rakhaa hai baaz hame;N dar bah dar ke phirne se
saro;N pah apne hai i;hsaa;N shikastah-paa))ii kaa

1) it has kept us away/aloof from wandering from door to door
2) upon our head is [the burden of] the kindness of broken-footedness



se baaz aanaa : 'To come or turn back (from), draw back (from); to leave off, desist, refrain, abstain (from); to give up, abandon, relinquish, renounce; to keep (from), avoid, shun; to decline, refuse'. (Platts p.121)


i;hsaan : 'Doing that which is good; beneficence, benefaction, benevolent action, benefit, favour, kindness, good offices, obligation conferred'. (Platts p.29)

S. R. Faruqi:

It's possible that after seeing Mir's present verse, Ghalib might have thought of the theme of his


In Mir's verse, having the kindness of the broken feet be 'upon the head' is very fine. Ghalib's verse is fresh and clever in his own characteristic way, In it there's also a touch of sarcasm, and a kind of rakish indifference [qalandaraanah-pan] as well. In Mir's verse, there's dignity and tranquility.

One further point is that the feet will presumably have been broken because of wandering from door to door. Now when his feet have become broken, even from that he's pulled out an aspect of pride.



SRF takes the 'wandering from door to door' to be something tedious and bothersome. That's why he compares the present verse to Ghalib's {120,10}, in which the speaker is grateful to the highway robber for sparing him from the anxiety of guarding his valuables from theft. Thus the highway robber's looting resembles the brokenness of the feet-- both are practical interventions that rescue the speaker, willy-nilly, from tedious and bothersome concerns.

But it's also possibile to take 'wandering from door to door' as something actively humiliating, like begging-- something that a proud and autonomous person ought not to do (see the definition of baaz aanaa above, with its strong overtones of active rejection). Compare


in which the speaker, with a similar arrogance, 'has no mind' to go around rubbing his forehead on the doorsills even of holy places. In this sense, the most relevant comparison is with those Ghalibian verses advocating independence at all costs, and rejecting even the humiliation of complaint; see for example the complex


Kindnesses and favors can be, in Urdu as in English, a 'burden' on the recipient, who feels indebted and thus humiliated. In Urdu idiom, this burden, like so many others, is borne on the head. Thus the present verse seems also to contain a complaint-- not of the broken feet, but of the 'burden' of gratitude for the kindness done by 'broken-footedness'. The kindness done by 'broken-footedness' saved the speaker from one form of humiliation (that is, from any temptation to go wandering like a beggar from door to door), while at the same time obliging him to bear the burden of another form of humiliation (that of indebtedness to the kindness of broken-footedness).

Of course, the 'head' and 'foot' wordplay is particularly enjoyable in such a situation. Also delightful is SRF's suggestion that wandering from door to door was what wrecked the speaker's feet in the first place, so that there's a witty 'sour grapes' aspect to the verse as well.

Note for grammar fans: Why the pluralization of saro;N ? Presumably it's like jaanaa;N , a plural that's treated more as an abstract form of the singular (since it's hard to believe that the verse means to evoke the plight of a large number of broken-footed lovers). As another point of grammar, notice that the second line is one of those idiomatic cases in which apne doesn't mean 'pertaining to the subject of the verb'; we really have to take it as short for hamaare apne .