kuchh kahe;N
kyaa jaane miir aa ga))e the kal kidhar se yaa;N

[if road and path would have a dwelling, then we would/could say something
who knows from which direction Mir came here yesterday?]

Another verse from the second divan seems to be an echo of the present verse [{890,1}]:

kuuche me;N tere miir kaa mu:tlaq a;sar nahii;N
kyaa jaaniye kidhar ko gayaa kuchh ;xabar nahii;N

[in your street there's no trace whatsoever of Mir
who knows in which direction he went; there's no information]

The present verse has a number of excellences that make it distinguished even among such superb verses. 'Mood' and theme and meaning-- the union of all three in this verse is such that another like it will be hard to find. Please note the following points:

1) The beloved herself has come to inquire about Mir-- where is he, what condition is he in?

2) One reason for this can be that the beloved too feels some attachment to Mir.

3) Another reason can be that Mir has not been in attendance for so many days that the beloved herself is anxious-- where has he gone off to?

4) A third reason can be that the beloved has felt the want of Mir because she has some task for him. For example, the beloved's practice was to torment and torture Mir, and thus pass the time. Now that Mir is not present, the beloved has no way to pass the time. What a superb [Persian] verse Farqi Anjadani has:

'I have gone from your street. Oh you with the habit of anger at me,
Tell me whom you will pass your time in tormenting now.'

Or if she doesn't need a target for tyranny, then she has some other task in mind for which a life-sacrificing person would be necessary-- and only someone like Mir himself can do such life-sacrificing.

5) It's clear to everybody that if Mir were present-- that is, present in the world, or in the city or the neighborhood-- then he would have gone only to the beloved's street. The beloved's inquiry about Mir is in a way unnecessary. Even if Mir were sick or disabled, if he were alive at all he would have gone only to the beloved's street.

6) The neighbors, or the people being asked where Mir is, know/recognize the beloved. Thus they say only that if Mir were here, he would go only to your street. That is, the beloved is so well-known, and Mir's passion for her so famous, that everybody knows about it and recognizes the beloved.

These points are about the first line. Now look at the second line:

1) Mir is some mad, house-wrecked person. The people of the neighborhood know only this much about him: that he's to be found in the beloved's street. If he's not there, then this means that he's probably not in the world at all.

2) The neighbors have no special interest in Mir-- because he has disappeared, but nobody knows even when he went or where he went.

3) Or perhaps they might be interested, but when they saw him leaving they believed that he was only going to the beloved's street. Now when they've learned that he's not there, no one knows in which direction he went off.

4) It's also possible that Mir disappeared from the neighborhood at night, or at some such time when no one would have seen him.

5) Mir is in the situation of some homeless/'house-wrecked' [;xaanah-;xaraab] faqir, who lies around anywhere in the neighborhood. Nobody had any special interest in his comings and goings. His absence is only felt when someone asks where he is. Now people realize that in fact that faqir is not to be seen; the Lord knows where he went off to.

6) Now people are a bit sorrowful too, and assign some small blame to the beloved too: what good does her inquiring do now? The Lord knows in which direction he went! The final phrase of the second line, kuchh ;xabar nahii;N , can be sarcastic and interrogative too: they ask the beloved, 'Don't you know?'

In the whole verse is the madness and helplessness/wretchedness of passion, the mood of submergence in the beloved. But in accordance with Mir's special style, here too there's no self-pity, no mournfulness, no conventional sympathy-mongering; rather, there's a kind of dignity. For the beloved herself to inquire, and for people to recognize her at once, is also an entirely new theme.



The first line also creates an attention-grabbing little paradox: if Mir were 'here', then he would be in your street-- that is, if Mir were here, then he wouldn't be here. The result is to make us think about where 'here' is, and also to wonder how Mir's purported neighbors could have any knowledge at all about him.

Then the second line makes it clear that they don't. Mir doesn't really spend any time in their neighborhood at all, so how could they know his whereabouts? How can one know where somebody has gone, if he's never really around at all?

Usually SRF attributes the quality of 'dignity' [vaqaar] to the persona of the lover as Mir presents it. Here, the lover is a blank, he's entirely absent. So the 'dignity' must be that of the neighbors, or of the verse itself. The verse can certainly be read in a sarcastic or semi-hostile tone, as a reproach to the beloved, but I can't persuade myself that that's the only possible tone. What if it were read as a careless brush-off, an indifferent reply made with a shrug of the shoulders or even a yawn? Would the verse still be characterized as having 'dignity'? For more on problems of tone, see {724,2}.