apnaa shevah nahii;N kajii yuu;N to
yaar-jii ;Te;Rhe baa;Nke ham bhii hai;N

1) if our practice is not perverseness/crookedness, {casually/'like this'}, then/still
2) my dear friend-- contrary/bent, refractory/awry, are even/also we!



shevah : 'Business, trade, profession; manner, habit, custom, practice; amorous ways and looks'. (Platts p.741)


kajii : 'Crookedness, curvature, bend; crossness; perverseness.'. (Platts p.817)


yuu;N : 'Thus, in this wise, in this manner;—just so, for no particular reason; without just ground, vainly, idly, causelessly, gratuitously; to please oneself'. (Platts p.1253)


;Te;Rhaa : 'Crooked, bent, distorted, awry, askew; ... ; offended, displeased, cranky; froward, obstinate; untoward, unfavourable, contrary, opposing, obstructive'. (Platts p.367)


baa;Nkaa : 'Crooked, winding, curved, bent, awry, on one side; oblique, tortuous, retrograde (motion of planets); crooked in disposition, cunning, fraudulent; malevolent, refractory, rebellious;-- foppish, coxcombish, dashing, showy, smart, gay, coquettish, wanton; fine; spirited; —a fop, beau, buck, dandy; bravo, bully; dissolute fellow, rake'. (Platts p.127)

S. R. Faruqi:

I've put this verse into the intikhab so that the temperament [mizaaj] of Mir's ghazals would become clear. Even in 'serious' ghazals, Mir unhesitatingly puts verses of raillery, or informal conversation, or unconventional themes. Here the refrain gives a fine pleasure-- 'My dear sir [miyaa;N], if you're contrary and fractious, then we are no less so!'.

If we consider being ;Te;Rhaa to be a quality of a baa;Nkaa , then the interpretation becomes, 'we are not only a baa;Nke ' (by baa;Nke is meant that group of people who were called baa;Nke , and who along with quick-temperedness, fight-seeking, and self-regard, in their dress and manners too showed themselves as apart from the ordinary). Thus the interpretation becomes, 'we are a contrary kind of a baa;Nke , we are not a commonplace baa;Nke '.

It's a fine verse. This whole ghazal itself is extraordinary.



In other words, 'Oh you perverse twisty crooked deceptive beloved, don't underestimate us. It's true that it's not our normal practice to behave unreliably and crookedly, but still... if the need arises, we can behave just as contrarily, refractorily, twistily as you can! Be careful how you provoke us!' All this (and more) in thirteen words.

Part of the work is done by yuu;N , with its double senses-- both of course enjoyably relevant-- of 'casually, causelessly' and 'like this'-- presumably meaning, in the present case, 'like the behavior you are showing'. Another part of the work is done by bhii , which gives us the invaluable hint that it's the beloved who's been behaving like this, and we 'too', or 'even' we, could pay her back in kind if we chose.

And then there arethe three twisty words kajii and ;Te;Rhe and baa;Nke , all of which have a common central meaning of 'crookedness' or 'crooked' (see the definitions above). The verse strongly implies, though without directly saying, that these words describe the beloved's behavior, and the lover's possible behavior in response. But are all three descriptions meant to be identical, or do they describe subtly varying kinds of crookedness? There's scope here for a good deal of readerly ingenuity.

Compare the even more extensive list of 'crooked' words used for the beloved's behavior in