yih jo muhlat jise kahe;N hai;N ((umr
dekho to inti:zaar saa hai kuchh

1) this interval/respite that we/they call a lifetime--
2) if you look, then it is something/somewhat like a wait



muhlat : 'Delay, putting off, deferring, retarding; respite, time, leisure; a delay granted for an appointed time or term'. (Steingass p.1355)


inti:zaar : 'Expecting, waiting (anxiously); looking out; expectation; expectancy: — intiz:aar dekhnaa , To be on the watch or look-out (for)'. (Platts p.87)


kuchh : 'Something, somewhat, anything, aught; some, any; a little, a few; ever so little; whatever; in any manner or degree'. (Platts p.819)

S. R. Faruqi:

In Urdu, muhlat is usually used to mean 'leisure, leave'. But its original meanings are: (1) slowness, languidness; and (2) the era/time. Mir's creative accomplishment is that in the present verse all the meanings are appropriate, because in the human lifetime all these qualities are present. By leaving the word inti:zaar alone, he has set up a world of possibilities.

The first point is that to label a muhlat as inti:zaar is a rare/choice idea. Usually a muhlat seems to be short, and inti:zaar usually seems to be long. A second point is that if the hours of waiting simply refuse to pass [kaa;Te nahii;N ka;Ttii;N], then the meaning of the verse is that the lifetime simply refuses to pass; it seems very difficult and heavy. Thus if the lifetime is 'leisure', then only so that it would be passed with great difficulty and trouble, such that its duration would seem even more extremely long.

Now we have to consider-- the 'interval' of the lifetime consists in waiting for whom/what? The obvious idea is that the wait is for death. That is, the moment we are born, we begin waiting-- when would we die, and when would this limited, distasteful life come to an end? Or, we wait for death because we long to go back to the place from where we came.

A second possibility is that it's a wait for some beloved.

A third possibility is that from the time they attain awareness, people begin to wait for some revolution, some powerful change in circumstances. Iqbal [the last line of 'Lenin']:

dunyaa hai tirii munta:zir-e roz-e mukaafaat

[your world is awaiting the day of recompense]

Thus in inti:zaar saa hai kuchh there are an abundance of possibilities. In the whole verse there's a touch of melancholy and a pervasive sadness. But this sadness is not from a lack of courage; rather, it is that of a person who has seen the world, and acted in the world, and attained a depth of wisdom and experience. As for self-pity-- well, there's not the smallest touch of it.

Between dekho and inti:zaar there's the light connection of a zila, because dekhnaa is used with inti:zaar ( inti:zaar dekhnaa ).

This verse comes right after the opening-verse, and is in the true sense the ;husn-e ma:tla(( . For after such a smashing opening-verse even the best of the best poets would falter/hesitate-- while here, he's composed a verse that equals the opening-verse in flowingness and ease; and in fact, is better than it with regard to theme. If the listener would not be attentive, then both verses would pass right over his head.



On the meaning of ;husn-e ma:tla(( , see {930,01}.

The connection between dekho and inti:zaar is of course not just that they are used together, but also that the root of inti:zaar is na:zar , so that it means 'to wait for' because it literally means 'to look out for, to watch for'.

Compare Ghalib's more passionate equation between life and waiting: