tum kahte ho bosah-:talab the shaayad sho;xii karte ho;N
miir to chup ta.sviir se the yih baat u;Nho;N se ((ajab sii hai

1) you say, 'He was a kiss-seeker-- perhaps he might be making mischief!'
2) Mir was silent, like a picture/image; this idea/utterance about/from him is rather strange



S. R. Faruqi:

Before we discuss this verse, listen to Qa'im and Mus'hafi. Qa'im:

qaa))im aur tujh se :talab bose kii kyuu;N-kar maanuu;N
hai to naa-daa;N magar utnaa bhii bad-aamoz nahii;N

[Qa'im-- and seeking a kiss from you? How could I believe it?
he's ignorant, but he's not even/also that badly-taught]


nah bosah lene kii kar mujh pah uu miyaa;N tuhmat
vuh hotaa aur ko))ii sha;x.s merii .suurat kaa

[oh my dear sir, don't accuse me of taking a kiss!
it would have been some other person with a face/aspect like mine]

Ghalib liked Qa'im's verse. In it the distinction between 'ignorant' and 'badly-taught' has been superbly established. Then, in it the beloved has been made an out-and-out liar. Or at least the beloved's utterance has been examined, and cast into doubt. In Mus'hafi's verse there's wit and audacity/effrontery; it's clear that there was no kiss-seeker who resembled the speaker, it was the speaker himself. But when the beloved rebuked him, he flatly lied. Both verses very well present two aspects of the theme.

Nevertheless, in Mir's verse there are some uncommon things. The first point is that there's ambiguity about the speaker and the addressee. It's possible that they might be two unrelated individuals. That is, one person has come back from the beloved's gathering, and in the process of telling some other person about the events of the gathering, says, 'Today Mir sought a kiss from the beloved'. In reply, the other person essentially complains/objects, and then gives his own opinion. This means that the addressee too will have seen Mir coming and going from the beloved's gathering; otherwise, how would he have said that Mir was silent like a picture?

Another possibility is that the beloved herself complains to someone about Mir that he is so 'badly taught' that he wants a kiss. The person to whom the beloved complained is also acquainted with Mir, and doesn't believe this. Thus he replies, 'You say that...'. A third possibility is that the beloved would have complained to some confidante of hers, and the confidante would have given the reply. This situation is possible because in the verse the relaxed/gentle tone is that of intimate conversation, as if the beloved and her intimate friend are talking, and no one else is present.

A fourth possibility is that news has spread that Mir has been ejected from the beloved's gathering. Now two people, in the bazaar or in some gathering, are giving their opinions. One of them says that Mir was ejected from there because he insistently sought a kiss. The other says in reply, 'You say that...'.

Now look at how many aspects of the character of 'Mir' (that is, the person about whom the verse speaks) have been expressed in this verse, and how excellently: (1) He sometimes insists on making mischief. (2) Usually he remains silent like a picture, he doesn't speak-- much less ask for a kiss. (3) To make mischief, or to seek a kiss-- both ideas are a bit surprising, with regard to Mir; he doesn't usually do such things. (4) All this is very well, but there remains a suspicion in any case as to whether (who knows?) he actually would have sought a kiss.

A final point is this: miir to chup ta.sviir se the has two meanings. (1) Mir was silent the way a picture is silent. (2) Mir was silent like a picture. In the verse there's a little longing, a great deal of trickiness, a whole story, and a superbly interesting affair. Qa'im's and Mus'hafi's verses are devoid of these qualities. For other verses on the theme of kiss-seeking, see [the verse-set]

{1031,8} and {1031,9}.



I have nothing special to add.