vuhii pahu;Nche to pahu;Nche aap ham tak
nah yaa;N :taali(( rasaa ne ja;zb kaamil

1) if that very one would arrive, then he/she would arrive of himself/herself to us
2) here-- neither successful/'arriving' fortune, nor perfect/accomplished attraction



rasaa : 'Arriving, attaining; causing to arrive (used as last member of compounds); quick of apprehension, acute, sharp, penetrating, skilful, capable, clever'. (Platts p.591)


ja;zb : 'Drawing, attraction; allurement; absorption'. (Platts p.378)


kaamil : 'Perfect, complete; full, plenary; whole, entire; positive, decisive, absolute; —learned, accomplished, proficient, skilled, adroit, expert'. (Platts p.805)

S. R. Faruqi:

aap = oneself

This theme too is interesting, and possibly within it the same point might be hidden that's in


That is, because of our worthlessness we kept veiling ourselves from her, although she had unveiled herself and had become favorable to us. Even if that allusion isn't there, still this verse has in its own right an extraordinary flirtatiousness [baa;Nkepan]. Our fortune is not successful, thus we can't reach her. Up to this point, the idea is commonplace.

But the next idea is that our ja;zb is not kaamil . If ja;zb is taken in the sense of 'attraction, inclination', then the interesting situation is created that when we don't feel a perfect attraction toward her, then her coming or not coming has no special meaning. We are only playing the game of lust/desire, and she too is only amusing herself. If she comes she comes, if she doesn't come then so what.

If ja;zb is taken in its true meaning-- that is, drawing-power-- then the point is that in us there's definitely some drawing-power, but it's not kaamil . We have some power to draw her toward us, but not enough to be able to bring her near us. If we consider there to be an izafat between ja;zb and kaamil , then one meaning also becomes that we are not full of drawing-power the way 'perfect, accomplished' people are; we are still deficient.

Another great excellence of this verse is its tone. There's a strange kind of carelessness, and a kind of melancholy and hopefulness both. Hopefulness in the sense of confidence in the compassion and generosity of the beloved (whether divine or human): we are not worthy of anything, but even so s/he can rain down favor upon us.

It's possible that the theme of this verse might allude to [the Persian of] Sarmad:

sarmad agarash vafaast ;xvud mii-aayad
gar aamadanash ravaast ;xvud mii-aayad
be-huudah charaa dar pa))e uu mii-gardii
banashiin agar ;xudaast ;xvud mii-aayad

'Sarmad, if he is faithful, he will come by himself,
If his coming is suitable, he will come by himself.
Vainly you wander, searching for him.
Sit quietly; if he is God, he will come by himself.'

In Sarmad's quatrain the depths of meaning and the darvesh-like dignity and the lover-like coquetry are at a level that Mir's verse can't reach. But in Mir's verse too is a malang-like quality: if the beloved would come by himself to us then he would come; we ourself have no perfect attraction, nor a successful fortune. Along with a feeling of his own flaws and his own failings, there is a strange self-confidence and a bit of cynicism that in its place is not less than Sarmad's darvesh-like high courage.



Another small but nice touch is the literal meaning of the Persianized rasaa in the second line as 'arriving, attaining', which elegantly resonates with the two appearances of the Indic pahu;Nche in the first line.

SRF's observation is excellent, that the imperfect or incomplete 'attraction' in the second line need not mean only the attraction or drawing-power that the lover has over the heart of the beloved, but can also quite well mean the attraction or drawing-power that the beloved has over the heart of the lover. Even the 'here' doesn't work against this possibility, because ja;zb , like 'attraction' in English, can readily go both ways ('my attraction to him' is about how I am attracted to him; 'my attraction for him' is about how he is attracted to me). It's this second, piquant reading that accounts for much of the rakish, rindaanah tone of the verse: it invites us to imagine that there might actually be limits to the power of the beloved.

Note for grammar fans: That's of course not the ergative ne in the second line; it's simply the negative nah that has been written so that it can readily become a long syllable to suit its metrical position.

Note for translation fans: What to do about aap (or SRF's counterpart, ;xvud )? If we say 'he will come himself', that risks sounding as though the alternative would be for him to send someone else. If we say 'he will come by himself' (or 'on his own'), that risks sounding as though the alternative would be for him to come accompanied by someone else. If we say 'he will come of himself' that does the job, but it's also highly archaic. To say 'of his own will' or 'voluntarily' would be another possibility, though less wide-rangingly literal. There's no single ideal solution, but one must at least be as aware as possible in each case of the risks of misreading. For the purposes of this project, I try to push the English as close as possible to the Urdu. It doesn't always want to go, but I like to imagine that between English and me there's enough deep lifelong ja;zb to get the job done.