rakhye gardan ko tirii te;G-e sitam par ho so ho
jii me;N ham ne yih kiyaa hai ab muqarrar ho so ho

1) one should put the neck on your sword of tyranny-- 'what will be, will be'!
2) in the inner-self we have now made this settled/fixed; 'what will be, will be'



S. R. Faruqi:

The opening-verse is by way of introduction, but the image of oneself putting one's neck on the sword is good. Allama Shibli has noted down an anecdote about some Iranian noble, Nusrat ul-Din, that the king became displeased with him and ordered that his head should be cut off and brought back. When this command reached Nusrat ul-Din, then he wrote the following [Persian] verse and sent it, and himself came along behind it:

'You asked for my head; I cannot send it through anyone else.
I come, and bring it on my own neck.'

The king, pleased by this temperament, spared Nusrat ul-Din's life. In Mir's verse there's a touch of this temperament, although no doubt a light one.

In both lines, the refrain too gives pleasure. For the refrain ho so ho , meaning ab jo bhii ho ['now, whatever may happen'], or jo honaa hai vuh ho ['what is to be, let it be'], has been used excellently throughout the ghazal. It's strange that [the dictionaries] Platts, Fallon, aa.sifiyah , nuur , and Janab Barkati's farhang-e miir are all devoid of this idiomatic expression [rozmarrah]. It has also escaped the eye of Asar Sahib.



Note for translation fans: How to do ho so ho ? Literally, maybe something like 'what would be, thus it would be'? (Think of 'que sera, sera' or even 'it is what it is'.) By using 'what will be, will be' I'm choosing the simplest form that sounds at all tolerable in English. It's like translating kyaa kahuu;N not literally as 'What might/would I say?' but as the instantly punchy and recognizable 'What can I say?'. It means capturing the usage, the colloquial effect, rather than the exact words. When is it better to make such a choice? Not too often, in my view; but of course, this is one of the endless series of such judgments that a translator has to make, and 'circumstances alter cases'.