barso;N ta))ii;N jab ham ne taraddud kiye hai;N tab
pahu;Nchaayaa hai aadam ta))ii;N vaa((i:z ke nasab ko

1) when for years we have done hesitations/perplexities/exertions, then
2) we have caused to arrive at Adam, the lineage of the Preacher



taraddud : 'Wavering, vacillation, fluctuation (of opinion), hesitation, indecision, irresolution, suspension of judgment; perplexity, anxious consideration, anxiety, trouble (of mind); refusal, rejection; debating; application, labour, exertion, endeavour, contrivance; cultivation, improvement'. (Platts p.317)


nasab : 'Genealogy; lineage, race, stock, family, caste'. (Platts p.1137)

S. R. Faruqi:

The repetition of ta))ii;N is not very good; but the uniqueness of the theme, the expansiveness of the tone, and the naturalness of the sarcasm have entirely hidden this flaw.

In several places, Mir has called the Shaikh a 'donkey'. From the third divan [{1246,6}]:

shuhrah rakhe hai terii ;xariyyat jahaa;N me;N shai;x
majlis ho yaa kih dasht uchhal kuud har jagah

[your donkey-ship remains famous in the world, Shaikh
whether it would be a gathering or a desert, leap and gambol around in every place]

From the fifth divan [{1610,2}]:

;haj se jo ko))ii ((aalim ho to saaraa ((aalam ;haj hii kare
makke se aa))e shai;x jii lekin ve to vuhii hai;N ;xar ke ;xar

[if from the Haj anyone would become learned, then the whole world would do only/emphatically the Haj
the Shaikh-ji came from Mecca, but he is the very same-- entirely a donkey]

But the theme of the present verse is novel, and on top of this is its metaphorical style. Nowhere has he said, nor has he even suggested, that he considers the Shaikh a donkey. In {1610,2} he had given a proof; in the present verse there's not even that, but the idea is entirely proved.

One form of sarcasm is 'understatement'; it's the one that has been used here. Usually, the means adopted for sarcasm are hyperbole, exaggeration, and 'overstatement', because the basis of sarcasm and jesting is a kind of disconnect or inconsistency. If the intention is to create sarcasm not through hyperbole but through minimalism, then a light utterance is used with the implication of a heavy one. This is no easy task.

Here Mir has accomplished a momentous feat with great success-- he has merged the Preacher's lineage into the human race. But he's also said that in this task he had great difficulty. That is, to believe this man to be descended from Adam is not easy, and a doubt in any case has remained: is he really descended from Adam, or not?

The point of the meaning, the theme of doubt about the Shaikh's descent from Adam, contains several possibilities. The obvious possibility is of course that the Shaikh is not a man, he's a donkey. Now in this there are these possibilities: (1) he's stupid; (2) he's stubborn and mulish; (3) he has a disgusting appearance; (4) he says stupid things; (5) he leaps and gambols around. (There's a suggestion of the namaz, we seek protection in God.)

Another possibility is that the Shaikh has no humanity. That is, those lofty qualities with which God has burdened mankind alone, are not present in him.

A third possibility is that the Shaikh is stony-hearted and hard-spirited (usually birds of prey are thought to be stony-hearted and hard-spirited). That is, since he opposes wine and carousing, and restricts these things, he is stony-hearted to the point of being non-human.

A fourth possibility is that he is a disaffected/displeased/cranky person.

Now let's consider the excellence of the expression. In the background of the verse is a series of events that we can express like this: The Preacher's actions and behaviors are not like those of mankind. There is the suspicion that he might not be related to the lineage of Adam. But he lives after all in our own world, and lives his life the way we do. Thus the thought occurred that we ought to learn what kind of beast this is, whose qualities are not human but whose habits are like those of mankind. After much concentration and thought, it was able to be established that the Preacher too is a person of the human lineage.

The original meaning of taraddud is 'to come and go this way and that, to wander anxiously, to go and return'. In Urdu it's also used in the sense of 'anxiety, alarm' and 'concentration and thought'. Nasikh:

jigar bhuntaa hai ik suu ik :taraf ko za;xm pakte hai;N
taraddud ;xaanah-e dil me;N hai ;Gam kii mehamaanii ka

[in one direction, the liver is fried; on another side, wounds are ripened/'cooked'
there is anxiety/thought in the house of the heart, about the guest-ship of grief]

Then, 'supervision of land' is also taraddud . Mir Anis:

bhalaa taraddud-e be-jaa se us me;N kyaa ;haa.sil
u;Thaa chuke hai;N zamii;N-daar jin zamiino;N ko

[what in the world is the fruit of inappropriate supervision
of those lands of which the landlord has already left?]

It's clear that all these meanings have an affinity within the present verse. But taraddud with the meaning of 'to wander anxiously', and so on, has an affinity with pahu;Nchaayaa that gives a special pleasure.

A final point is that in bringing the lineage of the Preacher back to Hazrat Adam there's the implication that the Preacher may indeed be a descendant of Adam, but it is through a number of intermediaries-- thus his being a human is in any case uncertain/doubtful. He's composed a devastating verse.



SRF's comment about understated, faux-naïf sarcasm reminds me of an old joke I've heard used about more than one politician: 'Have you heard the sad news? X's library burned down and both books were destroyed, including the one he hadn't finished coloring'. Here, an apparent vindication (the Preacher is indeed descended from Adam) is presented in such a context of difficulty (it took years, it required so much anxiety, perplexity, effort) that the 'vindication' emerges in a fog of uncertainty that's really very funny.

SRF unhesitatingly identifies the Preacher with the Shaikh. For clarity, and for faithfulness to the Urdu, I treat these two figures as separate characters in the ghazal world. They clearly have a lot in common. But Mir insults and abuses the Shaikh in far more verses than he does the Preacher. This could mean something particular, or it could just mean that a metrically 'long-short' word like shai;x is sometimes more convenient to fit into a line than a 'long-long' one like vaa((i.z .

Mir has a much higher proportion of explicitly Islamic religious verses than Ghalib does. He also spends a great deal more time abusing Islamic religious figures-- mostly the Shaikh, but here of course the Preacher. Is there a connection between religious and anti-religious verses? Why is the abuse so egregiously, so extravagantly vicious? I'm not sure, but it's very striking.

Note for grammar fans: Both lines have verbs in the present perfect tense, which is unusual. The past perfect would be far more common here. Is the tense meant to convey anything special? If so, I don't know what.