hamaarii chaah nah yuusuf hii par hai kuchh mauquuf
nahii;N hai vuh to ko))ii aur us kaa bhaa))ii ho

1) our desire/fondness is not at all fixed/dependent upon only/emphatically Yusuf
2) if there is not he, then let there be some other, his brother



chaah : 'Wish, desire, inclination; volition, will; longing, craving; love, affection, liking, fondness; fancy; choice'. (Platts p.420)


mauquuf : 'Stopped; settled; rested; ... —fixed; bound; supported; established; determined; —belonging, or restricted (to), dependent (upon, - par )'. (Platts p.1092)

S. R. Faruqi:

Momin has an extremely superb verse:

ab aur se lau lagaa))e;Nge ham
juu;N sham((a tujhe jalaa))e;Nge ham

[now, with another, we will light a flame
like a candle, we will burn you]

The narcissism of Momin's temperament is on display here-- that he's confident that when the speaker leaves the beloved and attaches his heart to someone else, then the beloved will burn in the fire of jealousy. The wordplay of lau lagaanaa and sham((a too is fine. But in his verse there's not that earthiness, that unceremonious lustfulness, that's in Mir's verse.

This theme he has composed, at a very low level, like this in the fifth divan [{1780,4}]:

ve nahii;N to u;Nho;N kaa bhaa))ii aur
((ishq karne kii kyaa manaa))ii hai

[if not that one, then his brother instead
what prohibition is there against making love?]

Here there's only lust and jesting, while in the present verse, with regard to yuusuf , the zila of chaah is very interesting; the affinity of yuusuf and bhaa))ii is clear. But the pleasure of its meaning is in its sarcastic aspect-- that Yusuf, peace be upon him, himself was very beautiful, and with regard to his character was a prophet of lofty rank; among his brothers there was no beloved-like quality except that they were stony-hearted and deceitful. Thus for the speaker to make the brother of Yusuf (the beloved) a beloved, is also a sarcasm directed at himself.



The verse's enjoyableness comes from its particularly clever wordplay (and meaning-play), which relies on the specifics of the story of Joseph as we know it.

First, there's the excellent (but not by any means unique) play on chaah , which 'desire, affection'-- and also 'well, pit' (Platts p.420), thus reminding us of what Yusuf's brothers did to him, and how the only 'desire' they felt toward him was a desire to get rid of him as conveniently as possible.

Second, there's the clever introduction of 'some brother of his' as an equally acceptable object of desire. Ordinarily, the meaning would be straightforward: 'in the case of our desire, the difference between one beloved and another is insignificant'; this is how the meaning works in {1780,4}. It would be like the difference between 'Chunna Jan' and 'Munna Jan' in a famous letter of Ghalib's. But of course in the particular case of Yusuf, his brothers differ greatly from him, according to the Qur'anic story (Surah 12). (According to the Hebrew Bible (Genesis), they also differ greatly among themselves, but that's another version of the story.)

Thus at the very end of the second line, when we finally (under mushairah performance conditions) hear that bhaa))ii ho , the whole verse suddenly lights up in our minds. For what does it mean to so casually equate Yusuf and his brothers, to treat them as readily interchangeable? What qualities of theirs are being dismissed as irrelevant, and what qualities emphasized as crucial? It's easy to make a case that the verse offers a sarcastic take on sheer, unashamed, 'unceremonious lustfulness' [be-takalluf havasnaakii], as SRF proposes.

But there's also a kind of 'love for love's sake' case that could be made. One could argue that, mystically speaking, the differences among human beloveds are irrelevant, since human beloveds are all mere placeholders for the Divine Beloved; or they are all merely secondary players in the real, Sufistic drama of the lover's progress through and beyond the world of appearances. Once the lover becomes self-transcendent or be-;xvud , does it really matter who his beloved was, or what qualities he or she had? Perhaps the beloved becomes entirely irrelevant. There are versions of the story of Yusuf in which he eventually returns and offers to marry the by-then-widowed Zulaikha. But she refuses, because her love for him has brought her so far along the mystical path that she no longer needs or wants a human lover at all.