yih du((aa kii thii tujhe kin ne kih bahr-e qatl-e miir
ma;h.zar-e ;xuunii;N pah tere ik gavaahii bhii nah ho

1) who had given you this curse/malediction, that for Mir's execution,
2) on your bloodstained/'blood-related' document, there would be not even a single attestation?



du((aa : 'Prayer, supplication (to God); an invocation of good, a blessing, benediction; wish; congratulation, salutation; imprecation of evil, curse, malediction'.


bahr : 'On account of, for the sake of, for'. (Platts p.184)


ma;h.zar : 'A place where people are present or assembled; royal presence; appearance; —people present or assembled; an assembly; —a document or petition attested by a number of witnesses laid before a judge (with the view of promoting a suit); a public attestation'. (Platts p.1009)

S. R. Faruqi:

On the theme of the ma;h.zar-e qatl , an extremely superb verse has already been encountered:


Here he's reversed the theme; addressing the beloved, he has created an entirely new aspect: that when the beloved arrived, bearing the document for Mir's execution, then the people of the neighborhood (or perhaps Mir himself) joke about it: 'You should have brought it with someone else's attestation as well. What faqir's curse has affected you, that for the execution of a helpless (or disreputable, or sinful) person like Mir you weren't able to get the attestation of anybody at all?'

When someone is unsuccessful in something, or some purpose of his is not fulfilled despite his trying again and again, then people say, in a tone of some sympathy and some regret, 'the Lord knows whose curse has affected him, that his work doesn't get done!' This idiom is also used for commonplace and everyday affairs. For example, mothers say 'The Lord knows whose curse has affected them, that the buttons on Munna's kurta never stay in place!', and so on.

The use of this kind of homey idiom on a 'courtly' occasion, as in this verse, creates an uncommon force of speech. In it there's also the suggestion that the beloved is juvenile and inexperienced; and the suggestion that Mir is so innocent and virtuous that even to please the beloved, no one is ready to put his signature on the document concerning Mir.

The aspect of Mir's innocence that is in this verse-- a [Persian] verse of Naziri's seems to shed a faint glimmer on it:

'I have been making myself disreputable in every place-- lest
People might say that I didn't deserve the punishment of being slain!'

Naziri's theme is uncommon, and a theme of such heartfelt concord with the beloved would be hard to find in any poem. But whatever is in Naziri's verse is on the surface. In contrast, Mir's ambiguity, and the unresolvableness of his tone, establish this verse as better than Naziri's.

Then, in Mir's verse ma;h.zar-e ;xuunii;N is very meaningful, because after saying qatl-e miir in the first line, there was apparently no need for it. But in it there's the implication that the document itself has become bloodstained-- that is, its becoming bloodstained points to Mir's sinlessness. Thus even if there's any attestation on the document, then it's of Mir's sinlessness. He's composed a fine verse.

The late Askari Sahib and Salim Ahmad always used to say that Mir abases his ego/selfhood before the world and the beloved. As I have previously said, this idea is true only up to a point. The present verse too supports my view that about Mir, no comprehensive generalization can be made. Here, we see that Naziri's ego truly stands with folded hands and lowered head before the beloved. But in Mir's verse, the personality that can be seen is full of depth and mystery. Here, the self-abasement before the beloved is only a beginning stage of the matter. And that self-abasement too is such that it makes the beloved ashamed. [A brief discussion of Askari's views in relation to those of Sainte-Beuve.]

Before concluding the discussion I would add that in Mir's verse gavaahii bhii nah ho has two meanings. One meaning is the obvious one, that on the document there's not even a single attestation. The other meaning is that on the document there can be a decree of execution, and there can also be an attestation. The attestation would be that this person committed such-and-such a crime or sin; and the decree [fatvaa], that he is deserving of execution. Thus the meaning becomes that there could not be a decree (because a decree is founded on evidence; in it there's no scope for [unsupported] falsehood). At least, there would/should be (false) attestation. That is, there's a possibility of false attestation; but a decree cannot be founded on [unsupported] falsehood. Here, the beloved didn't manage to get even attestation.



The idiom also implies that the beloved has been trying very hard, and making repeated efforts-- but she has still failed to produce even the minimally necessary amount of attestation. Nobody is willing to put his signature (or seal) on her document. This failure is something she can be teased about. The speaker could be offering fake sympathy-- he could be poking fun at her inability to find a legal fig-leaf that could conceal her murderous intentions toward Mir.

Note for grammar fans: The unexpected plural kin ne implies that the curse or malediction was bestowed either by an honored person (who receives the plural of respect), or-- less probably-- by a group of people. For kis ne could easily have fitted into the same metrical space. Are we meant to notice this particularly? Perhaps not.