pahu;Nchaa to hogaa sam((a-e mubaarak me;N ;haal-e miir
us par bhii jii me;N aave to dil ko lagaa))iye

1) it will have arrived in the 'auspicious hearing', the condition/state of Mir!
2) if even despite that [the desire] would come into your inner-self, then please attach your heart



sam(( : 'Hearing, listening to; ... —the organ of hearing, the ear'. (Platts p.676)


;haal : 'State, condition, circumstance, case, predicament, situation; existing or present state'. (Platts p.473)

S. R. Faruqi:

Momin's extremely famous verse is directly based on Mir's verse:

ek ham hai;N kih hu))e aise pashemaan kih bas
ek vuh hai;N kih jinhe;N chaah ke armaa;N ho;Nge

[one is ourself-- who became entirely repentant
one is herself-- who will have longings of desire]

Mir's verse is far superior to Momin's. But through enthusiasm, fashion, and the 'exquisite cruelty' [sitam-:zariifii] of critics, the fame of Momin's verse has spread to the horizons, and except for Sardar Ja'fri Mir's verse has been able to come to the notice of very few people. Mir's verse is a masterpiece of sarcasm, and in it is an extremely broad overview of all the aspects of passion, and all the eras of a lover's life. The beauty of the style of address is something else again. In both lines the conversational style, the appropriateness of everyday speech, the 'dramaticness' of the ambiguity-- all these are there in addition.

In Mir's verse the addressee can be the beloved herself, and it's also possible that this verse might have been spoken at a time when the beloved told the speaker that her heart wanted to come to him. Now the speaker (who is not Mir himself) says, 'you've heard about Mir's state/condition', and so on.

By keeping Mir in the third person, several pleasures have been obtained: (1) In the expression, there's no aspect of personal complaint and self-pity, as there is in Momin's verse. (2) It's also possible that the addressee might be Mir's own beloved; that is, that Mir's wretched state might have come about through passion for the addressee herself. (3) Mir's ruined condition is being mentioned in many places; thus the speaker says that she will have heard about it. (4) It's also possible that the speaker might be saying to himself, 'My friend, you'll have heard about what happened to Mir; even so, if your heart would insist, then all right-- fall in love, and see'.

In Momin's verse there's only the theme of repentance, and the innocence of those people who nevertheless have a longing for passion. In Mir's verse, the ;haal-e miir covers the whole circumstances, from beginning to end. Then, heaping sarcasm upon sarcasm, there are sam((-e mubaarak and us par bhii jii me;N aave . The conversational style has endowed the situation with an air of immediacy of which Momin's verse is devoid. In jii me;N aave there's the aspect of wilfulness/stubbornness, and also of the speaker's disdain toward the addressee. Otherwise, it was also possible to say us par bhii jii nah maane -- but that does not have the same implications of wilfulness/stubbornness and sarcasm about the addressee's inexperience.

Among all the critics of Mir, Sardar Ja'fri's good taste and his deep knowledge of Mir's poetry are apparent. Sardar Ja'fri is among the group of critics who, like Muhammad Hasan Askari and Majnun Gorakhpuri, entirely understood the truth that Mir is a poet of poets, and in him are present all the styles/aspects of Urdu ghazal. Sardar says, 'Mir's rank is that of such a poetic fountain-head that from it all the rivers burst forth'. So is it not surprising that this same Sardar Ja'fri falls prey to erroneous assumptions about Mir and also says that Mir's poetry

'is a fathomless ocean of grief, in which are some waves of sighs and some typhoons of neediness. For him to laugh in sarcasm is difficult, to become annoyed and hurl abuse is easy. (After Sauda, the most abuse will be found in the poetry of Mir.) For this reason someone has said that Mir's high poetry is limitlessly high, and his low poetry is limitlessly low.'

To the extent that it's a question of the assumption that Mir's heights are limitlessly high and his lows are limitlessly low, I have already explained in the Introduction to volume 1 (page 29) [of SSA] that what Sheftah said was not [in Persian] pastash bah ;Gaayat past-o-bulandash bisyaar buland ; rather, in the original it's like this: pastash agarchih andak past ast , amaa bulandash bisyaar buland ast [Although his low is a bit low, his height is very high].

To the extent that it's a question of the fathomless ocean of grief, etc., it will be enough to say that to bind a great poet like Mir within this kind of 'poetic' and baseless/unreal phrases is injustice toward the whole of Urdu poetry.

But the most surprising thing about these words of Sardar Ja'fri's is his saying that Mir's field is not sarcasm, and for him to give abuse is easy, to use sarcasm difficult. It's true that in Mir's poetry there are many reproaches, and in SSA itself such verses are mentioned here and there. But neither is it correct that after Sauda the most abuse is in Mir (although it's possible that in Mir's ghazals there might turn out to be a great deal of abuse), nor is it correct that Mir had no affinity for sarcasm. The truth is that in Mir's poetry sarcasm, irony, ironic tension are all abundant.

In his poetry, 'ironic tension' results from a complexity of meaning, when different kinds of meanings in the text would grapple with each other for dominance. Cleanth Brooks has established the theoretical foundation of this quality in poetry. It has no direct relationship with sarcasm/satire; rather, it is the situation of the whole body of poetry-- that in a verse several meanings draw our attention in different directions. Here there's no need to give examples, because in the remarks in every volume [of SSA] sarcasm and ironic tension have been noted.

For the moment, let's consider the following points about the present verse.

(1) It hasn't been made clear whether the speaker has sympathy for the addressee, or is taunting him/her. Either view is possible. Or rather, it's also possible that both views might be present at the same time.

(2) Then, jii me;N aave and dil ko lagaa))iye have an ironic tension because of the paradox-- since one meaning of jii is dil . So the meaning becomes that if it would come into your heart, or if love would be born in your heart, then attach your heart in love.

(3) To make even clearer the dearth of ironic tension in Momin's verse, and the presence of ironic tension in Mir's present verse, I present this verse of Mir's own, from the first divan [{598,2}]:

pahu;Nchaa nahii;N kyaa sam((-e mubaarak me;N miraa ;haal
yih qi.s.sah to is shahr me;N mashhuur hu))aa hai

[has my condition not arrived in the auspicious ear?
this story has become famous in this city]

In this verse there's only sarcasm, and because the speaker uses the first person singular there's come to be a style like that of Momin's verse. In Mir's present verse, the speaker's style of speech is allusive in several directions: sarcasm toward beloveds, sarcasm toward lovers, sarcasm toward lover-ship, disdain for the addressee, sympathy for the addressee. All these are interlocked with each other, each one struggling for supremacy. That is, the text that bears the ironic tension shows sarcasm toward us ourselves-- 'look, do you understand what-all we're saying?'.

Finally let's consider a verse from the sixth divan [{1889,6}]:

ay hamdam ibtidaa se hai aadam-kushii me;N ((ishq
:tab((-e shariif apnii nah iidhar ko laa))iye

[oh my friend, from the beginning passion is engaged in man-slaying
please don't bring your noble temperament in this direction!]

The image in the first line (as if passion is some dastan-like kind of disaster that spends its nights and days hunting down men) has a strange power. And compared to it the second line has said with so much admonitoriness, that clearly in the tone of admonition a parody of the Advisors' style has been created. This verse too is fine.

[See also: {596,2}.]



The 'auspicious hearing' or 'auspicious ear' is the main locus of the sarcastic effect. It is from a hyper-courteous level of language appropriate to royalty and those much superior in rank; to use it is like using 'to command the beverage of life' [nosh-e jaan farmaanaa] instead of 'to drink' [piinaa]. Hyper-politeness of course readily sounds mocking or sarcastic.

The most plausible setting for the verse would surely be an older, veteran lover trying to warn off a naive, enthusiastic, vulnerable youngster. The sarcasm would help to catch the listener's attention, since a well-known, much-gossiped-about cautionary example is being invoked: 'Well, Your Excellency, before you go giving your heart away-- you've surely heard what it's done to Mir!'. One of the pleasures of the verse, as SRF notes, is that it leaves the nature and direness of Mir's 'condition' entirely undescribed-- and thus to be filled in by our own imagination.