faqiiraanah aa))e .sadaa kar chale
kih myaa;N ;xvush raho ham du((aa kar chale

1) faqir-like, we came; having called out, we moved on
2) such that, 'Dear sir, remain happy!'-- having given a blessing, we moved on



S. R. Faruqi:

To go to the beloved's door and call out, and having given a blessing to move on, or to give a blessing to the beloved-- this theme is very ancient. Amir Khusrau has an extremely 'mood'-evoking [Persian] verse:

'We cleaned the dust of your doorsill with our cheek, and went away,
We spoke a blessing for your prosperity, and went away.'

Hafiz has composed the theme of the blessing [in Persian] at least two times, and each time with a different aspect:

'On the road of passion, there are no stages of nearness and distance,
I see you clearly, and send you a blessing.'

'Hafiz, your task is to speak a blessing, nothing more.
Don't worry about whether she heard it or not.'

The effect on Mir's verse of Khusrau's verse, and Hafiz's second verse, is clear. But in Mir's verse there are also some new aspects of meaning, as will be seen. For the moment, listen to Sa'ib [in Persian]:

'From your red lips I didn't hear any harsh words, and I went away,
I spoke the blessing 'Be happy' and, unsuccessful, went away.'

Sa'ib's verse is a superb example of sarcasm and temperament/wit, but his theme is a bit light (or rather, let's say that it's devoid of 'mood'). Khusrau's verse is a masterpiece of 'mood'. Both of Hafiz's verses have 'tumult-arousingness'.

Jur'at, in his later years, wrote a ghazal 'on' this ghazal of Mir's. (I have said 'in his later years' because this ghazal is in his second divan.) He made a great effort to create a ghazal in Mir's style, but not one of its verses reaches the level of any of Mir's verses. Thus the theme of blessing, Jur'at has versified like this:

sadaa tum salaamat raho merii jaa;N
ham aa kar yihii bas du((aa kar chale

[may you always remain in wellbeing, my dear
we came, and gave only this blessing, and moved on]

We see that wordiness, and a superficiality of tone, have greatly lowered the tone of Jur'at's verse. In the same way, Khvajah Vazir has made the 'blessingness' of the blessing very limited. His verse is no doubt trim, but with regard to the theme it's inferior even to Jur'at's:

tuu bhii dikhlaa de ka((bah-e abruu
ham bhii dast-e du((aa u;Thaate hai;N

[you too, do show the Ka'bah of your eyebrow!
we too lift the hand of blessing]

In our time Suhail Ahmad Zaidi has, in reply to the voice, composed a good verse on the importance of the conversation (even if it would be negative)-- that if a reply is given (even if it would be a refusal), then it's been proved that the voice has been heard; that is, that the existence of the blessing-giver has been established/acknowledged. (In the same way, the tyranny of Israel against those who fight for Palestine shows that the existence of the fighters has been established/acknowledged. Suhail Ahmad Zaidi's tone is a bit oratorical and patronizing, but there's no doubt of his having a point:

;harf-e inkaar bhii us dar se ba;Rii ni((mat hai
yih faqiiro;N ke hai;N asraar .sadaa kar ;Daalo

[even/also a word of refusal from that door is a great benefit/favor
these are the secrets of faqirs-- do call out!]

In Mir's present opening-verse there are these aspects of meaning:

(1) In the first line .sadaa karnaa means 'to ask for in the manner of faqirs', and also 'to call out'. For the first meaning there's the warrant of Mir's own usage, but look at Ghalib and Khvajah Vazir as well. Ghalib:


Khvajah Vazir:

ho ;Ganii bosah-e lab de ;Daalo
ham faqiiraanah .sadaa karte hai;N

['become wealthy-- just give us a kiss!'
faqir-like, we call out]

(Vazir's second line clearly shows a reflection of Mir's verse.)

(2) In addition, faqiiraanah aa))e has two meanings. One is that we came in the manner and style of a faqir; the other is that we came having changed into the dress/guise of a faqir.

(3) Then, myaa;N ;xvush raho is a blessing, and also merely an expression of leave-taking. For example, we say achchhaa bhaa))ii ;xvush raho , ham to chale . If it is only an expression of leave-taking, then the blessing remains ambiguous. It's possible that he might have said the blessing only in his heart, or else that the blessing that he said has not been given in the verse.

It's also possible that the blessing wouldn't be in that moment, but rather that he would be about to give a blessing-- that is, what he said after du((aa kar chale has been omitted from the verse. The [dictionary] bahaar-e ((ajam says that [in Persian] ;xvush baashiid has the meaning of 'come, come near'; it's a Persian idiom, but if we keep this meaning in mind, then the pleasure of the verse is doubled.

(4) The opinion that Muhammad Hasan Askari has expressed about this verse is an extremely excellent remark, with his usual meaningfulness, on the whole of Mir's poetry. Askari Sahib says,

Mir is not usually despairing of life, or disaffected with it; rather, he teaches gratitude and acceptance and endurance and firmness.... The individual ought to try to seek out the law of life, and try to bring its own self/ego and individuality into harmony with it. In this context, whatever Mir wanted to say, he said in a single verse: [the present verse].

(5) About the text of this verse, it's necessary to say that the second line is usually read and written without the word kih . (Askari Sahib too has written it like this.) But the correct test is with kih . Mir usually scanned the word myaa;N as a long syllable; but in addition, saying kih myaa;N there's also excellence of meaning. If we take .sadaa to mean 'a call', then whatever is after the kih becomes the call. And if we take .sadaa to mean 'the call of a faqir', then the interpretation emerges that the speaker's request is tum ;xvush raho . (The way they say in Lucknow, 'May the Lord give no pain except the pain of Husain'.) That is, what we ask from you is that you remain happy.

There might also be a suggestion that the speaker asks only this: that you should not grieve at his faqir-ship, or at his going away. In the light of this interpretation, between the speaker/lover and the beloved there's a secret oneness, but out of some necessity they cannot express their relationship or affection; rather, perhaps they are compelled to renounce it. If there's no kih at the beginning of the line, then these meanings won't emerge, because then the whole line will become a 'call'.

(6) In chale there's a suggestion of dying; that is, now we will leave this street and die.

If we look at this abundance of meaning, then the verse's 'mood' seems to be suppressed. And still our critics keep proclaiming that Mir only weeps his heart out, and that too in an extremely simple and unconvoluted style-- although in this verse in the first divan itself, the 'mood' is rich [{522,4}]:

darvesh hai;N ham aa;xir do ik nigah kii fur.sat
goshe me;N bai;The pyaare tum ko du((aa kare;Nge

[we are a darvesh after all, with a leisure of one or two glances
seated in the gathering, my dear, we will give you a blessing]

Kalidas Gupta Raza has seen the present verse, with minor changes, in the handwritten divan of Balaji Tirambak Zarrah Burhanpuri. This can be an uncommon 'coincidence'; it's also possible that Zarrah by way of a tribute, might have adopted Mir's verse; God alone knows.

[Further notes (2015): The word myaa;N (Mir's preferred pronunciation) is impossible to translate because it’s most often a term of endearment and respect but can be used for any male human being, a little boy, the beloved, or a venerable old man. Used ironically, the word could be a term of derision. Mir has used the word perhaps more often than any other poet before or since. Given the range of meanings, no satisfactory or even approximate translation can be found.]

[See also {490,5}; {1031,8}; {1437,5}.]



It's easy to see why the kih would have been lost from the beginning of the second line in popular recitation, since its absence permits the modern pronunciation of miyaa;N (as short-long) to be used. Of course the loss reduces the subtlety of the line; but then, as SRF ruefully notes in his excellent analysis, even nowadays many (most?) critics and readers are not looking for subtlety when they read Mir.

Just look at how elegantly subtle is this simple-looking, words-of-one-syllable kind of verse-- and that too an opening-verse, in a rather short meter, with long rhyming elements, so that the poet was working under tight constraints:

faqiiraanah aa))e

we came in the guise of a faqir
we came like a faqir

.sadaa kar chale

having given the special faqir's call [a blessing that implies a request for alms], we moved on
having called out, we moved on

kih myaa;N ;xvush raho

such that [the call was] 'dear sir, be happy'
such that, dear sir, wishing you happiness,
such that 'come near to receive a blessing' (as in the Persian idiom suggested by SRF),

ham du((aa kar chale

having given that blessing, we moved on
having given a blessing, we moved on
having given the blessing, we would move on (taking the perfect as an idiomatic subjunctive)

Ghalib uses the special call of the faqir or darvesh more amusingly, in his own very famous verse: