te;G-o-tabar rakhaa nah karo paas miir ke
aisaa nah ho kih aap ko .zaa))i(( ve kar rahe;N

1) never place a sword or axe near Mir!
2) may it not be that he would just destroy/'waste' himself!



.zaa))a(( karnaa : 'To cause, or allow, to perish, to destroy; to lose; to consume, waste; to apply (labour, &c.) to no purpose, to misapply; to frustrate'. (Platts p.748)

S. R. Faruqi:

In this age it's the rule that when a prisoner is condemned to death, they take from him every harmful thing (even to the extent of shoelaces) that he could use to commit suicide. The point is that he shouldn't be able to escape the punishment. It's probable that in Mir's time this rule was not in place, and that he drew forth this theme from his own temperament.

He has composed a similar theme in the third divan as well [{1171,7}]:

jab us kii te;G rakhne lagaa apne paas miir
ummiid qa:t((a kii thii tabhii us javaa;N se ham

[when Mir began to keep that one's sword near him
right then we had cut off hope for that young man]

In the present verse the 'depression' of Mir's temperament, and because of it his inclination toward suicide, have been expressed with extreme excellence. And the despair, and mood of cutting off his life from the world-- thus the verse has become one of powerful implication.

The ambiguity of the addressee is, as usual, a fine thing. The speaker is some person who is Mir's friend or Advisor, and the addressee is someone from Mir's house. Or it is Mir's physician or guardian. Although he's not present, that person himself who has been called 'Mir' casts his shadow over the whole verse.

Another possibility is that Mir might be present, but out of his senses, and this might be said right in his presence. If this is the case, then Mir is subject not only to depression, but to the symptom of 'mania' as well-- that is, he's a 'manic-depressive'. At this time perhaps the depression is upon him; thus he pays no attention to anyone, and the speaker in a low voice says this to the physician or the well-wishing guardian, that no knife or anything like a weapon should be near Mir.

Then, .zaa))i(( karnaa too is very meaningful. Apparently this is an idiomatic expression for dying; but in it is also the suggestion that by suicide a life is 'wasted' in any case. Suicide brings no benefit. Rather than taking one's own life, it would be better to fight against the conditions that caused the mood and the longing for death, or to transform them-- or else to endure them. He's composed a very fine verse.

It should be clearly kept in mind that the 'Mir' who is mentioned in the verse is not Mir Taqi Mir, but rather the lover (that is, a character in the ghazal). In other words, it's not necessary to consider this a verse based on Mir's autobiography or Mir's own experience and emotion. Rather, it's better to make very little use of the tendency to extract the poet's autobiography from his ghazal verses. The ghazal's conventions and the ghazal's themes are considerably more important in the poetry than the poet's autobiography.



SRF once again makes the fundamental point that the poet's pen-name also creates a kind of 'pen-persona', a figure whose character and behavior are those of the lover in the ghazal world, not those of the poet in real life. The evidence for this stylization is overwhelming, but the 'natural poetry' movement has been so deeply entrenched in modern Urdu poetics that fighting it is like punching a sponge.

Note for script fans: Why ve instead of the usual vuh ? Probably it's meant to represent a plural of respect, since Mir is being accorded respect ( kar rahe;N rather than kar rahe ). In what I call the 'neighbors' verses, Mir is often accorded such respect; perhaps we're meant to imagine the sympathetic neighbors as relatively humble people.

Note for translation fans: Is it possible to capture the nuances of .zaa))i(( kar rahe;N ? Something like 'to insist on destroying himself' or 'not to be content until he has destroyed himself'?