haath daaman me;N tire maarte jhu;Njhlaa ke nah ham
apne jaame me;N agar aaj garebaa;N hotaa

1) we wouldn't have become irritable/peevish and laid hands on your garment-hem
2) if today there had been, in our garment/robe, a collar



haath maarnaa : 'To strike (at), to strike, to give a thump or blow; to strike down, to slay; —to acquire; —to pilfer, purloin; —to embezzle; to plunder'. (Platts p.1214)


jhunjalaanaa : To be petulant or irritable, to snap (at); to rage, storm; to be peevish or fretful'. (Platts p.411)

S. R. Faruqi:

There are a number of points in the verse, and they're all so connected to each other that the verse has become an example of uncommon construction. Apparently this is a case of 'poetic trickery' [makr-e shaa((iraanah], that if a collar had been present, then we would have torn that; we're compelled by madness/wildness, thus we grabbed hold of your garment-hem. Inwardly-- is this anger, or importunity, or deliberate disrespect toward the beloved?

Ghalib took this point and composed a peerless [unpublished] verse:


But in Ghalib's verse there's mischievousness that's based only on one point. Mir has another point: that when on the basis of the beloved's own cruelty and tyranny (or at least of love for her) madness/wildness had developed, then we had torn our collar. Now when madness/wildness again occurs, then we go around seeking our collar, but where is there any collar? Becoming irritable, we try to tear your own garment-hem, for the madness/wildness is because of you alone. Or we treat it as a cure, or we make it the target of our madness/wildness.

The intent of daaman me;N haath maarnaa can also be 'to grasp the garment-hem'. Because there's no collar, it's also possible that the collar is not in its own garment/robe. The meaning of jaame se baahar honaa is 'to be out of control'. That is, the collar has become out of control, or we have no control over it, or it has become out of control and has gone off somewhere.

Atish tries very hard to create themes like this, but his mind is small; thus he composes only this much, and then comes to a halt:

;xvushii se apnii rusvaa))ii gavaaraa ho nahii;N saktii
garebaa;N phaa;Rtaa hai tang jab diivaanah aataa hai

[of my own choice, disgrace cannot be pleasing to me
he rips his collar, when the madman becomes vexed/'tight']



Note for translation fans: In the first line haath maarnaa can have quite a range of meaning (see the definition above). But isn't it lucky that we have 'to lay hands on'? It too is versatile, in basically the same range. Sometimes translation does have its little successes.