qatl kiye par ;Gu.s.sah kyaa hai laash mirii u;Thvaane do
jaan se bhii ham jaate rahe hai;N tum bhii aa))o jaane do

1) upon having murdered me, what sorrow/anger is there?! --let them cause my body to be taken up
2) we have kept on going on from even/also life-- even/also you come, let it/me go



;Gu.s.sah : 'Choking, strangulation, suffocation; —(choking) wrath, rage, anger, passion; —grief, disquietude of mind, anxiety'. (Platts p.771)

S. R. Faruqi:

;Gu.s.sah = sorrow

In this 'ground' Mir has a 'double-ghazal'. Most of the verses of both ghazals are lofty examples of pleasing species of flowingness and harmony. The first ghazal (from which these verses were chosen) is, with regard to meaning and theme, much better. Although at the end of the present ghazal Mir said, with great enthusiasm and confidence [{1219,10}],

baat banaanaa mushkil saa hai shi((r sabhii yaa;N kahte hai;N
fikr-e buland se yaaro;N ko ek aisii ;Gazal kah laane do

[to come up with excuses/boasts is rather difficult; here, they all compose verses
through lofty thought, let the friends compose and bring a single such ghazal!]

But it seems that at the beginning of the second ghazal the poet's creative enthusiasm became comparatively cool. The second ghazal doesn't have what the first ghazal does.

As I've already said more than once, the fundamental difference between Mir's and Ghalib's [visions of] passion is that Ghalib maintains a distance between himself and the beloved; it rarely happens that Ghalib speaks candidly to, or about, the beloved. Ghalib's beloved very rarely meets us (or Ghalib) on the level of everyday life. Between Ghalib and the beloved, this distance is both spiritual and bodily:


In Mir, a feeling for human relationships and the human condition are on the immediate level; thus people mistakenly see in his tone things like 'exhaustion', 'gentleness', 'simplicity', and so on. By contrast, in Ghalib's poetry they see 'intellectualism', etc. The truth is simply that Ghalib treats human relationships too on a separate level, and in Mir these relationships are seen in the aspect of daily actions and reactions. If we set against the present opening-verse this verse of Ghalib's, then things will become clear:


In Ghalib's verse, in fact the murder has become unimportant; or rather, the sarcasm is important, and the expression of opinion about an abstract situation is important; these are the true fruit of the verse. In Mir's opening-verse the event of the murder is important, and the reaction is important that takes place after the murder between the speaker and the murderer.

Ghalib has no feeling for the beloved's situation (that is, in this verse no effect has been mentioned on the beloved's state of mind, her sorrow, her repentance and regret). While in Mir's verse the most important thing is that the beloved repents of the murder, and because of her repentance she is seated silently by the lover's body; or perhaps she is wringing her hands in regret and shedding tears. The lover has no concern over losing his life; rather, his concern is that the beloved feels sorrow-- how can this sorrow be removed? The lover says 'Come now, let it go, go home now, whatever has happened has happened; a lover's being killed isn't anything to feel sorrow about; this is the kind of thing that should be forgotten at once'.

This verse is indebted for a great part of its power to its conversational style, its everyday words (only one word, ;Gu.s.sah meaning 'sorrow', is unfamiliar), the kinship and attachment that is manifest in every word. Then, that scene, which is not mentioned in the verse but is the foundation of the verse-- the corpse of the murdered one, the beloved's sitting silently beside it, her refusal to let the lover's corpse be taken up; people's expression of regret and surprise at this refusal. Then, there are the things related to daily life: the haste in taking up the corpse, the comforting of the mourners, and the attempt to minimize what has happened.

But greater than all these is one single point that is not immediately apparent. Behind the speaker's tone of kinship and his concern for the beloved there's also a sarcasm. The speaker is also not as simple and naive as he appears from a superficial look at his words. He is showing sarcasm toward the beloved: 'For you people, what kind of a big deal is it to take the life of a lover? This kind of thing happens all the time. Somebody dies, somebody wanders off into the wilderness. The body is taken up, it's shrouded and buried, then a new lover and a new murder.'

A suggestion of this sarcasm is in the second line: jaan se bhii ham jaate rahe hai;N -- that is, 'For us lovers this is nothing new. We not only depart from consciousness and honor, we not only renounce home and town, we depart from life too. This very thing itself is our practice. If you killed us, then you did nothing special. We people had to die in any case.'

In the light of this point, it becomes clear that the speaker of the verse is the murdered one, and also a representative of all the murdered ones of the world. He is not single and solitary, but rather the quintessence of the lover-ship of all lovers.

Now let's consider the wordplay. The lover's jaan se jaanaa and the beloved's jaane denaa (that is, ceasing to mention the murder, ignoring it)-- then the lover's jaan se jaanaa and his saying to the beloved, aa))o . Now aa))o is not only everyday speech, but rather becomes a metaphor. That is, the lover has left the world behind, you come and leave him behind, leave him alone to be buried.

He's composed a verse that in every aspect is complete/perfect and peerless. The 'mood', with meaning on top of it-- the effects are devastating.

[See also {1502,4}.]



The meaning of ;Gu.s.sah as 'anger' (see the definition above) is more common and fundamental than that of 'grief'. And 'anger' too works perfectly well in this verse; in fact to my mind it works even better. After all, the beloved has just been in such a state of fury that she has slaughtered the lover. It's easy to believe that she's still in this state. Perhaps she still has her dagger in her hand and would like to relieve her feelings by stabbing him a few more times. Perhaps she wants to have the body thrown out into the street, for the dogs to devour. (The lover's bones being devoured by the dogs of the beloved's street is an established theme.) Perhaps she just wants the satisfaction of gloating over the corpse a bit longer, before she permits it to be carried away.

After the murder, ;Gu.s.sah kyaa hai offers us a full range of the 'kya effect'-- 'What is all this anger/grief!', or 'As if there's any cause for anger/grief!', or 'What cause for anger/grief is there?'. The verse has so much else to offer that this elegant touch is hardly even noticeable, but subliminally it has an enriching effect.

From this point on, my reading picks up SRF's excellent analysis of the lover's intimate words and feelings (including his sarcasm). And in fact the lover's affectionate cajoling of the beloved becomes even more striking, as he begs her to content herself with having murdered him, and at least let his body be taken away for burial. (He might even be asking this favor wholly or partly for her own sake, so that she wouldn't create a scandal and incur universal condemnation.)

After jaan and jaate , there's that sweet, cajoling, almost playful aa))o -- 'come on, let it go!' And then the spectacular doubleness of the final jaane do -- either 'let your anger/grief go', or 'let the body go'-- is the verse's supreme effect.

Note for translation fans: The distinction between 'I' (the speaker alone) and 'we' (we lovers, all or at least many of us) is also well deployed here. Usually if the speaker uses 'we', it's impossible (and often deliberately so) to pin down whether it's singular or plural; but the present case shows how firmly the poet can control and use the distinction. Some translators render every 'we' as 'I', but by doing so they gain almost nothing, while they lose both the ambiguity (and universalizability) of most 'we' verses, and the 'I' versus 'we' clarity of the present verse.