qiyaamat ko jurmaanah-e shaa((irii par
mire sar se meraa hii diivaan maaraa

1) on Doomsday, as a punishment for poetry,
2) they struck my head with only/emphatically my own divan



S. R. Faruqi:

This verse is a high-quality example of 'black humor'. Then, the poet is himself the target of this kind of humor. And it's also directed at the workings of fate and destiny, who on Doomsday will add up people's accounts and records. According to the Qur'an, on Judgment Day when people will gather to be called to account before the Judge, they will all feel such awe and terror that they will stand in rank upon rank and no one will have the power to speak except those whose lips the Lord will open. Just think of it-- on the one hand that scene, and on the other hand this one, that they would smack the poor poet on the head with his own collection of poetry: 'Take this-- this is the punishment for your babbling!'

The poet composes a verse in order to display his knowledge of secrets and mystical insights, and in order to awaken the sense of beauty and the feeling of joy among the worldly people, as Mir himself has said in the first divan:


And here there's this-- that poetry is being declared to be a sin, but in such a contemptuous way that they haven't even arranged any punishment, except that they've smacked him in the head with his divan!

When John Ruskin made a severe and sarcastic criticism of the paintings of J. M. Whistler, then Whistler initiated a lawsuit against him for slander. Whistler won in court, but the court awarded him in damages only one farthing (which was the smallest English coin, and which had no value even in that day). As though the judge had found Ruskin guilty, but in his eyes Whistler's standing was such that it would give only the most contemptible damages. In the same way, the author of the kulliyat of Mir has been declared to be a sinner, but a very contemptible and extremely petty sinner.

It's also possible that the judge was so annoyed by Mir's poetry that instead of some other punishment, he might have ordered that Mir be smacked on the head with his own divan. Or again, the recorder of Doomsday might have written, 'Sir, here and there in your poetry you have shown mischievousness toward us, but in our eyes your mischievousness is of no account'.

Mir has cleverly not described himself as the recipient of any very heavy punishment: they flung his divan at his head and gave him leave to go. But in this cleverness too is a sarcastic sadness-- that is, 'If only my divan had been considered worthy of a serious examination! Poetry ought not to have been so unimportant.'

In the world too he had this complaint, in the second divan:


It seems that even in the last days there were no special people who would read his verses with seriousness. It's an uncommon verse, and the kind of verse that causes a person with a full knowledge of Urdu poetry to suddenly say, 'A verse of this style, and on this theme, only Mir could compose!'.

In the first divan too he has composed a verse of just this kind [{316,9}]:

guft-guu naaqi.so;N se hai varnah
miir jii bhii kamaal rakhte hai;N

[he converses with deficient people; otherwise,
Mir-ji too possesses accomplishment]



I don't have much to add to SRF's excellent discussion. Except maybe one thought: that Mir's 'divan', if it is taken in the likely sense of 'complete works' [kulliyaat], is in fact a heavy multivolume set. If those volumes were actually bound together and collectively smacked down on the poor poet's head, the blow might even be fatal! It's a ridiculous thought, but so many years of my life are going into this commentarial process that I'm allowed a little frivolity once in a while.