miir .saa;hib se ;xudaa jaane hu))ii kyaa taq.siir
jis se is :zulm-e numaayaa;N ke sazaa-vaar hu))e

1) the Lord knows what offense/fault was committed by Mir Sahib!
2) through which he became deserving of punishment with this conspicuous tyranny/injustice/violence



taq.siir : 'Defect, failure, omission, shortcoming; mistake, error, fault, offence, crime'. (Platts p.330)


sazaa : ''Worthy, deserving'; correction, chastisement, punishment; penalty, retribution'. (Platts p.660)


vaar : 'Becoming, befitting, suiting, fit, suitable (for), worthy (of)'. (Platts p.1173)


:zulm : 'Wrong, wrong-doing, injustice, oppression, tyranny; exaction, extortion; violence, outrage, injury; grievance, hardship'. (Platts p.755)


numaayaa;N : 'Appearing; apparent, evident; conspicuous, prominent; —striking, bold (as a picture)'. (Platts p.1153)

S. R. Faruqi:

The verse's 'dramatic', melancholy tone is worthy of praise. Then, according to Mir's usual habit, here too there's no trace of self-pity or conventional pathos-- rather, there's a dignity, an amazement, a sadness-inflected inquiry.

The ambiguity of the speaker too is fine. Consider the following possibilities: (1) Mir's corpse is lying there, and someone who loved him, or who esteemed him, is speaking to himself in a tone of amazement and pity and slight fear. (2) While Mir was away from his homeland, some cruelty has befallen him. News of this has reached his homeland, and someone who loves him is speaking to himself. (3) Two people are expressing their thoughts about Mir's end. (2) Some people are discussing Mir's end among themselves.

Some additional points are: (1) The speaker in any case believes that some offense/fault has been committed by Mir. That is, Mir was a person with a temperament such that the judges of worth didn't hesitate to declare him to be guilty. Or again, Mir was an outsider and an 'Other', and in the halls of justice, or in the view of the judges of worth, people like him are always declared, sooner or later, to deserve to lose their heads.

(2) But it's also possible that Mir's offense/fault had no truth or basis, but rather was only considered to be a fault/offense in the eyes of the official judges or the rulers. Because if the offense were really an offense, then he would have been punished-- there would not have instead been 'tyranny', and that too 'conspicuous tyranny'. This very thing, that :zulm-e numaayaa;N happened to him, is enough to establish Mir's innocence.

A final point is that about :zulm-e numaayaa;N not only have no details been given, but there's no information at all. The matter is left at is :zulm-e numaayaa;N . In this way a number of benefits have been obtained. (1) According to Mallarmé, to allude to things is better than to express them; in this way full freedom is given to the imagination. (2) The paradox is very fine, that the 'tyranny' has not even been identified or described, but has also been called 'conspicuous'. (3) By avoiding details, self-pity and pathos have been sidestepped.

(4) A za;xm-e numaayaa;N is a 'deep wound'. On this analogy, :zulm-e numaayaa;N can be assumed to be a 'very great tyranny'. Or again, a kind of tyranny that would be obviously tyranny-- that is, about which there there would be no doubt of its being tyranny-- will be called :zulm-e numaayaa;N . It's also possible that behind this construction there would be the idea that tyranny is always 'conspicuous, manifest', it is never hidden. In [the Persian dictionary] bahaar-e ((ajam the adjective numaayaa;N is given as a quality of tyranny.

(5) Whatever may be the nature of the 'tyranny', its effect on the hearers and viewers is immediate; thus it is referred to as 'this' tyranny. (6) Through the reference to Mir in the third person, realism in the affair has been created.

Then, it should also be kept in mind that among taq.siir , :zulm , sazaa-vaar there's 'commonality' [muraa((at ul-na:ziir]. He's composed a verse complete and overflowing in every way. The whole verse is pervaded by an atmosphere of melancholy mystery. It's hardly a verse-- it's the very summit of 'tumult-arousingness'.

Mir has composed this theme elsewhere as well, but never again as successfully as in the present verse. From the second divan [{732,6}]:

:zaahir hu))aa nah mujh pah kuchh us :zulm kaa sabab
kyaa jaanuu;N ;xuun un ne miraa kis sabab kiyaa

[the reason for that tyranny did not at all become apparent to me
how would I know for what reason she slew me?]

From the sixth divan [{1794,9}]:

kyaa jurm thaa kisuu pah nah ma((luum kuchh hu))aa
jo miir kasht-o-;xuu;N kaa sazaa-vaar ho gayaa

[what offense it was against anybody-- no information was obtained--
such that Mir became deserving of a punishment of suffering and blood]

In {1794,9}, because Mir is mentioned in the third person some force has been created. But still the verse is verbose, and there's no such mysteriousness as in Kafka's novels, where everything happens but there's no telling why and how it has happened.

The present verse is an expression of a silent, melancholy judgment against the universe and the ruler of the universe. It is a picture of an arrangement and an order in which the making and unmaking of humans' fates is not according to any principle, but rather according to laws in which there's no principle-- or if there is, then it's very far from the understanding of us ordinary humans.

It should be kept in mind that here by :zulm is meant not only murder. Murder can be :zulm , and :zulm-e numaayaa;N too. But there are various other things as well that can be the basis for a reference to :zulm-e numaayaa;N . For example: (1) After the murder, to trample the body underfoot. (2) To cut the body to pieces; that is, to inflict harsh torment before murdering. (3) To destroy house, garden, fields. (4) To charge the accused criminal's relatives only on the grounds that they are his brother, father, wife, mother, etc. This kind of thing was common in Stalin's time.

[See also {1498,4}.]



The first line is insha'iyah, since ;xudaa jaane is a future subjunctive-- 'perhaps the Lord might/would know'. (I've translated it as 'the Lord knows'-- an informative [;xabariyah] statement-- in order to capture its petrified-phrase quality.) That same idiomatic, exclamatory quality also makes it extremely subject to changes in tone. 'The Lord knows what he's done!' can be said in a tone that implies darkly that he may have done any of a number of culpable things that merit extreme punishment, or else in a tone that implies indignantly that he's unlikely to have done anything much at all. And of course, between those two extremes there are various possible tones of genuine inquiry, sorrow, indifference, and so on.

The verse can even be read as revivifying the petrified phrase, to suggest that it's in fact the Lord himself who might/would know what Mir has done, and who is directly or indirectly responsible for the :zulm-e numaayaa;N . Perhaps Mir is in fact so 'self-less' that he doesn't even notice what is happening to him, so that the :zulm-e numaayaa;N is really only in the eye of the beholder. Thus various Sufistic readings can be envisioned (the stages on the path, the fate of Mansur, and so on).

But most probably it's just the beloved again, as usual. She is, after all, the ultimate :zaalim in the ghazal world. Mir's neighbors-- who call him 'Mir Sahib' out of respect and affection-- are usually sympathetic but helpless spectators of her fickleness and cruelty.