===
0423,
11
===

 

{423,11}

mai;N tuu hai vahm dono;N kyaa hai ;xayaal tujh ko
jhaa;R aastiin mujh se haath aap se u;Thaa rah

1) I, you, are an illusion, both-- what idea/opinion do you have?!
2) shake your sleeve free of me; {let go of / 'lift your hand from'} yourself

 

Notes:

jhaa;Rnaa : 'To cause to drop or fall; to strain; to shake (trees, carpets, &c.), to beat (bushes, &c.); to shake off, to cast (its feathers, as a bird)'. (Platts p.403)

S. R. Faruqi:

For a theme similar to this one, see

{745,1}.

In the present verse, the theme has gone beyond that of {745,1}, because the existence of both the addressee and the speaker has been denied. Then, he didn't stop there-- he's also said to the addressee, 'Reject me, and reject yourself as well'. In both lines, the insha'iyah style of speech has created an uncommon power. The style is as if he would be explaining to some ignorant person: 'Come on, son, what is there to it? There is neither your own existence nor that of others. What foolish idea has got hold of your mind?' Then, moving onward, he says 'Shake your sleeve free of me, and let go of yourself as well'.

Both aastiin jhaa;Rnaa and haath u;Thaa lenaa are translations of Persian idioms: aastiin afshaandan and dast bardaashtan ; the latter has become popular, but the former is rarely to be seen.

Powerful speech/poetry is usually not ambiguous. But in the present verse, Mir has achieved even this. Consider the following points:

(1) The speaker and the addressee are both an 'illusion'-- that is, they are devoid of existence. But one possibility is that the existence of the speaker and the addressee might be the illusion of some other person. That is, it's possible that those people (and by extension, the whole apparent world) have no reality except that some other person/creature would be seeing them in an illusion (= dream). Khvajah Hasan Nizami, in his diary, has in one placed expressed just such an idea. In Mir's poetry too, this possibility exists elsewhere as well. See the introduction to the first volume [of SSA], p. 167, where two of Mir's verses based on the theme of life, and existence, and enchantment, are discussed:

{1700,5}

and

{1480,3}.

For further discussion, see

{104,2},

and

{774,4}.

(2) The addressee is being told, 'Renounce me, and renounce yourself as well'. The reason that has been given is that both are devoid of existence. But the question is, what is meant here by mujh se bhii aastiin-afshaanii kar aur ;xvud se bhii dast-bardaar ho ? At a minimum, the following possibilities come to mind:

(1) Neither will you manage to do anything, nor will I be able to attain anything; therefore have no hope.

(2) When we are both nonexistent, then through us there's no means of arriving at reality.

(3) If we don't even exist, then action is fruitless. Action is undertaken by those who exist-- what action can nonexistent ones take? (The enjoyable thing is that 'to shake free the sleeve' and 'to lift the hand' are both of course actions, but these actors themselves refuse to act.)

(4) Between you and us there can be no relationship/affair.

(3) Now the question is, who is the addressee? If the addressee is the beloved, then an interesting state of affairs is created: that the person to obtain whom the whole commotion is being made, is also having her existence denied. And in one sense she is being declared to be a pursuer of the speaker, because if she is not a pursuer, then why is she being told to shake him off her sleeve-- that is, to renounce him, to have no hope of him?

If the addressees are people of the world, then what mental state of affairs does this verse reflect-- since the speaker so shuns the world and the affairs of the world that he can content himself only by denying all external existence? If the addressee is some one person (for example, some friend or companion), then the verse is based on rejection of, and flight from, worldly responsibilities.

However we look at it, the idea remains ambiguous-- only this much can be said: that in the verse the theme is the rejection of existence, and it has been expressed in such a way that on the one hand there's a feeling of the acknowledgement of weakness and defeat, and at the same time in the tone there's an extraordinary prophetic and revelatory power.

In the first line, vahm has an affinity with ;xayaal ; and in the second line haath is very fine because of its affinity with aastiin . He's composed an uncommon verse.

FWP:

SETS == KYA
MOTIFS
NAMES
TERMS == AMBIGUITY; PARADOX

Well, surely the most striking feature of this verse is the paradoxical relationship between the two lines, which discredit each other and make each other impossible or irrelevant. For after all, if neither speaker not addressee exists at all, how could they have hands and sleeves and use them to make movements with, to hold or release each other or themselves? And if speaker and addressee are enjoined to do things with their hands and bodies and even clothing, how much sense does it make to assure them somewhat scornfully that they don't exist at all? It's the exaggerated physicality of the second line that creates the delightful, wickedly paradoxical effect. After all, Mir could easily have said 'ignore me, and disregard yourself', or words to that effect; and if he had, how second-rate the verse would have become!

Moreover, there's potentially even more to it than that. For the first line also makes an enjoyable use of the 'kya effect'. We could read kyaa hai ;xayaal tujh ko as 'What idea do you have?' or 'Do you have an idea?' (earnest questions that might be part of a genuine philosophical discussion). Or we could read it as 'What kind of an absurd idea you have!' And on this second reading, does the addressee have the idea that the two persons really do exist (in which case the second line provides a scornful, mocking injunction to give up this idea)? Or does she/he instead think that the two persons do not really exist (in which case the second line itself, in its sarcastic. ostentatious physicality, provides a refutation of this erroneous belief)?

Note for grammar fans: I'm taking u;Thaa rah as a colloquially shortened form of u;Thaa kar rah . Thus the injunction is, technically, 'having lifted up your hand, remain [in that state]'.