itnaa kahaa nah ham se tum ne kabhuu kih aa))o
kaahe ko yuu;N kha;Re ho va;hshii se bai;Th jaa))o

1) you never said this much to us-- 'Come,
2) why are you standing there like a wild thing? Sit down!'



va;hshii : 'Wild, untamed; shy; unsociable; —uncultivated; uncivilized, barbarous; savage; untractable; fierce, ferocious; brutish; cruel ; —s.m. A wild beast; a brute; a savage'. (Platts p.1183)

S. R. Faruqi:

How excellently he has mixed into the complaint, a tone of intimacy! An additional pleasure is that through the beloved's tongue he has called himself a 'wild thing'. And he has also captured a whole picture of himself. Then, because of the beloved's inattentiveness, he has also expressed the idea that if some person, looking like a wild thing, would always keep standing at the door, then who would invite him to sit down? It's quite generous if he would be allowed to keep standing at the door.

Now let's consider an additional subtlety of the expression. He has said, 'you never spoke even a word to us'. But in fact he has claimed three utterances. That is, the beloved should have said three things: (1) 'come'; (2) 'why are you standing there like a wild thing?'; and (3) 'sit down'. In each utterance there are at least two notable points. In saying 'come', the first point is that the beloved is calling him, and a second point is that the beloved is giving the speaker permission to come and go.

In 'why are you standing there like a wild thing?', one point is that the beloved is asking about his situation. A second point is that the beloved doesn't at all know the secret of the speaker's wildness. A third point is that the beloved is asking, 'Why are you standing there looking like a wild thing? If you want to remain at our door, then first make yourself look human!'

In 'sit down', a first point is, 'don't stay standing, sit down'. A second point is that if he remains standing, it's possible that the wild thing would, the Lord knows when, begin to leap around. If he sits down, then this will be come less possible. A third point is that the beloved has given permission for him to sit in her gathering; she has, so to speak, counted the speaker among her attendants and servants.

Thus we see that the matter is not simply that the beloved hasn't even spoken to him for a single moment. The thing he's complaining to the beloved about being denied, is one of special importance, and one of great benefit to the lover. Thus in 'you didn't say this much to us' is a great piece of trickery. For this reason, a madman is said to be 'clever for his own ends' [bah kaar-e ;xvesh hushyaar]. All these meanings-- and not even one word is far-fetched; the tone is full of intimacy and love, but with a complaint full of cleverness added to it.

Now please consider on what occasion the verse will have been said. Perhaps when union with the beloved would have been attained, and hearings would be opened for complaints from both sides. Another possibility is that now the lover, at the door of the beloved, is near death-- and at that the beloved pays attention to him and wants to save him from death, or at least inquires about his situation; in such a case this verse can be the lover's last words. Another possibility is that the lover is now leaving the beloved's door and going away, and at that time this question and answer take place.

From the point of view of meaning, perhaps the best possibility is that the lover's madness has greatly increased, and when he creates a commotion, or reveals the beloved's cruelty and negligence, then the beloved wants to placate the lover, and the lover replies 'Now, when you've already ruined my life, and you too have already been disgraced-- now, what's the point of asking? Previously, you never so much as...'

In the first line, tum ne seems apparently to be padding, but in fact the emphasis is on the tum . That is, it's possible that others might have said these things, but the beloved never said them. It's a peerless verse.



This is a formally unusual ghazal, in that it has only a rhyme, and no refrain. The omission of a refrain is quite permissible, but is not common, and Mir rarely does it.

The descriptive range of va;hshii is another delight, since it covers all the ground (see the definition above) between behaving like a fearful wild creature ('untamed, shy, unsociable'), and behaving like a dangerous wild creature ('uncivilized, savage, fierce'); thus 'a wild thing' is the most versatile translation. Madness may make the lover behave like a wild thing; or else it may be simply his unkempt appearance that causes people to keep him at a prudent distance.

And as SRF notes, the verse paradoxically presents itself as an intimate reproach to someone for never inviting, or even permitting, any intimacy. So what indeed can be the situation in which the lover speaks, but only to reproach the beloved for never having spoken? We are left to decide for ourselves. The verse is utterly simple in its structure, yet brilliant in its suggestive power.