;hairaan ho rahoge jo ham ho chuke kabhii
dekhaa nahii;N hai marte kisuu ((ishq-baaz ko

1) you'll remain astonished/anxious when we are already gone, sometime
2) you haven't seen any 'passion-player' dying



;hairaan : 'In a state of confusion or perplexity; perplexed, bewildered, distracted, confounded, astonished, ... disturbed; harassed, plagued, worried, distressed'. (Platts p.482-83)


((ishq-baaz : 'A gallant; a rake'. (Platts p.761)


baaz : 'Playing, player; —(in comp.) a suffix denoting an 'agent,' 'doer,' 'one who has to do with,' 'fancier,' &c.'. (Platts p.121)

S. R. Faruqi:

It's well known that Hazrat Baha ul-Din Zakariya Sahib Multani wrote to Qutb ul-Din Sahib Bakhtyar Kaki [in Persian] that 'Between us and you is ((ishq-baazii ' [darmiyaan-e maa-o-shumaa ((ishq-baazii ast]. In reply, Qutb ul-Din Sahib Bakhtyar Kaki wrote, 'Between us and you there is ((ishq , there's not baazii ' [darmiyaan-e maa-o-shumaa ((ishq ast baazii niist]. In Khvajah Kaki's reply there's a suggestion that a grandly important thing like passion the word baazii is not suitable, because in ((ishq-baazii there's lust and desire, or a sense of non-seriousness.

It's possible that in fact this exchange might have been in Mir's mind, because in this verse the word ((ishq-baaz has an extraordinary ironic tension-- that for us passion is only a game (passion = death; to 'die for' someone = to love someone). Thus passion (=death) is light and easy for us, like a game. There's no difficulty for us in dying.

In this verse a second-- or rather, fundamental-- excellence of the theme is that the speaker is reprimanding the beloved: 'What do you know about what the death of ((ishq-baaz people (or those people who consider passion to be a game) is like? When we die, then you'll be left thunderstruck.'

Here, ambiguity has created a sequence of possibilities: (1) You think that we are tough-lifed; when we die then you'll learn how easy it was for us to offer up our life. (2) When we die, then you'll know that in passion people even die. (In this there's also the implication that as yet you haven't been vouchsafed any true lover who would have died and showed you.) (3) When we die, then we'll depart with such grandeur, so much pomp and circumstance, that you'll fall into astonishment. (4) When we die, we'll make such clamor and commotion that as we die we'll disgrace you. You'll fall into astonishment that we had so much energy/stamina.

Another very unusual aspect is that he's not making any threat to the beloved. He's not even saying that she'll be sorry. He has said only this: that you'll remain astonished. In this there's a qalandar-like dignity, and also a kind of helplessness. In the true sense, it's a verse of the human condition.

Now let's consider the words. About himself he has said ho chuknaa (to die), and about the beloved (astonished) ho rahnaa ; the symmetry between the two is fine. And for a moment one is fooled into thinking that in both places the same kind of thing is being said. For ho rahnaa the pleasure is that it means both 'you'll be left astonished' and 'you'll remain astonished for ever and ever'. One meaning of ;hairaan is 'anxious, worried'; thus there are colloquial expressions like ;hairaan-o-pareshaan and ;hairaan-o-sar-gardaa;N . Thus another aspect is that when I die, you'll remain anxious: 'what disaster has come?!'. In kabhii there's the implication that a time will come when we will die; at present we are enduring your cruelty and oppression, but things won't be like this forever.

In the second line, one pleasure is that the beloved is being told, 'You haven't seen any passion-player dying'-- although people 'die' in the sense that they become her lovers (to be a lover = to die). This can be called a kind of ambiguity, or a paradox-- people 'die for' the beloved, but the beloved hasn't seen anyone dying. Another pleasure is that the line can be interrogative-- 'Haven't you seen any passion-player dying? Don't you know how a lover dies?'.

In the death of a 'passion-player' there's also an element of spectacle, because a game too is a kind of spectacle. At various times Mir has used for death the word 'spectacle'-- for example, see in the second divan:


Just as a game is a kind of spectacle, in the same way a spectacle too is a game, in the sense that it is based on some reality, but it isn't real/realistic. In {696,5}, tamaashaa saa ho gayaa also has the meaning that Mir's death was like some game or play [svaa;Ng]. In a play people die, but we know that this is only a 'game'.

A final point is that the beloved hasn't seen any lover's death-- in this there's also the implication that the beloved is very young. Because of this implication, pleasure/subtlety has been created in the utterance. Otherwise, on the youthfulness of the beloved no one has composed a verse like that of Ahli Shirazi [in Persian]:

'Governing the realm of the heart is a great task,
You are a parvenu of beauty; this task will not be done by you.'

[See also {1230,1}.]



In this masterpiece of a verse almost every word can alter the interpretive thrust, depending on where the emphasis is placed. Here's how the verse rewards almost word-for-word scrutiny:

= ;hairaan ho [kar] -- you will remain stupefied and unable to move or act (while we will already have moved and acted)

= rahegii -- you will remain (while we will be already gone)

= ham ho chuke [ho;Nge] -- we 'will already have been' (we'll be 'over', 'finished'-- before you know it, before you even realize what's going on, we'll already be dead)

= kabhii -- sometime or other (you'll never know when this consternation-causing thing might take place)

= dekhaa nahii;N hai -- '[you] haven't seen', with several interpretive possibilities:

=you haven't yet seen (because you're young, or for other reasons), but when we die you will then see
=you haven't ever seen, and you will not see (because it's over so fast and/or subtly, or because we conceal it)
=no one has ever seen (because it's over so fast and/or subtly, or for other reasons)-- since the subject is omitted

= marte -- [in the act of] dying (you can see passion-players living, and you can see them dead, but the process of their dying is one that cannot be seen-- because it's over so fast and subtly, or because we so choose, or for other reasons)

= kisuu -- any at all (the invisibility of passion-players' deaths is a general rule, which we will-- or will not-- break)

= ((ishq-baaz -- 'passion-player', with several interpretive possibilities:

=commonplace lovers may be more predictable and controllable, but 'passion-players' are a law unto themselves
=commonplace lovers may do their dying visibly and openly, but not 'passion-players'
=commonplace lovers may think passion is 'work', but 'passion-players' experience it as a 'game'

A verse like this is a kind of kaleidoscope; if it's read with a lingering, emphatic stress on different elements, its whole pattern changes. And the various kaleidoscopic patterns are not just casual, but have their own individual kinds of piquancy and power.

Not the least of which is the question that SRF pointed to at the beginning of his discussion-- what is the relationship between the 'passion' and the idea of 'play'? Is 'play' to be viewed negatively? If so, the whole verse could be further reanalyzed on the basis that 'passion-players' are frivolous, rakish dilettantes, unlike the speaker who is a true lover ('you've never seen any of those 'players' die, but we are not 'playing'-- we will surprise you by the fact, and the manner, of our own dying'). Really when all the mystical permutations are included, the verse becomes inexhaustible.