pyaar karne kaa jo ;xuubaa;N ham pah rakhte hai;N gunaah
un se bhii to puuchhte tum itne kyuu;N pyaare hu))e

1) since/when the beautiful ones place on us the fault/offense of showing/'doing' love
2) we would have asked even/also them, 'Why did you become so lovable?'



S. R. Faruqi:

This verse is very famous, and rightfully so. A particularly large share in spreading this fame also belongs to Hali. In his 'Muqaddamah' he discussed this verse in such a way that even today, a hundred years later, it seems difficult to add to it.

Sa'di has a [Persian] verse,

'Friends forbade me-- why did I give my heart to you?
First you should be asked-- why are you so fine/beautiful?'

Hali has written out Sa'di's verse, then has written Mir's verse (in Mir's first line he has written puuchhiye instead of puuchhte ). After that, Hali says:

In Sa'di's verse is the word ;xuub , and in Mir's verse is the word pyaare . It's clear that for a beloved to be fine/beautiful is not a necessary thing, but for a beloved to be lovable is necessary. Thus Sa'di's question can be answered, but Mir's question cannot be answered. [muqaddamah-e shi((r-o-shaa((irii , pp. 144-45]

Obviously, Hali's praise of this point too is such that it cannot be answered. In the discussion of


we have already read Muhammad Husain Azad's saying about a famous source of poetic benefit, 'translation' from another language, that it is 'a difficult art'. Hali's words on this subject in the 'Muqaddamah' are more interesting. Hali writes:

To make a superb translation of a verse from one language, into another language, is no easy thing.... Although the person who excellently translates a verse from another language into a verse in his own language does not demonstrate imaginative/inventive achievement, he gives proof of a different ability that cannot exist in every poet. [muqaddamah-e shi((r-o-shaa((irii , p. 145]

Hali's view that in translating a verse into a verse there is no imaginative/inventive achievement, is interesting but deserves discussion. The question of what the 'different ability' is that Hali has mentioned, is also interesting. The theory of translation experienced a great revolution in our time, when in 1961 Robert Lowell published his translations (or 'creative translations') in a collection called 'Imitations'. Then in 1969 he published 'creative translations' of Baudelaire's poems. Since that time, the western world has again become aware that a translation too can be an entirely 'creative' and 'imaginative/inventive' act.

Now let's again consider Mir's verse. In accounting for this theme, the central and crucial importance of the word pyaare is something that Mir felt very strongly. Thus fifty or so years later when he again versified this theme, he kept the word pyaare in place, although the verse lacks the 'dramaticness' of the present verse. From the fifth divan [{1760,3}]:

;Thahre hai;N ham to mujrim ;Tuk pyaar kar ke tum ko
tum se bhii ko))ii puuchhe tum kyuu;N hu))e pyaare

[we have been judged culpable just for showing/'doing' love for you
if only someone would ask even/also you, 'Why did you become lovable?!']

In the second divan, Mir has written the theme of the present verse with extreme verbal economy and power of implication:


Alas, that like many good verses of Mir's, this one too has remained in the 'niche of obscurity'! Otherwise, the construction mihr-afzaa , and the implication of the second line, would be a source of pride to the best of the best.

Dagh, profiting from Mir's verses (and possibly also from Hali's comments), has brought out a good verse:

aa hii jaatii hai :tabii((at lau;T hii jaataa hai dil
kyuu;N banaa dii hai ;xudaa ne terii .suurat pyaar kii

[the temperament does come, the heart does return!
why has the Lord made your face of love?]

The expression pyaar kii .suurat is fine; but in the first line, in comparison to the power of lau;T hii jaataa hai dil , the aa hii jaatii hai :tabii((at has a displeasing limpness.

[See also {1161,1}.]



Well, the present verse is all right in its (notably unsubtle) way, but to my mind not very inspiring. I don't care for its overly obvious structure, for the same reason that I'm not fond of Ghalib's


But the Mir verse that SRF cites from the second divan simply blows me away. I love it so much that I decided to add it (and then a few other verses from its ghazal) to the website as a main commentarial selection:


Note for translation fans: Remember that, alas, pyaar karnaa can't be translated straightforwardly. It doesn't at all mean 'to make love' in the modern English sense. It no doubt has behavioral aspects, but refers not to physical sex, but to something more like flirting or cajoling.