baal tere sar ke aage to jiyo;N ke hai;N vabaal
sar mu;N;Daa kar ham bhii hote hai;N qalandar ho so ho

1) the hair on your head is, always-already, burdensome/vexatious to lives
2) having caused our head to be shaved, even/also we are [habitually] a qalandar-- 'what will be, will be'



aage : 'Before, in front, in the presence of, confronting, facing, opposite, in view, in sight; in the time or reign; in advance; foremost; fore, beyond, onward, further, further on, furthermore, more than this; in future, hereafter, henceforth; again; for the future; next in time or place, then, afterwards; thereupon, after that; formerly, in former times; already'. (Platts p.72)


vabaal :  'Unwholesome; burdensome; painful, vexatious ... ; —anything painful or distressing; bane, pest, plague'. (Platts p.1178)


qalandar : 'A kind of wandering Muhammadan monk, with shaven head and beard, who abandons everything, wife, friends, and possessions, and travels about'. (Platts p.794)

S. R. Faruqi:

aage = formerly
jiyo;N = the [oblique] plural of jii

This theme too is interesting-- that if the length or the thickness of the beloved's curls is even formerly (that is, with regard to its nature) burdensome (a burden to life, a burden to the heart), then in response to it, or because of it, we caused our own hair to be shaved off. Qalandars used to cause themselves to be shaved, because this was a sign of renunciation. Here, because of a powerful relationship, qalandar-ship is being adopted.

Here too, ho so ho is very appropriate. He has said that what would be, would be; and the real matter is that what was to happen, has indeed already happened-- that he has already become a qalandar and has decided to renounce the world. That is, the beloved's curls were for us (and for others) an entanglement of our lives-- thus we break off our relationship not just with them, but with everything. If the truth be told, after that what is even left to happen?

The 'tajnis' of baal and vabaal is fine. If we take aage in the meaning of 'in the presence of', then the interpretation becomes that before your head (curls and tresses) our own hair is burdensome to our life. That is, because of your curls we go around tearing our hair. (To tear one's hair in madness is a common thing/idea.)



That aage is indeed a complexity (see the multifarious definition above), and Mir has been careful to give us no way to clarify it. The reading of 'formerly' suggests a temporal sequence: 'Formerly your hair drove me mad, so now I've taken the counter-measure of shaving mine (and renouncing the world)'. However in that case, the verb in the first line should (and easily could) have been the , in the perfect tense. But of course there are the other lovers whose lives are also affected: in general, inherently-- or as SRF says, 'with regard to its nature'-- your hair drives people mad; therefore I've taken my counter-measures.

The other reading mentioned by SRF, 'in your presence', leads to a spatial rather than a temporal contrast: 'Your hair drives people mad when they are in your presence, so I've arranged not to be in your presence (by becoming a wandering ascetic)'.

And the hote hai;N in the second line is also piquant: in the 'habitual' tense, it sounds normal, usual, but ultimately contingent. It sounds as though on most days the speaker is a qalandar, but not necessary on all of them-- and not as a rigid principle or the result of a vow. Moreover, there's the bhii : if 'even/also' we are habitually a qalandar, is the comparison to other qalandars (we join their ranks), or to other, earlier mad lovers (we react as they have reacted)?

So if we must wander across time and space, and venture into philosophical territory, why not think of her hair as inherently maddening, as 'always already' (ha!) a burden to her lovers' lives?