kyaa kyaa javaan ham ne dunyaa se jaate dekhe
ai ((ishq-e be-mu;haabaa dunyaa ho aur tuu ho

1) what-all youthful ones we have seen going from the world!
2) oh unrestrained/unkind passion-- 'the world may/should be, and you may/should be'!



javaan : 'Young, youthful, in the prime of manhood or womanhood; vigorous; blooming; —a young man or woman; a youth; an adult; a man, an able-bodied man; a soldier, warrior'. (Platts p.394)


mu;haabaa : 'Partiality (for); lenient or gentle treatment, kind behaviour; respect, regard, friendship, affection; —caution, care'. (Platts p.1006)

S. R. Faruqi:

Apparently duniyaa ho aur tuu ( vuh / aap ) ho is an everyday-speech blessing. But its meaning has been reversed. Lalita Prashad Shafaq Lakhnavi, in his farhang-e shafaq , has given the meaning as 'the profit of the world is from you alone'. And he has noted Ghalib's verse:


In the nuur ul-lu;Gaat , the meaning has been given as 'as long as the world would remain, may you remain'. And in addition to Ghalib's verse given above, he has noted a verse of Insha's:

is gul kii tire paas agar buu-e qabaa ho
dunyaa ho ;Gara.z aur aur tuu ay baad-e .sabaa ho

[if you would possess the scent of the robe of this rose
then in short, may the world be, oh spring breeze, and may you be]

In the aa.sifiyah [dictionary] there's the same meaning that's in the nuur , and the same verse of Ghalib's has been noted. Both meanings seem appropriate, but the difficulty is that both are particularly opposed to each other. In everyday speech always, and in idioms usually, there's one single meaning. Thus here too, from two meanings it will be necessary to choose one.

If we place all three verses before us, the meaning expressed by Lalita Prashad seems better, but it's also the case that Mir has apparently used this phrase in a dictionary meaning too. See


Now let's consider Mir's theme. That beauty has no restraint/kindness, and that passion does not become fully expended-- this theme Mir has expressed in:


In the present verse he has told us the effective principle of destruction in the whole world of passion: that it is unrestrained/unkind and unhesitating. The glory of his eloquence [balaa;Gat] is that he hasn't made clear that in the situation he has expressed in the first line-- that one after another, youthful ones are leaving the world-- the youthful ones have been favored/conveyed by passion. The structure is such that the idea has spontaneously become clear. For nothing to be said, but still the guess made about it would be entirely correct-- this is the perfection of eloquence.

In the second line, dunyaa ho aur tuu ho has the two meanings that were mentioned above, but the dictionary meaning is also correct-- that when all the youthful ones have arisen and gone, then in the world passion will remain, and there will be empty towns. On this reading, it is less a blessing than a curse, and expresses a kind of sorrow and anger. Having given the 'blessing' a sarcastic interpretation, he has inverted it, and has thus given it a new direction.

Then, the aspect has been expressed that passion is an effective principle, but it is devastating, and like Thomas Hardy's 'immanent will' it is unstoppable and unconscious. Although if passion were conscious, then it wouldn't go on unhesitatingly, unstoppably, emptying out the world. The proof of its being unconscious is not only that it is unrestrained (unhesitating), but rather this too: that if its intention were that the world should become empty of youthful ones, then where would passion obtain the people to do its work, upon whom it could make its 'will' prevail? When the world becomes empty of youthful ones, then passion will become useless. Thus its unrestrained spreading of destruction is self-defeating.

The first line is very powerful. The special reason for this power is that the speaker is an eyewitness of the event described in the line. For example, if the line had been like this:

(1) kyaa kyaa javaan yaaro dunyaa se chal base hai;N

(2) kyaa kyaa javaan aa;xir dunyaa se chal base hai;N

(3) yaa;N se gu;zar ga))e hai;N kyaa kyaa javaan dekho

and so on, then no such power would have existed. The theme [in these alternative versions] is just the same, the key words ( kyaa kyaa , javaan , dunyaa ) are all the same, but still there's not that power.

In the real line the speaker himself is not a part of the situation described in it, but this too is the excellence of the line-- because the speaker comes before us in the form of a direct, but impartial, eyewitness. A single scene is passing before him, and has kept on passing. With full sorrow and tumultuous grief, he informs us of this situation.

In the first line kyaa kyaa javaan is an insha'iyah structure, and is full of possibilities. In the second line there are two phrases, and both are insha'iyah. To make 'Passion' the addressee is a superb thing in itself. Then, to call it 'unrestrained', and in admiration or blessing to use a phrase in which several emotional 'moods' are present, is the height of poetic composition. He's composed a devastating, tumult-arousing [shor-angez] verse.

[See also {907,1}.]



How brilliant is Mir's use of that idiom dunyaa ho aur tuu ho ! It's not surprising that even early dictionaries disagree on its meaning. Its very simplicity is what opens up such protean possibilities. For further discussion, see another excellent use of it in


The dunyaa ho is a future subjunctive: 'the world might/would/should be'. But the tuu ho can be either a future subjunctive ('you might/would/should be') or else an intimate imperative ('be!'). Two large possibilities open up right there: either 'the world' and 'you' are being thought of in parallel, in exactly the same imaginative terms, or else 'the world' is being subjunctively envisioned, and 'you' are being given a command (to exist). Here are just a few of the interpretive possibilities:

=As long as the world would be, may you be! (a blessing).

=As long as the world would be, you yourself be! (a command).

=As long as the world would be, you would be. (a prediction that you would last as long as the world does).

=(Other, contingent things might cease to be, but ultimately) the world would be, and you would be. (a prediction that the world and you would outlast everything else)

=(You and the world are such amazing things, nothing else can even come close-- in the final round of the competition,) there would be the world, and there would be you. (a claim that the world and you are more powerful than everything else).

Obviously, here is a case where tone is all-important. A melancholy tone, a rueful tone, a sarcastic tone, a marvelling tone-- how entirely the choice would transform these utterly simple little insha'iyah phrases.

Moreover, addressing 'Passion' with the intimate tuu puts it in the same intimate grammatical (and perhaps also more than grammatical) category as God, a lover, a dear friend, a despised enemy, a small child. These various kinds of possible intimacy clarify some of the available choices of tone.

A minimal, un-pin-downable, ultimately uninterpretable phrase like this works as well in a tiny poem as a gesture does. It's compressed, evocative, memorable, centrally important-- and irremediably opaque.

Note for grammar fans: If tuu ho as an intimate imperative sounds awkward, that's because in (modern) practice tuu ho jaa would almost always be used. Similarly (though not identically), tuu so would in practice be replaced by tuu so jaa .