majnuu;N jo dasht-gard thaa ham shahr-gard hai;N
aavaaragii hamaarii bhii ma;zkuur kyuu;N nah ho

1) as/since Majnun was a desert-wanderer, we are a city-wanderer
2) our wandering/vagabondage too-- why would/should it not be mentioned/remembered?



ma;zkuur : 'Remembered; recorded; mentioned, expressed, related, said; ... —s.m. Mention, relation, account, discourse, statement; the contents or substance of a written statement'. (Platts p.1018)

S. R. Faruqi:

Here the theme is borrowed from a Persian verse, but the insha'iyah style of the second line has created an abundance of meaning, and Mir's verse has gone beyond the Persian original:

'I and Majnun were fellow-travelers on the road of passion,
He went into the desert, and I became disgraced in the streets.'

In Mir's second line are the following meanings:

(1) In the style of Majnun's wandering, why wouldn't/shouldn't our wandering too be spoken of?

(2) Why wouldn't/shouldn't our wandering too be mentioned in books?

(3) Our wandering has been written about, but why wouldn't/shouldn't it be spoken of orally too?

(4) Our wandering too will certainly be mentioned. (Both meanings of ma;zkuur , 'mention' and 'recounting in books', are appropriate.)

(5) What is the reason that our wandering is not mentioned?

(6) What is the reason that our wandering will not be mentioned? (In both (5) and (6), both meanings of ma;zkuur are appropriate.)

Among dasht , gard , aavaragii there's the relationship of a zila (with gard meaning 'dust'). But the most interesting thing about this verse is the confidence of its tone, a kind of cheerful insistence, and a light respect for Majnun's customary romantic character. Then, there's also the point that the primary thing is wandering, whether it would be in city or desert.

The Persian verse cited above, Mir has virtually translated in the fifth divan, like this [{1601,3}]:

barso;N me;N iqliim-e junuu;N se do diivaane nikle hai;N
miir aavaarah-e shahr hu))aa hai qais hu))aa hai bayaabaa;N-gard

[in years, from the region of madness two madmen have emerged
Mir has become a wanderer in the city, Qais has become a desert-wanderer]

The honor of primacy certainly goes to the Persian verse, but in Mir's verse there's a flowingness, a self-confidence, and a feeling for the whole history of madness, that have moved it beyond its source.

Having slightly changed this theme, Mir has composed it like this in the second divan [{1033,2}]:

majnuu;N ko mujh se kyaa hai junuu;N me;N munaasibat
mai;N shahr-band huu;N vuh bayaabaa;N-navard hai

[in madness, what affinity does Majnun have to me?!
I am city-confined; he is a desert-wanderer]

By calling himself 'city-confined', he has confined in this verse an extraordinary world of meaning. In the second divan he has composed a verse that almost inverts this theme and illumines it with wordplay [{859,4}]:

aavaarah gird-baad se the ham pah shahr me;N
kyaa ;xaak me;N milaa hai yih diivaanah-pan tamaam

[we were a wanderer like a whirlwind/'dust-wind'; but in the city
how all this madness was mingled with the dust!]

[See also {1230,5}.]



The first line gets quite a jolt of multivalent possibility from that jo . 'Majnun, who was a desert-wanderer' is a ready reading for the first half. But then the second half doesn't connect: 'Majnun, who was a desert-wanderer-- we are a city-wanderer'. It seems necessary to choose something more like a correlative reading: 'in that', or 'since', or 'in the way that' Majnun was a desert-wanderer, 'similarly' or 'correspondingly' or 'in the same way' we are a city-wanderer.

Left ambiguous is the nature of the comparison: is the speaker emulating the admirable Majnun, or competing on equal terms with him, or saluting him as a comrade, or feeling superior to him (since perhaps a city is more demanding terrain than a mere desert)? The grammatical minimalism helps to keep the possibilities open-ended.

In the second line, the combination of the interrogative and the future subjunctive similarly works to keep open various possibilities of tone:

=Why would it not be mentioned? It would be, of course! Probably it is being mentioned already, and quite properly too. In the future it is destined to become better and better known, wherever stories are told.

=Why would it not be mentioned? For it to be overlooked would be very suspicious! If it would not be mentioned, the reason would probably be something discreditable (envy, petty resentment?).

=Why should it not be mentioned? It well deserves to be widely known! It really ought to be mentioned; there is a kind of moral imperative in favor of mentioning it.

SRF emphasizes the question of whether Mir's wandering would be 'mentioned' orally or in writing. But surely this isn't a real concern, because at the heart of the verse is the comparison and/or contrast between Majnun and Mir, and between the desert and the city. We know that Majnun's desert-wanderings have been celebrated both orally and in writing (not to speak of painting), and nothing in the verse gives us cause to feel that any special form of historical memory is being distinguished from any other.