kaafir hu))e buto;N kii mu;habbat me;N miir-jii
masjid me;N aaj aa))e the qashqah diye hu))e

1) you/he became an infidel in the love of idols, Mir-ji
2) today you/he came into the mosque, having applied a sectarial-mark



qashqah : 'The sectarial mark made by the Hindus on the forehead with sandal, &c. (syn. ;Tiikaa ):— qashqah denaa , To apply the qashqah (to the forehead)'. (Platts p.791)

S. R. Faruqi:

On this theme there's an extremely famous verse in the first divan itself:


In that verse, the trimness of the second line is worthy of praise. But in the present verse, a novel aspect of pleasure is Mir's absorbedness-- that he not only became an infidel, but wasn't even aware of his infidel-ness. Otherwise, why would he have come into the mosque after applying a sectarial-mark? It has not been made clear whether Mir has been declared an infidel because he applied a sectarial-mark and set foot inside a mosque, or because his applying a sectarial-mark is a proof of his infidel-ness, and then after applying it his coming into the mosque is a proof of his absorption in idols. These possibilities have created a tension in the verse.

The ambiguity of the speaker in the verse is also fine-- are some people conversing among themselves, or is someone telling someone else what happened today in the mosque. The word buto;N is used both idiomatically-- that is, 'beautiful people'-- and in the dictionary sense, 'idols'. He's composed a verse full of relish. To apply a sectarial-mark and come into the mosque is also a new theme. Compare


The present verse is superior to that one.



This certainly feels like a 'neighbors' verse, bringing to bear a friendly but common-sensical concern for the lover's mad behavior. The respectfully cordial reference to 'Mir-ji' is definitely the way the 'neighbors' speak about 'Mir'. And not only about him, but to him, for the verse could perfectly well be addressed to 'Mir' himself, since the verb grammar would be unchanged. In fact that is surely a more piquant reading-- the neighbor is gently reproaching the mad lover, pointing out to him the inappropriateness of his behavior.

To come into the mosque with a Hindu religious symbol on his forehead-- what could be more inappropriate? It's quite sufficiently extreme to become an infidel and spend one's time in a temple, as in the irresistible {7,15} cited by SRF. But why would 'Mir' shock the pious by adding insult to injury? Is it done inattentively, in some state of 'self-lessness'? Or is it done because the mad lover believes that all idols are deities and all deities are idols, so he doesn't bother with petty details of theological differentiation? If his gently (?) reproachful (?) neighbor succeeds in getting his attention, will 'Mir' be regretful, or amused, or loftily Sufistic, or entirely indifferent?

In fact, this is what I call a 'gesture' verse. All we know is a single thing that 'Mir' did. All the speculation about why he did it and what he meant by it is left for the neighbors, talking to him or discussing among themselves-- and, of course, ultimately left to us in the audience, to make our own interpretations, knowing that they can never be more than guesses.