paas-e naamuus-e ((ishq thaa varnah
kitne aa;Nsuu palak tak aa))e the

1) there was regard/respect for the honor/dignity of passion; otherwise
2) how many tears had come as far as the eyelashes!



paas : 'Watching, guarding, taking care (of), observing; observance, consideration, attention (to), regard, respect, sake; custody'. (Platts p.217)


naamuus : 'Reputation, fame, renown; esteem, honour, grace, dignity; —disgrace, reproach, shame'. (Platts p.1118)

S. R. Faruqi:

The original meaning of naamuus is 'secret, something secret, concealment'. From this the Persian and Urdu users have brought out the meaning of 'shame, honor, the women of a house (that is, the women in pardah)'. (In the final sense it is masculine, in all the rest feminine.) For another usage of naamus by Mir (and an extremely superb one), but with a theme almost the opposite of the present verse, see:


There the meaning of 'women in pardah' is not very suitable, while in the present verse this meaning too is suitable-- that in reality tears are the 'women in pardah' of passion. It is their task to remain in pardah. The speaker had regard for the honor of passion; otherwise, many times the intensity of sorrow would have caused him to weep, and many tears came as far as the eyelashes, and they would almost have come out of pardah; but the speaker kept them in pardah.

It should be kept in mind that in the speaker's view, the honor of passion can be lost in just this much-- that tears would drop from the eyelashes. That is, to lament aloud, to weep and moan and sigh, would be very major things. As tears would emerge from the eyes, right then spots would appear on the honor of passion.

This is a verse of 'mood', but it's also well endowed with meaning. The tone is one of dignity and authority. These are all Mir's special styles. Otherwise, on the theme of the restraint of grief, Fani has made powerful efforts:

us ne dil kii ;haalat kaa kyaa a;sar liyaa hogaa
dil ne kyaa kahaa hogaa dil hai be-zabaa;N apnaa

[what effect will she have felt from the state of the heart?
what will the heart have said-- my heart is tongueless]

kamaal-e .zab:t-e ;Gam-e ((ishq ay mu((aa;z-all;aah
kahii;N kahii;N se jo yih maajaraa bayaa;N hotaa

[the excellence of the control of the grief of passion-- oh, God forbid
that somewhere, somehow, this matter would have been expressed!]

talqiin-e .sabr-e dil se ko))ii dushmanii nahii;N
dekhaa yih ;haal qaabil-e shar;h-e bayaa;N nah thaa

[toward the instruction of endurance/patience of the heart, I have no hostility,
I saw that this situation was not fit for the commentary of expression]

All three verses are good, but the 'mood' is missing-- despite the fact that this theme requires mood, not intellectuality. Momin has shown an excellent over-all arrangement of words, but nevertheless he has still created a bit of 'mood':

.zab:t-e fi;Gaa;N go kih a;sar thaa kiyaa
;hau.salah kyaa kyaa nah kiyaa kyaa kiyaa

[although the restraint of sighs had made an effect,
enthusiasm-- what-all did it not do?! -- what did it do?!]



Here is a verse interestingly devoid of the 'kya effect': there's really only one contextually meaningful way to read the kitnaa in the second line. Here is proof (if any is needed) that the 'kya effect' is not something foisted on poets by over-readers like me, something that poets cannot control. Here Mir has controlled our reading of the kitnaa very strictly indeed.

But as a counterpoise to that highly controlled use of the 'kya effect', look at the second line of the Momin verse. Not only does it offer two maximally open instances, but the two wonderfully placed occurrences of kiyaa also make for excellent script effects, such that five of the seven words in the second line are spelled identically. Really Momin is a very punchy and enjoyable poet.