jahaa;N me;N miir se kaahe ko hote hai;N paidaa
sunaa hai vaaqi((ah jin ne use ta))assuf thaa

1) in the world, why are ones like Mir [habitually] born?!
2) whoever has heard of the death/'event', he felt regret/affliction



vaaqi((ah : 'Event, occurrence, incident; —news, intelligence; —accident; misfortune; a grieyous calamity; —battle, encounter, conflict; —casualty; death; —a dream, vision'. (Platts p.1175)


ta))assuf : 'Grieving, lamenting, pining, brooding over trouble or affliction; grief, regret, repentance'. (Platts p.305)

S. R. Faruqi:

For the points of comparison between this verse and Ghalib's


see the Introduction to SSA volume 1, pp. 52-55.

This verse of Shaikh Ibrahim Zauq's too must have been in Ghalib's mind:

kahte hai;N aaj ;zauq jahaa;N se gu;zar gayaa
kyaa ;xuub aadmii thaa ;xudaa ma;Gfarat kare

[they say that today Zauq passed from the world
what a fine man he was-- may the Lord have mercy on him!]

In Zauq's verse, the utterance 'they say' is fine. Because of it there's an increase in the verse's dramaticness and the effect of the speaker's helplessness and solitariness. But by saying 'what a fine man' he has made Zauq's character limited and one-dimensional. In Ghalib's and Mir's verses, the character of the dead man is endowed with various aspects.

In a way, all three verses represent the temperament and principles of the poets. In Zauq's verse there's flowingness, an elegant style of colloquial speech; there's no broad experience of life, no complexity of character. In Ghalib's verse the tone is far above that of everyday speech, but there's so much flowingness and trimness that it creates the illusion of conversation. In Mir's verse there's an apparent simplicity, but inside it is a very deep density. (For clarification of these things, see the Introduction to SSA volume 1.)

In Mir's verse the word vaaqi((ah has a special pleasure, because the word is also used in the sense of 'death'. In one place in the second divan Mir has taken advantage of this word:


In the first divan, in


he has used this word with a perfection that can scarcely be equaled.

[See also {1327,5}.]



Since it's an 'A,B' verse, we're left to decide for ourselves the relationship between the two lines. SRF in his 'Introduction to SSA volume 1' discussion, partially translated on this website, notes a number of complex possibilities. And then, is the main point of the verse a bitter reflection on the wretchedness of lovers in general (A), followed by what is merely an illustrative example (B)? Or is the main point a particular announcement of Mir's death (B), to which people react with sympathy and sorrow (A)?

This verse reminds SRF of a similarly elegaic one of Ghalib's, but it reminds me also of another one of Ghalib's, this one about the birth, rather than the death, of the extraordinary personage who is the lover:


And how much lighter, wittier, and also more complex it is! Of course, Mir isn't always this bleak; but Ghalib's sheer amusingness is something I often miss in Mir, despite his 'dignity' and all.

Compare also


in which even the poet's accomplishment becomes a form of ill omen.

Note for grammar fans: Why the plural jin ne combined with the singular use ? My theory is that if he'd said jis ne , the suggestion might have been that only one person, or perhaps one particular person, heard of the 'event'; and that's not what the poet wants. If he'd said un ko , it wouldn't have fit the scansion; u;Nhe;N would have fit, though, and Mir does use it (an example appears in the discussion of {46,4}). But perhaps a group reaction of bleak sympathy is less powerful than an individual reaction felt by every single hearer of the news?