kaj-ravii ham ((aashiqo;N se us kii bas ab jaa chukii
ek to naa-saaz phir us se mile be-:taur log

1) her perverse/crooked behavior toward us lovers-- enough, now it has already gone
2) for one thing, she's disagreeable/discordant; then, unmannerly/rude people have met her



kaj-ravii : 'Walking obliquely; —tortuous conduct, perverseness, unprincipled conduct, depravity'. (Platts p.817)


naa-saaz : 'Disagreeing; dissonant, discordant; out of tune; —indisposed, out of sorts; —absurd; —obscene; rude, uncivil'. (Platts p.1110)

S. R. Faruqi:

naa-saaz = unsuitable
be-:taur = uncultured

The theme of the beloved's being ill-mannered, or of her companions' being ill-mannered, is common to Shakespeare and Mir. Shakespeare in some of his sonnets, and Mir in his ghazals, here and there have mentioned the 'disagreeableness' of the beloved's companions. Mir's style is more open than Shakespeare's, and Mir has used no less wordplay than Shakespeare. It's possible that the theme might be elsewhere in the poetry of the period as well. As far as Shakespeare, it can be said that there's some reality in it, because the person who is commonly believed to be his patron and beloved-- that is, Southampton-- had the quality of perverseness. In Mir's case the theme doesn't seem to be related to his biography, but its abundance is worthy of note.

The pleasure of the present verse comes from the fact that not only is the beloved herself of course unfavorable, but with her are people who are be-:taur . This can mean 'ill-mannered', 'uncultured', and also people who have no dignity and excellence of character, or rather have no character at all. They are shallow/contemptible people.

Between kaj-ravii and jaa chukii there's the pleasure of a zila [because both convey motion]. Another point is that on the one side is a group of lovers, and on the other side the people who are not lovers-- but the beloved's heart is attached to the latter. The lovers, she has already acquired; when something has been acquired, then it is held in less esteem. The result of her holding them in less esteem is of course 'ill-mannered' behavior. Up till now things were such that the beloved was only unfavorable toward us; there was at least some hope that she might come around. But now, ill-mannered people have met her, and her judgment has become entirely corrupted. Now there's no hope.

About the beloved's bad company, perhaps it was Mir himself who said the harshest and bitterest things. From the third divan [{1292,1}]:

sunaa jaataa hai ay ghatye tire majlis-nishiino;N se
kih tuu daaruu piye hai raat ko mil kar kamiino;N se

[it's heard, oh murderer, from members of your gathering,
that you have drunk liquor last night, in the company of wretches]

The pleasure is that the company of 'Mir' himself (that is, the ghazals' speaker or central character) too is nothing very good. His beloved is a rogue, or else she passes her time in the company of low-class [baazaarii] people.

From the third divan [{1144,7}]:

jab nah tab miltaa hai baazaaro;N me;N miir
ek lu:tii hai vuh :zaalim sar-farosh

[now and then I run into her in the bazaars, Mir
she's a wanton/'sodomite', that cruel head-seller]

(A luu:tii -- that is, a person who would be carefree and irresponsible, and would do nothing but stroll around for pleasure.)

From the first divan [{597,16}]:

galyo;N me;N bahut ham to pareshaa;N se phire hai;N
aubaash kisii roz lagaa de;Nge ;Thikaane

[in the alleys, we wander very anxiously
someday, the rogues will make off with us]

Mir has also used aubaash to mean 'beloved'; that is, he's used it when mentioning the beloved. From the second divan [{961,6}]:

laakho;N me;N us aubaash ne talvaar chalaa))ii

[that rogue has wielded her sword among hundreds of thousands]

In this way the lover and beloved both have been declared to resemble each other-- that is, the company of both of them is wretched. In romantic affairs, such variety, and such colorfulness of emotion, will be rare among the great poets of the world, not to speak of simply in Urdu.



The beloved no longer treats her lovers badly. All the problems seem to be solved, as that bas almost airily suggests. What a piquant first line! Could the lover actually have had some good fortune for a change? Could the ghazal world have cut him some slack? Under mushairah performance conditions, we're obliged to wait as long as can conveniently be managed for the second line.

And even then, we only gradually learn how bad things really are. For one thing, she's disagreeable-- which in the ghazal world is not a revelation, it's just par for the course; so we know the main kicker is yet to come. And in true mushairah-verse style, the punch-word is withheld as long as possible. Not until we hear be-:taur do we truly grasp the ugliness and doomedness of the situation. Once she's ensconced herself amidst vulgar and even vile people, what hope remains?

Only after hearing the whole verse do we realize how full the verse is of perversity -- with kaj-ravii , with naa-saaz , be-:taur behavior. The hope we were led to feel in the first line is by now not just dissipated but trampled into the mud. The lover is wretched, as usual. Her perverse treatment of us lovers is over-- because it's been replaced by an even more perverse non-treatment. Now we'll never be able to inveigle her out from amidst her chosen, congenial crew of low-lifes.

It's true that, as SRF observes, both the lover and this beloved (with her crew) can be considered wretched and low. But we're really never in any danger of conflating their situations. The lover is socially undesirable: he tears his clothes to rags, gets drunk, wanders in the desert, acts like a madman, etc. But in this verse the beloved and her company are morally undesirable: they are unprincipled and unkind, selfish and self-indulgent, rude and uncivil. No wonder the true lovers have been driven to despair.

For more on the unworthy, vulgar beloved, see



And of course best of all there's the irresistibly witty, wordplay-filled