ek aafat-e zamaa;N hai yih mir-e ((ishq-peshah
parde me;N saare ma:tlab apne adaa kare hai

1) he's a single/particular/unique/excellent 'disaster of the age', this passion-pursuing Mir!
2) behind/within a veil, he achieves all his purposes



ma:tlab : 'A question, demand, request, petition; proposition; wish, desire; object, intention, aim, purpose, pursuit, motive'. (Platts p.1044)


adaa karnaa : 'To perform; accomplish; fulfil; discharge; liquidate, pay; to effect or accomplish satisfactorily, properly, &c.'. (Platts p.31)

S. R. Faruqi:

In one sense this verse is a commentary on the preceding verse [in SSA-- that is, on {1050,07}], or an expression of opinion about it. But the most interesting thing about the verse is that because he achieves his purposes behind a veil, Mir has been called an aafat-e zamaanah . The kind of person who ought to have been called an aafat-e zamaanah is someone who achieves his purposes very openly, and and in this way opens the door of mischief/sedition. But what's being said is that Mir achieves all his purposes behind a veil.

Thus the meaning of this is that in the place and the time that are spoken of, there was some kind of restriction, or free conversation was considered bad, or again that in Mir's heart were secrets/mysteries such that manifesting them would create a risk of mischief/sedition or misunderstanding. But nevertheless Mir makes apparent those very veils, in the guise of metaphors. It's clear that such a person has definitely become an aafat-e zamaanah , because whoever understands his utterance will become aware of those secrets, the revelation of which might possibly arouse mischief/sedition.

In this connection, consider also


in which Mir has declared Rekhtah to be 'a veil of speech/poetry'. But in that verse, that same 'veil' or that same 'speech/poetry' had been declared to be his 'art/skill'.

In the present verse the word ma:tlab is also fine, because it has two meanings: (1) those things that he intended to say; that is, what was in his heart/mind; (2) things about his purpose, for example, 'I love you', and so on. According to meaning (1), the intention can also be 'things about the beloved', as in Maulana-e Rum's famous [Persian] verse:

'It's better if the secrets of the heart-stealers
Would be presented as the narratives of others.'

Then, ik aafat-e zamaa;N hai can be praise as well, the way in some situations :zaalim can be a word of praise. Thus the person who speaks behind veil after veil-- it's as if he's become a master of the art/skill of saying nothing at all, and saying everything.

[See also {1501,6}.]



The present verse is the second and final one in a verse-set of two verses. Here's the first verse, {1050,18}:

gah sar-gu;zasht un ne farhaad kii nikaalii
majnuu;N kaa gaahe qi.s.sah bai;Thaa kahaa kare hai

[sometimes he brought out the narrative of Farhad
sometimes he always sits and tells the story of Majnun]

SRF considers the present verse to be a kind of commentary on {1050,7}, which appears twelve verses earlier in this very long ghazal. But Mir himself very explicitly has marked the present verse as a continuation of {1050,18}, the first verse in the verse-set.

When viewed as a close continuation of {1050,18}, the verse has a rather different look, because we know how 'Mir' went about being an aafat-e zamaanah , a notoriously wild and crazy guy-- and also an ((ishq-peshah , a practicer of passion. It seems that what he did was to tell the stories of the legendary lovers Farhad and Majnun. This is a more intriguing piece of information than the relatively simple report that he operated behind a veil. For it sounds as if his 'veil' consisted of Farhad and Majnun and their stories.

In either case, we know that behind the veil he achieves 'all' his purposes. Here of course the giant question mark looms-- what are these purposes? If 'all' of them are achieved, it's only too possible-- since we know how the ghazal world works-- that they do not include attaining the favors of the beloved. But they might include such goals as fame as a storyteller, and the power to make his listeners reflect admiringly on the nature of passion, and (most obviously of course) the likening of his own life to the lives of Farhad and Majnun. We are left to ask ourselves, in what sense-- metaphorical, symbolic, archetypal, even literal-- might 'Mir' have made literary use of Farhad and Majnun?

Compare Ghalib's famous verses about the indispensability of metaphorical language for having quite different kinds of discussions:

G{59,6} and G{59,7}.