ay mujh se tujh ko sau mile tujh saa nah paayaa ek mai;N
sau sau kahii;N tuu ne mujhe mu;Nh par nah laayaa ek mai;N

1) oh, you obtained a hundred like me; I didn't find one like you
2) you abused me hundreds of times; I didn't bring one [word] to my lips



S. R. Faruqi:

This ghazal is after all in the meter of rajaz mu;samman saalim ; this event is of the speaker's, of the lover's, and of the human's pain/torment/punishment [rijz , rujz]. Throughout the ghazal there's so much 'flowingness' that I was only with difficulty able to prevent myself from putting the whole entire ghazal in the intikhab. [See also the discussion in {1589,1}.] These four verses that are before you-- although they are very powerful, the power and [English word] 'impact' of the whole ghazal is something else/more [kuchh aur].

The first line of the opening-verse recalls Sa'di, and the second line is an echo of a theme of Hafiz's. The beloved is peerless and without equal, but there can be many lovers. The beloved's very characteristic is that there should be no one like her; at least, this is what the lover believes. Otherwise, he wouldn't have made the beloved into the beloved, as Sa'di says [in Persian]:

'Although in your collection are many people better than I,
I don't consider anyone in the whole world to be equal to you.'

Another quality of the beloved's is abusiveness. That is, she goes on reviling the lover. Hafiz [in Persian]:

'Yesterday with my own ears, from her lips
I heard such things that-- don't ask.'

In Hafiz's verse there's an enjoyable ambiguity and wordplay, but in Mir's lines too there are two aspects of meaning: (1) You reviled me, but I didn't say anything in reply; and (2) You abused me a great deal, but I never brought to my lips even one of your utterances, so that people wouldn't call you 'abusive'.

In the present opening-verse, there's seemingly a lack of 'connection'. But in reality, this is not so. There are other lovers as well who are like the speaker, whom the beloved will have abused; but not all of them are such that they would, like the speaker, remain silent. Apparently the beloved has many lovers, but none of them are like the speaker. Since the speaker hasn't found anyone like the beloved, he has not only gone on enduring the beloved's abuse, but has kept on refraining from even bringing them to his lips.

This theme he has changed just a bit and expressed, giving it a tone of complaint, in the second divan [{918,4}]:

aisii hii zabaa;N hai to kyaa ((uhdah bar aa ho;Nge
ham ek nahii;N kahte tum laakh sunaate ho

[when there is such a tongue, will vows be fulfilled?
we don't say a single word; you abuse us a hundred thousand times]

Then, changing it a bit more, he's said in the fourth divan [{1482,10}]:

;harf-o-su;xan kii us se apnii majaal kyaa hai
un ne kahaa hai kyaa kyaa mai;N ne agar kahaa kuchh

[how would I have the power to speak with her?
what-all she said, if I said something!]

Both these verses have the style of 'affair-evocation'. In the present opening-verse, there's a universal description of passion and lover-ship.



Since SRF has so highly praised the effect of the whole ghazal, and has even made a playful pun about the name of its meter, I've presented all the verses.

The meter is indeed unusual; Ghalib never uses it even once in his whole divan. It consists of four repetitions of the same foot:

= = - = / = = - = / = = - = / = = - =

It feels 'front-loaded', because each foot begins with two long syllables and ends with only one. This gives it a certain swingy effect. In addition, Mir has chosen to treat the meter as having a kind of quasi-caesura in every line, so that there are strong semantic breaks in almost every case between the two halves of the line; even where the phrase-break is less strong, certainly no word is ever allowed to straddle the borders of the caesura. One line, the first line of {897,3}, also has nice internal rhyme at the quasi-caesura.

In fact, the tendency of words not to straddle foot-breaks is so conspicuous that apart from two exceptions ( jaagah in line 7a; hazaaro;N in line 8a) the only place it occurs is in the words containing the rhyme-syllable. This means that the words of the ghazal tend to be short and punchy, and they feel as if they're in perfect harmony with the meter. The lines move rapidly, with no checks or hindrances (and no need for much mental effort either). This is part of the effect of 'flowingness' of which SRF speaks.