tamannaa-e dil ke liye jaan dii
saliiqah hamaaraa to mashhuur hai

1) for the longing of the heart, we gave our life
2) our adroitness/skill/nature is, after all, well-known



tamannaa : 'Wish, desire, longing, inclination... ; request, prayer, supplication, petition'. (Platts p.337)


saliiqah : 'Nature, natural disposition or constitution; genius; taste; good disposition; method, knack, way; knowledge, skill, dexterity, address'. (Platts p.671)

S. R. Faruqi:

Mir has used the word saliiqah several times; for example, see




The original meaning of saliiqah is 'nature, temperament', but in Urdu it has the sense of 'adroitness', of 'the right way of doing something', and especially of 'in love, a skill at accomplishing more'. That is, ;xvush-saliiqagii and saliiqah are almost the same in meaning. Then, it also has the sense of 'craft, skill' or 'craftsmanship, skilfulness'. For example, Qa'im has this verse:

mai;N is saliiqe se dil kaa mazah tamaam liyaa
kih muu bah muu-e badan se sinaa;N kaa kaam liyaa

[with such adroitness I took the whole pleasure of the heart
that I made every hair of the body do the work of a needle-point]

In the present verse of Mir's, all the meanings that have been mentioned above are appropriate. If saliiqah is taken in the sense of 'nature, temperament', then the theme becomes more interesting: our temperament and nature are well-known in the whole world-- that we made such efforts and struggles to attain the heart's longing that in the process we gave up our life itself. Or again: when we did not attain the heart's longing, then we gave up our life.

If saliiqah is taken to mean 'adroitness', then the theme becomes that we gave our life not to obtain some contemptible trifle, but for the heart's longing. That is, our living and our dying were both done very adroitly.

In the tone of the verse is an uncommon dignity, self-confidence, and composure. A [Persian] verse by Sam Mirza comes to mind:

'The fruit of my lifetime, I sacrificed in the path of a beloved
I am pleased with my life, since I accomplished something.'



SRF maintains that the tone [lahjah] is full of 'an uncommon dignity, self-confidence, and composure' [;Gair-ma((muulii vaqaar aur ;xvud-i((timaad aur :tamaaniyat], but I can't see why that should be the only way to read the verse. The second line could surely also be enjoyably read in a tone of bitterness or sarcasm ('Yeah, sure, we're famous for our 'adroitness'-- look at what we achieved with it!').

The multivalence of saliiqah (see the definition above) in fact, by no coincidence, makes possible a wide variety of tones. In addition, the deed reported in the first line could readily be interpreted in many ways-- as a failure, a success, a triumph, a humiliation, etc. It seems to me that this multivalence was exactly what Mir had in mind. For another very similarly constructed verse in the same ghazal, see


For more on such problems of 'tone' and 'mood', see {724,2}.