((ajab hote hai;N shaa((ir bhii mai;N is firqe kaa ((aashiq huu;N
kih be-dha;Rke bharii majlis me;N yih asraar kahte hai;N

1) they're extraordinary/wondrous, poets; I am a lover of/from this group
2) for fearlessly, in the full gathering, they say secrets/mysteries



((ajab : 'Wonder; astonishment; admiration; a wonderful thing; —adj. Wonderful, marvellous, astonishing, amazing, miraculous, strange, extraordinary, rare; droll'. (Platts p.758)


firqah : 'A distinct body or class (of men), a party, body, troop, company, society, class, sect, tribe, kind'. (Platts p.779)

S. R. Faruqi:

dha;Rkaa = fear

This verse expresses the rank/dignity and station/office of the poet, and is a part of our classical view of poetics. The poet has the right to say every kind of thing, and he says everything openly/publicly. Whether there would be inner secrets, or opinions about the heights and depths of the age, in the verse every theme is possible.

Atish too has expressed this theme:

buland-o-past-e ((aalam kaa bayaa;N ta;hriir kartaa hai
qalam hai shaa((iro;N kaa yaa ko))ii rah-rau hai beha;R kaa

[the high and low of the world, it writes--
is it the poets' pen, or is it some traveler over rough ground?]

In Atish's verse the simile is uncouth and weak, but the idea has been expressed absolutely rightly. The ghazal itself is basically romantic poetry, and in it the theme of non-attainment [naa-rasaa))ii] predominates. But in principle, in the ghazal too every kind of theme can be expressed. This is proved by both the words and the deeds of the early poets.

In Mir's verse, in the first line the expression of praise is very fine. First he's said, 'they're extraordinary, poets'-- that is, he has conveyed only praise. Then, moving beyond this, he's said 'I am a lover of this group'.

In the second line, he has also placed the word 'secrets' very well; and in addition, he has expressed the new and superb idea of loving the poets for their fearless expression. Atish's verse is devoid of these things.

Mir has, in the fifth divan, composed one more superb verse about the rank of poets:


This verse will be discussed in its place. In the present verse, the word kaa too is very eloquent. If we read it as 'I am a lover of this group', then the reading emerges that 'I love the whole generic set of people in this group'. For example, people say that so-and-so is a lover of such-and-such a person.

If we take the kaa differently, then the reading emerges that 'I am very fond of people who are in this group'. For example, people say that so-and-so is a lover of mangoes, or is a lover of novels, or is a lover of film directors; that is, he has a great fondness and affection for them. Just look-- in even such a tiny handful of words, how important the aspect of meaning is; and how a great poet keeps this aspect in view.

[See also {1342,2}.]



To push the versatility of the kaa a little further, how about 'I am a lover who is of (from, among) this group', in the sense of belonging to it? I agree that it's a secondary meaning, but I don't see any reason to rule it out.

Note for grammar fans: This is one of those cases where the bhii does not mean 'even' or 'also' as it usually does; instead, it conveys some kind of colloquial emphasis. It's easy to see that a claim that 'even poets' or 'poets too' are extraordinary, wouldn't work at all in the context of the verse.