tum kabhuu miir ko chaaho so kih chaahe;N hai;N tumhe;N
aur ham log to sab un kaa adab karte hai;N

1) if you ever/sometime would desire Mir-- well, he desires you
2) as for the rest, we all show respect to him



kabhii (of which kabhuu is an archaic form): 'Sometime or other, sometimes; at any time, ever; ever so long ago'. (Platts p.810)


adab karnaa : 'To show deference or respect (to), treat with respect; to respect, revere'. (Platts p.31)

S. R. Faruqi:

This verse is beyond the need for praise and analysis. The theme of kabhii desiring Mir is in itself so full of meaning that if there had been nothing else in the verse, the verse would still have been worthy of esteem. If we take kabhii to mean 'once', then for chaaho two meanings emerge: (1) love for Mir would arise in your heart; (2) you would show familiarity/intimacy to Mir.

If we take kabhii to mean 'at some time', then the interpretation is that 'no matter when it might be, at least once call Mir into your presence'. If we take kabhii to mean 'on some occasion', then the meaning becomes that 'Mir has loved you for a long time-- may that day too come when you would begin to love Mir!'. That is, you are the only one who can love him-- if he loves you, you should love him too.

The second line has Mir's special style of the atmosphere of daily life. There are some people; it's possible that they themselves have the qualities of beloveds, but they cannot behave informally with Mir, because they respect Mir. But there's also the fact that Mir himself doesn't love them at all, because Mir loves the addressee (that is, the beloved to whom the verse has been spoken). Thus even if the speakers love Mir, it's useless, because Mir loves somebody else.

In showing respect there's also the point that where chaahnaa would be, adab would not long remain. Where familiarity/intimacy has begun and the 'affairs of passion' have attained informality, the scope of 'respect' has been diminished. The mention of 'respect' makes it clear that in chaaho there's not only Platonic love [aflaa:tuunii mu;habbat], but there's also familiarity/intimacy [i;xtilaa:t].

Then there's the question, why do people show respect to Mir? It's clear that it's not because Mir is some aged venerable elder or some dry-tempered religious scholar. If that had been the case, there wouldn't have been a question of passion for someone at all. Thus the respect for Mir is on the basis of his rank in lover-ship. Thus it's clear that people show respect to Mir on the basis of the things that are called 'lover-ship'. For example, that Mir has arrived at a level of extreme heart-burning and grief. Perhaps grief is always a bearer of sacredness. and makes a claim for respect.

Thus a person like Oscar Wilde too has felt that 'Where there is sorrow, there is holy ground'. It's possible that this thought of his might have been borrowed from Walter Pater, who has written [similarly] about Da Vinci's 'Mona Lisa'. In any case, the idea has been accepted for a long time in both East and West that in grief there is an aspect of sacredness, and it makes a claim for reverence.

Or again, respect for Mir might be necessary because his madness had reached a level of completeness. To consider madmen to be honored with non-human, or rather divine, favors has similarly remained a common idea in both East and West. It was not without reason that Aristotle, in his 'Poetics', searched out in poets a kind of madness. And it was not for nothing that Shakespeare caused one of his characters [Theseus, in 'Midsummer Night's Dream', V:1] to say 'The lunatic, the lover, and the poet, / Are of imagination all compact'. Michel Foucault, in his book 'Madness and Civilization', has written that the custom of considering madmen to be sacred remained established in the West more or less until the nineteenth century. Foucault was speaking of this matter from another point of view, but here I only want to say that the sacredness of madmen, mystics, and visionaries is a very well known idea.

The third reason can be that Mir is entirely immersed in passion (see the second line of {1205,5}). For such a person, respect is necessary, because passion has its own spirituality. And if some person would be favored with perfection of the level of passion, then-- it's beyond words.

In this way, the present verse has not only a romantic theme. Rather, into it has come a whole vision of life, and splendor of living. In a verse by Aziz Qaisi, this theme has become very limited, so that the meaning too is diminished:

ik tumhii;N ham se khi;Nche ho varnah
chaahne-vaalo;N ko sab chaahte hai;N

[if only/emphatically you would be drawn to us! --otherwise
all the world loves a lover]

[See also {957,7}.]



This ghazal is quite unusual (though not unique) in the additional appearance of the pen-name 'Mir' here in a verse in the middle of the ghazal. Usually such additional appearances of the pen-name occur in the opening-verse.

This very short, simple little verse is the kind I call, for want of a better name, 'stress-shifting'. Since the verse itself is so plain and unemphatic, as we change the (ascribed) emphasis the meanings shift like the patterns in a kaleidoscope:

=if YOU ever would desire Mir (well, be aware that he already desires YOU)
=if you EVER would desire Mir (you'd find him around at any time you might wish)
=if you ever WOULD DESIRE Mir (it would be what he most longs for)
=if you ever would desire MIR (he's one lover who would at once be available)

=as for the REST, (what more is there to say? -- only that we all respect him)
=as for the rest, WE (unlike you who are so disdainful, we all respect him)
=as for the rest, we ALL (can only share in respect for him, since his heart belongs to you alone)
=as for the rest, we all RESPECT him (whereas you treat him so negligently)

In particular, that aur is wonderfully idiomatic, with a wrapping-it-up simplicity that entirely suits the verse. When they're inquiring for general news, people ask, aur kyaa ;haal hai , meaning something like 'What else is going on? What other news is there?' Here, the aur plays something like the same role: when you've told the simple, basic truths already in the first line, all the rest of it, all the general news, can be summed up quite briefly: 'we all show him respect'.