ko))ii ho ma;hram-e sho;xii tiraa to mai;N puuchhuu;N
kih bazm-e ((aish-e jahaa;N kyaa samajh ke bar-ham kii

1) if anyone might/would be intimate with your mischievousness, then I would ask
2) what were you thinking when you overthrew the gathering of enjoyment of the world?!



S. R. Faruqi:

Just recently we have seen the theme of the overthrowing of the workshop of the world, in


There, the theme was of violence, since with regard to one reading the claim for Doomsday was, why doesn't it come; and with regard to another reading there was regret for the overturning of this workshop. In the present verse, the mischievousness or overthrowingness of the speaker himself is so pervasive that there's no refuge from it. On this verse I've also provided a bit of discussion in tafhiim-e ;Gaalib . It's clear that Ghalib has, consciously or unconsciously, benefitted from the present verse, in


It's not the occasion here to describe the subtleties of Ghalib's verse, but in his verse the word sho;xii clearly gestures toward Mir. Moreover, in both these verses the word sho;xii shows a sarcasm about the arrangement of the universe, and fate and destiny-- as though it wouldn't be the arrangement of the two worlds, but some childish game, the mischief of some child.

Then, in the present verse the phrase kyaa samajh ke bar-ham kii is brimful of mischief. Just consider: (1) What did you think about the gathering of enjoyment of the world, what conclusion did you reach about it? (2) How did you arrange the gathering of the enjoyment of the world, what did you decree about it? (3) Did you deliberately overthrow the gathering of the enjoyment of the world? (With regard to this interpretation, the prose of the second line will be kyaa ( tuu ne ) bazm-e ((aish-e jahaa;N samajh ke bar-ham kii ?) With regard to all the above readings, the second line is interrogative.

Now let's consider one more reading: in a tone of regret or sorrow or anger he has said, 'After all, what did you consider the gathering of enjoyment of the world to be, that you overthrew it?'. In the light of this reading, the speaker's tone is disciplinary and mischievous, as if he would be entering into the counsel and wisdom of the Lord of the Two Worlds-- or rather, doubting them. For example, we say 'What did the flower-picker take the garden to be, that he set out to lay waste to it?!' Although toward the wise and powerful Lord this style of madness is not devoid of danger, it too is a kind of love. See from the first divan [{421,3}]:

buud-e aadam namuud-e shabnam hai
ek do din me;N phir hu))aa hai yih

[the existence of Adam is the appearance of dew
in a few days, this has become returned/back]

Now let's look at the first line. In it ko))ii ho too is full of meaning. (1) If there would be some such person; that is, if the existence of such a person would be possible. (2) If I would find someone. (3) If somehow someone would be nearby. In all three cases, one possibility is that the overthrowing and overturning of the universe, and life, is a kind of mischievousness, and this mischievousness is impossible to understand.

Another possibility is the absolute opposite of this: that such people (or such entities) are present as are intimates of this mischievousness, and are acquainted with its mysteries/secrets. Not only are they present, but if the speaker would ask them something, they would even reply. The curtain can be lifted from the mysteries-- all that's needed is a knower, and an inquirer. Now the importance of mai;N puuchhuu;N is clear; otherwise yih puuchhuu;N seems apparently more appropriate, and the word 'I' seems to be padding. In fact, 'I' here emphasizes the speaker's individuality-- that is, everyone else may ask or not ask (or rather perhaps wouldn't ask at all, for they wouldn't have the courage), but I will certainly ask 'What were you thinking when you overthrew the gathering of enjoyment of the world?'.

We use ((aish to mean an abundance of ease, pleasure, and elegance. For example, ((aish-o-((ishrat , ((aish-o-aaraam , ((aish karnaa all mean to live in a style of ease and elegance. By ((ayyaash we mean someone who enjoys an abundance of ((aish . But in the original Arabic ((aish means 'living, livelihood' ([from the dictionary] munta;xab ul-lu;Gaat ). Thus in bazm-e ((aish-e jahaa;N the word ((aish certainly means 'luxurious enjoyment', but it also means 'living, livelihood'. It's a powerful masterpiece of a verse. This skill of engaging with transcendent affairs on a human level was not vouchsafed even to Iqbal and Ghalib.

[See also {456,8}.]



As SRF notes, the first line with its future subjunctive verbs leaves the question entirely open, as to whether 'intimates of your mischievousness' are available, or even exist. The implication is that the addressee might well be so entirely whimsical and unpredictable that even his/her closest companions might not understand his/her behavior.

The second line is energized by a gloriously clever use of the 'kya effect'. Here are the most piquant possibilities:

= What did you understand the gathering to be, that you overthrew it? (what brought on your behavior?)

= As if you understood the gathering, when you overthrew it! (you didn't at all understand it!)

= Did you deliberately overthrow the gathering? (taking samajh ke to mean 'deliberately')

= As if you deliberately overthrew the gathering! (you were just showing your innate mischievousness)

The grief and reproach in the second line remind me of Ghalib's similar words to the careless beloved: