ham kyaa kare;N ((alaaqah jis ko bahut hai us se
rakh dete hai;N gale par ;xanjar nikaal us kaa

1) what can/might we do? --whoever has much connection with her,
2) having pulled out her/his dagger, they place it against his throat



alaaqah : 'Attachment, connection, dependence, relation, affinity; concern, interest; part; reference, bearing (to), relevancy; commerce (with), intercourse, correspondence, communication'. (Platts p.763)

S. R. Faruqi:

((alaaqah = relationship

In this verse Mir has arrived at a strange and extraordinary theme. Whether we consider it to be based on rivalry, or consider it to be a level of 'oblivion in the beloved' [fanaa fii al-ma((shuuq], whoever would have great attachment to the beloved, the placing against his throat of the beloved's dagger, or his own dagger, is a very interesting and supreme theme.

For rakh dete hai;N there are several meanings: (1) this is the custom of the world; (2) the beloved puts the dagger to the throat; (3) the beloved's agent or Doorkeeper does this action; (4) the Rival does this action. (In this interpretation there's also the implication that the Rivals don't love the beloved extremely much; otherwise, their throats too would have been cut.)

In the whole verse there's a powerful mood of tension. To this tension the utterances ham kyaa kare;N and rakh dete hai;N have added strength. The original tension is in the idea that the one who would desire the beloved extremely much, against his throat his very own dagger is placed. Or else that if the beloved gives nothing else, she certainly gives her dagger.



As SRF points out, the basic scene is chilling enough, and its impersonality is enhanced both by the sense that it's a regular, universal practice, and by the fact that we can't tell exactly what the practice is-- except that it's ominous in the extreme. Whose dagger is it, the lover's or the beloved's? And who places the dagger against the lover's throat-- people in general, or the beloved, or some hostile person, or even the lover himself?

And does the placing of the dagger show an immediate plan of murder? Or is it a threat of punishment for having come to have a 'connection' with the beloved? Or is it a precautionary attempt at intimidation? Or is it a flourish of vengeance by a jealous Rival? Or is it just a routine example of the beloved's violent nature? The floor is open, ladies and gentlemen, for our best guesses; but ultimately the gesture remains uninterpretable.

Note for translation fans: It's a continuing vexation that while 'the throat' sounds perfectly normal in Urdu, its perfectly normal colloquial counterpart in English would be 'his throat'. My usual practice is that where the owner of the throat is entirely clear, as in this case, I add the possessive. Where the verse deliberately leaves the ownership of the body part ambiguous, I retain the ambiguity.