jab se naamuus-e junuu;N gardan ba;Ndhaa hai tab se miir
jeb-e jaa;N vaa-bastah-e zanjiir taa daamaa;N hu))aa

1) since the time when the honor/disgrace of madness has been bound/tied on my neck-- since then, Mir,
2) the neck-opening of my life became bound/restrained with chains as far as the garment-hem



naamuus : 'Reputation, fame, renown; esteem, honour, grace, dignity; —disgrace, reproach, shame'. (Platts p.1118)


jeb : 'The opening at the neck and bosom (of a shirt, &c.); the breast-collar (of a garment); the heart; the bosom'. (Platts p.412)


vaa-bastah : 'Bound; restrained; —referred back (to); related, connected (with), depending (on)'. (Platts p.1171)

S. R. Faruqi:

There are a number of meanings for naamuus . Among them, the following are to our purpose: honor, shame, reputation, fame, disgrace, battle. In addition, jeb has many meanings; among them those below are useful for us: neck-opening, breast, heart, armor (this latter meaning is actually jebah , but sometimes jeb too appears).

Let's first take the second line: the neck-opening of our life-- that is, in other words, the life of our life (because the meaning of garebaa;N pha;Nsnaa is 'to be entangled in some difficulty')-- or our life, which is torn and ripped up like a neck-opening, has now been bound in chains down to the garment-hem (if we take it as 'the breast of the life' or 'the heart of the life', then we can call it a metaphor for the depths of the spirit-- that is, the true individuality).

If we take it in the sense of 'armor', then the 'armor of the life' became the body itself. Because the way armor protects the outer body-- that is, keeps covering it-- in the same way the body too protects the life. That is, it keeps hiding it. Thus the meaning of this line is that our body, or our life, or our throat, or the depth of our spirit, now has been bound with chains down to the garment-hem.

Now let's look at the first line. This state of affairs exists from the time when the honor and pride of madness, or its credit and reputation, or its ill-repute and disgrace, or its battle, have been bound onto our neck. That is, from the time when the rank/status was given to us of being the cream of the crop of madness, its honor has been in our hands; or since the time when the ill-repute and disgrace obtained by means of madness fell to our lot; or since the time we obtained the ill-repute of being among the madmen; or since the time when it was established as our duty to fight on behalf of madness.

In the binding of the neck of honor there's also the suggestion that no matter what this rank/status may be, no matter how prestigious it may be, it's really a major headache. And the result of it is that we've been bound in chains down to our garment-hem, or our life has been bound in chains, It's obvious that in such a situation we can hardly fight battles, or protect the honor of madness. Or if this 'honor' is ill-repute and disgrace, then now, when we have been held down in chains, how can we be freed from it?

The land of passion or the world of ordinary men-- it's an excellent picture of them both. And there's a slight hint of bitterness too, and of dignity and disaffection as well. In every case, there's a kind of duress. Whether a man is made into a respected person, or a criminal, or a hero-- that duress still remains. The result of every action is that a burden would fall on the man.

Another interpretation can also be that for a period of time we kept roaming around as a wanderer, but since the responsibility for the honor of madness was placed upon us, we have wrapped our whole body in chains and have been lying in one place. 'Honor', 'madness', 'neck', 'bound', 'neck-opening', 'life', 'bound with chains', 'garment-hem'-- among all these words there's an affinity.

The theme of the first line is borrowed from [the Persian of] Salik Nazdi:

'Madness has placed my pride and honor upon my neck,
It is not mad that I would have given over these chains to it.'

But Mir has taken Salik's smallish thought from one level to quite another. Salik's verse is alive because of Mir's verse.



There are also some enjoyable sound effects, with all the j sounds-- jab , junuu;N , jeb , jaa;N , and especially the enjoyable zanjiir . The second line feels very flowing-- jaa;N and daamaa;N form a little internal rhyme of their own.

And then, why would the lover's 'neck-opening of life' be bound with chains? The intransitive verb ba;Ndhaa gives us no clue as to who has done the binding (it might even have been done by the lover himself), or why the binding has been done. As SRF has made clear, naamuus can have the dual senses of 'honor' and 'disgrace'; moreover, the binding of the neck-opening might be either desirable or undesirable. Thus there are at least four strongly marked possibilities:

=For the 'honor' of madness, it's desirable that the lover has been bound so entirely (since thus his madness is made clear, and he's caused to suffer gallantly for it).

=For the 'honor' of madness, it's undesirable that the lover has been bound so entirely (since he thus can't go running off into the desert and do other appropriate things to manifest his madness and show the honor in which he holds it).

=For the 'disgrace' of madness, it's desirable that the lover has been bound so entirely (since thus he's unable to run around doing even more scandalous and reprehensible things).

=For the 'disgrace' of madness, it's undesirable that the lover has been bound so entirely (since he's been rendered helpless and unable to do anything about his disgrace).

The emphasis on the speaker's being bound from his 'neck-opening' to his 'garment-hem' also makes us aware of his clothing, and of the 'ripping of the collar' that might continue, if vigorously pursued, all the way down to the hem of the garment, so that the whole garment would be torn open and the madman would be left at least semi-naked. (The common--and equally ambivalent-- pair nang-o-naamuus can't help but come to mind, with its strong evocation of nangaa , 'naked'; on all this see G{3,5}.)

One purpose of the binding is surely to prevent the madman from rending his garments. And if it's the 'neck-opening of his life' that's involved, it's quite possible that only the binding is what is preserving his life. Is that a cause of 'honor' or 'shame' to him and to (his) 'madness'? Is it desirable or undesirable? As usual, it's left up to us to decide.

The metaphors are so elaborate and contrived that they get in each other's way. The verse seems to be a victim of its own 'delicacy of thought'.