yuu;N qaidiyo;N se kab ta))ii;N ham tang-tar rahe;N
jii chaahtaa hai jaa ke kisuu or mar rahe;N

1) why/when would/should we ourself remain, {casually / like this}, more confined/vexed than prisoners?
2) the inner-self wants to go {in some direction / to some extremity} and just die



tang : 'Contracted, straitened, confined, strait, narrow, tight; wanting, scarce, scanty, stinted, barren; distressed, poor, badly off; distracted, troubled, vexed; dejected, sad, sick (at heart)'. (Platts p.340)


or : 'Origin; part, side, direction, quarter; end, extremity, limit, boundary... ; extreme, outside, utmost, highest point or pitch'. (Platts p.104)

S. R. Faruqi:

The opening-verse is by way of introduction. Though indeed, the opposition is fine-- that we are more narrow/confined than prisoners, but he speaks of our wanting to go somewhere (that is, having left the prison) and die. This command over everyday language is not vouchsafed to everyone.



How elegant is the use of or ! Not only its common meaning of 'direction', but also its sense of 'extremity, limit, boundary' (see the definition above), both work so well as alternatives to the 'narrow' confinement of a prisoner, who can neither choose his own direction of movement, nor go very far in any direction at all.

And of course, the opposition of rahnaa (to remain in prison) versus jaanaa (to go out of prison)-- and also of jaanaa (to move along, to go) versus mar rahnaa (to die and 'remain' dead).

Note for translation fans: It's really hard to convey mar rahnaa , isn't it? Something like 'to die and get it over with', perhaps; or 'to go ahead and die'. 'To die and stay dead' doesn't work at all.