tasbii;he;N ;Tuu;Tii;N ;xirqe mu.salle pha;Te jale
kyaa jaane ;xaanaqaah me;N kyaa miir kah'h ga))e

1) prayer-beads broke; robes, prayer-rugs became torn and burned
2) who knows-- in the khanqah, what Mir said as he left



;xirqah : 'A ragged, patched garment; dress of a devotee or religious mendicant'. (Platts p.489)


mu.sallaa : 'A place of prayer ... a mosque; —a carpet, or mat, for saying the appointed prayers upon'. (Platts p.1042)


;xaanaqaah : 'A convent for Sufi recluses; a convent, monastery, a religious establishment for holy men'. (Platts p.486)

S. R. Faruqi:

In the first line there are three verbs, and in the whole line there's an extraordinarily interesting scene of commotion, turmoil, and destruction. This scene is so 'dynamic' that the line seems to be more or less a kind of colorful painting. On this kind of moving image, see


As a rule, Mir's speaker and the khanqah-dwellers have the kind of relationship that exists in our ghazal between the lover (or central character) and the religious/spiritual leaders. That is, between them there's no shared place. They are the bearers of two different approaches to life, and to human responsibilities.

But when there's reference to Mir the poet and the people of the khanqah, then the whole idea changes. Mir's poetry brings the people of the khanqah into a state of absorption, augments their circumstances and experiences, and spreads over them that mystical 'mood' that is called ;haal and rapture/absorption [vajd]. For examples, see


where having heard Mir's verses, the darveshes tore their garments. In the same way, in the second divan [{961,1-3}]:

mu:trib se ;Gazal miir kii kal mai;N ne pa;Rhaa))ii
all;aah re a;sar sab ke ta))ii;N raftagii aa))ii

us ma:tla((-e jaa;N-soz ne aa us ke labo;N par
kyaa kahye kih kyaa .suufiyo;N kii chhaatii jalaa))ii

;xaa:tir ke ((alaaqe ke sabab jaan khapaa))ii
us dil ke dha;Rakne se ((ajab koft u;Thaa))ii

[yesterday I caused a singer to recite a ghazal of Mir's
oh God, the effect! over all, a transport came

that life-burning opening-verse having come to his lips
what can I say-- how it burned the breast of the Sufis!

because of its connection to the mind/heart, it destroyed their life
from that throbbing of the heart, they experienced extraordinary sorrow]

In the present verse, the interesting thing is that the identities of Mir the poet and Mir the lover have coalesced. That is, it's possible that Mir the lover, having arrived at the khanqah, might have said one or more things that would have disturbed the peace and composure of the Sufis, or caused them to be angry. Or it's possible that Mir's feeling of passion might have had such an influence on them that they too might have become madmen like Mir.

But the setting fire to the prayer-rugs suggests that Mir as lover has said something such that the Sufis' belief/creed itself became devalued/debased, and they thought 'The worship and austerities that we have done up till now were all useless, or even harmful'.

A second possibility is that Mir the poet recited some ghazal such that a state of 'rapture/absorption' [vajd] overtook them all, and they all began to wreak destruction in the khanqah. The sense of kahnaa as shi((r kahnaa is of course there, as for example in the idiomatic Urdu aap bhii kuchh kahte hai;N ? -- that is, 'do you compose poetry?'. Momin:

momin bah ;xudaa si;hr-bayaanii kaa jabhii tak
har ek ko da((v;aa hai kih mai;N kuchh nahii;N kahtaa

[Momin, by the Lord, the enchantment of speech is exactly as long as
every single person claims, 'I don't compose/'say' anything!'']

Then, there's the point that the verse can also have a relationship with kahnaa in the sense of 'to sing'. Although this meaning isn't found in any dictionary, here and there in dastans it can be found. Consider these two examples:

(1) From 'Bala Bakhtar', by Shaikh Tasadduq Husain, p. 558:

((amr baa;Nsurii bajaa kar yih ;Gazal gaane lagaa [began to sing this ghazal] ... is shi((r par namruud shaah ne bahut ta((riif kii aur kahaa phir is shi((r ko kahnaa [recite this verse again] ... phir is shi((r ko ;xuub saa lahak ke us :tara;h gaayaa [sang] kih namruud shaah aur bhii be-chain ho gayaa... aur kahne lagaa kih ;xvaajah ((amr is shi((r ko phir kaho [recite this verse again]

[Another, similar example.]

With these examples before us, the reading of the second line can also be that in the Sufis' gathering Mir (the poet) sang a ghazal, and threw the whole khanqah into chaos.

Nasir Kazmi has said an interesting thing about this verse. In his famous essay miir hamaare ((ahd me;N Nasir Kazmi has presented this verse as a proof of Mir's courage in a struggle: 'When Iqbal raised his voice against the Mullas and the Sufis, then a fatwa accusing him of heresy was circulated. Mir Sahib too in his time was one who struggled. When he too opened his lips, khanqahs used to be turned topsy-turvy.'

To read a ghazal verse by considering it a biographical account is not correct, but in any case the construction of the present verse is fine-- that the struggle-seeking temperament of 'Mir' (the lover) has caused him to say such things that the people of the khanqah went out of their minds.



I'm surprised that SRF hasn't used his own term, 'dramaticness', in discussing this verse; but then, it's so wildly dramatic that he hardly even needed to mention the fact. To enhance the drama, all three verbs in the first line are intransitive, so that there's no indication of an agent. We're left to wait in all the more suspense for the second line.

Then in the second line, as so often, the mystery only deepens. How would anyone know what Mir had said to provoke this behavior? And not just said, but 'said as he left' [kah'h ga))e], which makes for a wonderfully dramatic vision. Did he make some single inflammatory remark, and then turn on his heel and stalk out the door? Did he throw the whole group of khanqah-dwellers into turmoil with a series of comments or verse recitations (or even songs), then hastily beat a retreat before the crazed group could catch up with him? We can't tell how (or whether) his utterances were connected with his leaving.

This verse is ultimately so uninterpretable because it's based on an enticing blank space. We know that the khanqah-dwellers did certain wild and mad things, but we have no idea why. In fact the speaker of the verse himself has no idea why; his theory that Mir said something inflammatory appears to be only a matter of speculation, since he apparently thinks he can't verify it ( kyaa jaane ). Would the khanqah-dwellers not be willing to tell him? Would they be so crazed by some strong emotion (which one?) that they wouldn't even be able to tell him? We are left to fill in the blank for ourselves.