kyaa kahye kyuu;N-kih jaane;N be-pardah jaatiyaa;N hai;N
is ma((nii kaa bhii hogaa i:zhaar raftah raftah

1) what can one say, since/how lives openly/'unveiledly' go/depart
2) of even/also this meaning, there will be disclosure/revelation gradually, gradually



kyuu;N-kih : 'Because, because that, since; in that, inasmuch as'. (Platts p.890)


be-pardah : 'adj. & adv. Unveiled, uncovered; immodest; openly'


i:zhaar : 'Manifestation, revelation, disclosure, demonstration, publication, display, declaration; statement'. (Platts p.60)


raftah raftah : 'Going on, in the act of going, in process of time; step by step, by degrees, gradually; leisurely, easily'. (Platts p.595)

S. R. Faruqi:

This verse necessarily brings to mind


but between the two verses there is, in addition to a certain amount of similarity, a considerable difference as well. The most important point is that in {60,4} the cause of the lives' departing (even though it's enormously ambiguous) has been expressed: that neither does passion have [full] expenditure, nor does beauty have care/caution/mercy; thus in those gatherings at length lives depart.

In the present verse, there's a quite different riddle: why do people, in full public view, in the bazaar, give their lives? Or why do people's lives depart in full public view (and no one stops them)? Or again, why do people die in this way, so that the secret of their death is revealed? If we take kyuu;N-kih to mean 'in what way?', then the interpretation becomes, how do people die be-pardah (that is, making the beloved manifest, telling about her)-- when at such a time, this is not something to be told about. When the time will come, then this matter too will be revealed/manifested. In this reading there's an echo of {60,4}-- that whenever we would wish, wherever we would wish, we would pause and die.

In both cases, the scene is mysterious and melancholy; it evokes a certain amount of astonishment-- that people keep on giving up their lives in the full gathering, before everyone; or that they are so oppressed by the beloved's cruelty, or they are so intensely dying of love for her, that before her eyes they keep falling down and dying. Why is all this, or in what way is it possible? This matter has not been explained, but the speaker has certainly said that gradually it will be revealed.

Who will reveal it-- this too he has not explained; he has only said that it will be revealed. It's as if its own self-revelation, at its own time, is governed by the same law that causes people's lives to depart. In the second line, the word bhii seems to be padding, but in fact it's meaningful. In the world there are many other things of which the mystery has already been revealed to us; this secret too will be revealed in its time. Or again, there are many other mysteries that become apparent not immediately or all at once, but are revealed gradually, by degrees. The secret of the opening of the bonds of life too will be revealed by degrees.

Then, the question arises, when will this secret be revealed? Keeping in view the fact that from the beginning of creation people have been going on dying be-pardah , and even now there's no possibility of the secret of it being revealed, in the second line there's also a sarcastic view of the human condition-- that humans are prisoners in the hand of powers that are beyond their comprehension and their senses. Whatever those powers want, humans do-- and perhaps they don't even understand that it's not a free deed.

If we look at it from this point of view, then we can't help but recall Hafiz's [Persian] verse below, with its parrot who is repeating the things taught to it by the Eternal Teacher. It mechanically fulfills a duty; it doesn't even know what the words mean that it so zealously goes on repeating:

'He left me before a mirror like a parrot, and went [behind the mirror],
What the Eternal Teacher said to me, I speak.'

This verse comes right after the opening-verse. Both verses seem to be 'connected'. Here is the opening-verse:

'I have said many times, and say again,
That I, with my heart lost, do not run down this road of my own will.'

The idea that in Mir's verse lies between the lines, in Hafiz's verse we can see openly/clearly. On a superficial level, Mir's verse has a melancholy mystery to it. If we assume that the person who is the speaker of the whole verse knows the answer to the question in the first line, then the idea also acquires a sarcastic aspect-- that some people are acquainted with the mystery, but they don't tell.



The two possible readings of kyuu;N-kih give very different structures to the first line. If we use Platts's official definition of 'because, since', then the effect is that the speaker is left speechless, because of the way lives 'unveiledly' depart. If we use SRF's colloquial sense of 'in what way' [kis :tara;h], then the effect is that the speaker can say nothing about the way in which lives 'unveiledly' depart.

Then, what exactly is meant by the intriguing be-pardah ? SRF seems to envision first the more specific possibility of lovers' dying in public view-- perhaps culpably, perhaps helplessly. Then he moves on to envision the more general possibility that all humans die 'unveiledly'-- that God kills us blatantly, openly, without feeling any need for justification, without giving us even the smallest illusion of autonomy. In short, he kills us 'without a veil'.

If we take the 'veil' imagery seriously, we're rewarded with a wonderfully paradoxical reading of the second line. Normally, when we say that something will be 'revealed' by degrees, 'gradually, gradually', what comes to mind is something like the slow lifting or removal of a veil. But here, what is to be slowly revealed is not what lies behind a veil, but the meaning of being be-pardah . What will be 'unveiled' is the nature of 'unveiledness' itself, as it governs human life and death.