niklii thii us kii te;G hu))e ;xvush-na.siib log
gardan jhukaa))ii mai;N to sunaa yih amaa;N hai ab

1) her sword had emerged, people became happy-fortuned
2) when I bent my neck, then I heard this: 'There is protection/amnesty now'



amaan : 'Security, safety; freedom from fear, ease of mind; protection, safeguard; promise or assurance of security or safety, indemnity, quarter'. (Platts p.80)

S. R. Faruqi:

The theme of not being able to be murdered at the beloved's hands, or of sadness at being only wounded and left alone, Indo-Muslim poets have often versified. Good poets have created eloquent aspects in this theme, as in this extremely fine verse of Vali's:

dil chho;R ke yaar kyuu;N-ke jaave
za;xmii hai shikaar kyuu;N-ke jaave

[having left the heart, how would the beloved go?
the prey is wounded, how would she go?]

Or Mirza Hasan Beg Rafi, in the 'ground' of Sa'di and Naziri and Khusrau, has said it [in Persian] like this:

'Till Doomsday, that slain one's heart will know no rest,
Whose heart longed for more wounds, and the murderer has gone.'

Mir himself has already versified this theme in the first divan:


But the present verse's dramaticness, and the implication that the people upon whom the beloved has used her sword are happy-fortuned, cause this verse to be better than these three just mentioned.

To use the metaphor of showing oneself ready to die by bending the neck-- in which helplessness, thankfulness, and a welcoming of death are all combined-- is an uncommon idea. Then, he's shown the beloved as so far from ordinary people that she's not human, but rather seems to be some natural force. Her sword doesn't emerge every day; this auspicious event only happens once in a while. The beloved's sword silently and instantaneously finishes off many. I too happily bend my neck, but a voice is heard: 'The remaining people have protection/amnesty'.

The sarcasm of the word amaa;N too is peerless in its own way. The one who was murdered has been declared to be of happy fortune, while the one who has been saved has received amaa;N -- and what possible use is such an amaa;N , which would render one deprived of happy fortune?

If you want to see the difference between a minor poet and a major poet, place beside this verse of Mir's the one below, by Asghar Ali Khan Nasim:

maut ne qismat bhii kho))ii kyaa burii shai hai umiid
jab jhukii gardan mirii vuh aur kaa qaatil hu))aa

[death lost its fate too-- what a bad thing is hope!
when my neck bowed, she became the murderer of another]

[See also {584,8}.]



The use of 'happy-fortuned' [;xvush-na.siib] to mean 'slaughtered' seems like a horribly unattractive euphemism, but of course in the ghazal world it may be perfectly straightforward. The lover's situation may be like that of someone waiting in a long line for something valuable, only to have the window of opportunity close just before his turn comes. Few things are more annoying, frustrating, unjust.

But of course, the lover doesn't really expect anything else. Give him a little time; he can always reframe it into a special 'test' meant for him alone. And in any case, he blames mostly his own ill-fortune for all such adversities.

Note for grammar fans: I initially read the second line as 'in neck-bending, [they/we/I] heard' [gardan-jhukaa))ii me;N to sunaa] because the need for ne is so ingrained in my mind. But it wasn't ingrained in Mir's; see the GRAMMAR page for plenty of other such ne omissions.