kyaa kahuu;N tum se mai;N kih kyaa hai ((ishq
jaan kaa rog hai balaa hai ((ishq

1) what can/might I say to you, about what it is, passion
2) it's a mortal illness, it's a disaster, passion



((ishq : 'Love, excessive love, passion (for, kaa )'. (Platts p.761)


balaa : 'Trial, affliction, misfortune, calamity, evil, ill; a person or thing accounted a trial, affliction, &c.; evil genius, evil spirit, devil, fiend; a wonderful or extraordinary person or thing; an awful or terrible person or thing'. (Platts p.163)

S. R. Faruqi:

Mir has composed a ghazal with the refrain of ((ishq in every divan except the sixth divan. The ghazal that's in the first divan [{252}] is in the same meter as the present ghazal, but it has only two verses. [In the third divan there's the 'tumult-arousing' {1158}.] In the fourth divan [{1417}, {1419}] and the fifth divan [{1658}, {1659}] the verses with the refrain ((ishq are the most superb.

It's possible that from the viewpoint of the finest psychology, this scale might have some special importance. I can say this: that at the time of arranging those divans, Mir was between seventy-two and seventy-six years old; and at that age to have such a turmoil and ebullience about passion can be the result of some psychological manifestation.

In the present ghazal, the opening-verse is by way of introduction, but in the second line he has well brought together diverse things (one physical, one supernatural).



These ghazals with the refrain of ((ishq are indeed a remarkable set. SRF provides an overview of them, which I've slightly supplemented and for which I've supplied links. He also tends in SSA to merge verses from different ham-:tar;h ghazals into a single ghazal, and I've disentangled the verses and presented those from each ghazal in divan order. It's hard to think of any other refrain that's as powerful in shaping the mood (and such a powerful mood!) as this one.

The only ghazal from this whole set of seven from which SRF has not chosen any verses is the one from the first divan, {252}. So let me just add its second and final verse:

tuu nah hove to na:zm kul u;Th jaa))e
sachche hai;N shaa((iraa;N ;xudaa hai ((ishq

[if you would not exist, then the whole of poetry would arise [and depart]
the poets are truthful-- {the Lord is passion / passion is the Lord}]

Note for translation fans: I translate ((ishq as 'passion' partly because I get tired of the ubiquity of the often limp and soggy 'love'; also, this choice frees up 'love' as a translation for mu;habbat and the like. It's very defensible, because ((ishq does have the sense of excess built into it (see the definition above), as 'passion' does in English. My only regret is that there isn't then a convenient counterpart for 'lover' and 'beloved'. Somehow 'passioner' and 'bepassioned' just don't cut it.