naa-tavaanii se agar mujh me;N nahii;N hai jii to kyaa
((ishq jo chaahe to murde se bhii apnaa kaam le

1) through weakness, if there's no life in me, then so what?
2) if passion would want/wish, then even/also from a dead person it would take its work/desire



kaam : '(Indic) Action, act, deed, work, doing, handiwork, performance; work, labour, duty, task, job; business, occupation, employment, office, function; operation, undertaking, transaction, affair, matter, thing, concern, interest'. (Platts p.804)


kaam : '(Sanskrit) Inclination, wish, desire, longing, inordinate desire; affection, love, passion; sexual passion; lust; love of pleasure; the object of desire or love'. (Platts p.804)


kaam : '(Persian) Desire, wish; design, intention'. (Platts p.805)

S. R. Faruqi:

About the qualities of passion, we have already seen a very superb verse:


But here, in the second line the world itself is rare/novel. Only the greatest Sufis can have such a powerful trust in the strength of love. Then, there's this rareness/novelty and excellence of the theme-- that passion has some purposes of its own, for which it makes use of people. In this way, passion is proved to be something greater than the highest ideals and loftiest purposes. In the light of this verse, passion itself is the force that operates in the universe and in history and fulfills its intentions. For it, the dead and the living are all equal.

It's also worth noting that in the first line the decline of life because of weakness that is mentioned-- that too is probably patronized by passion. That is, first passion made the speaker an unworthy prey, stole away his strength, abruptly left him almost dead; but even so, it established its magic effect on the speaker, and the speaker's confidence in it: 'Even now I am useful to passion!'.

The trim construction of the second line, and the tight structure of the whole verse-- if any equal to it is possible, then it's found in the astonishing readiness and confidence in the speech of the second line. It's a powerful 'tumult-arousing' verse. Very fine use has been made of jii honaa in the sense of 'for life to be present'; otherwise, the poet could have said dam , jaan , etc. instead. In jii , besides 'life' there's also present a suggestion of courage and strength.

[See also {383,5}.]



The wry, vigorously colloquial tone of the second line is of course a real joy. And a substantial part of its pleasure is the double meaning of kaam , as both 'work' and 'desire' (see the definitions above). The image of passion 'making use' even of a dead body has a morbid (almost necrophiliac?) side too. But it has so many other possibilities as well; that second line is truly, ominously, unforgettable.