vuh nahii;N ab kih farebo;N se lagaa lete hai;N
ham jo dekhe;N hai;N to ve aa;Nkh churaa lete hai;N

1) she is not now such that she attaches [others to herself] through tricks/deceits
2) when we look at her, then she averts her eyes



fareb : 'Deception, deceit, fraud, trick, duplicity, treachery, imposture, delusion, fallacy; allurement, beguilement'. (Platts p.780)


aa;Nkh churaanaa : 'To avert the eyes (from, —through pride, shame, or dislike); to avoid the eyes or sight (of); to avoid, shun; not to attend (to), not to notice, to disregard'. (Platts p.95)

S. R. Faruqi:

For vuh nahii;N there are two meanings: (1) now that situation [by implication, vuh baat] is not the case; (2) now the beloved has not remained that person. With regard to theme too, the verse is unprecedented, and the ambiguity in its own right is worthy of praise.

Formerly, the beloved used to tantalize/attract people through trickery. He hasn't made clear the kind of trickery, but by saying farebo;N he has created the suggestion that there were many tricks, and they were of various kinds. For example, she played the trick of saying that she had affection for him. Or she said that she was vexed with the Rivals, but she considered him to be a good man. Or she adorned herself elaborately, and created the allurement of her beauty. Or she showed herself to be very soft-hearted. Or she showed interest in the speaker's poetry. And so on.

In addition, lagaa lete hai;N is a fine utterance, for this beloved's cleverness, her pursuit of lovers, her mentality that is in a way vulgar and sneaky-- a suggestion of all this is present.

In the second line it's been said that instead of doing trickery, now the beloved averts her eyes; that is, now she holds herself aloof from the lover. It's clear that the reason for this is that the beloved now is no longer attracted to the lover; rather, she's become irritated with him. He hasn't expressed the reason for this change in the situation. It's possible that the beloved might now have come to feel true passion for somebody, and now she's abandoned her previous kinds of mischief. It's possible that rather than continuing to allure one single lover over time, the beloved might enjoy capturing one new lover after another.

It's possible that having ensnared the speaker in her net of trickery, having ruined his life in this world and the next, the beloved might have thought, 'I have fulfilled the office of beloved-ship [man.sab-e ma((shuuqii nibhaa liyaa] toward this person. Now what does he have left, that he could still squander? Come on, let's go and ravish someone else.'

In short, a whole world of the 'affairs of passion' [mu((aamilaat-e ((ishq] inhabits this apparently simple verse. This verse is so tricky/treacherous that nine out of ten times we would pass superficially over it. But if through good fortune our eye would linger on it sometime, then we would realize that in this apparently flat verse there are great heights and depths.



Here's another of Mir's brilliant 'gesture' verses; as I go along, I've been gradually realizing how powerful this device can be. Since a gesture dispenses with words, it's ultimately left to the interpretation of the beholder; and so many gestures are multivalent! What do the beloved's lowered eyes mean? SRF sticks with the speaker's interpretation: that she's now, for one reason or another, declining to use her former repertoire of trickery on the speaker. Of course, SRF can think of a number of reasons why this might be the case, while the poor hapless lover can only attribute it to some new-found sincerity and moral purity of intention.

But there's another possibility, and a wickedly enjoyable one. This cynical possibility is that the beloved's lowering her eyes, and thus refusing all erotic eye contact, is like the 'simplicity' of the woman in the little black dress who wears no jewels, and thus makes the other women look overdressed; or the 'sincerity' of Socrates (in the Apology) when he claims that he's just a humble man with no skill in rhetoric. In short, it's another proof that the ultimate guile is (apparent) guilelessness.

Here's a verse in which Mir makes the same point clearly-- and so cleverly [{335,7}]:

ek faqa:t hai saadagii tis pah balaa-e jaa;N hai tuu
((ishvah karishmah kuchh nahii;N aan nahii;N adaa nahii;N

[there's only one single thing, simplicity, through which you're a mortal disaster
coquetry, flirtatiousness-- none at all; airs, none; graces, none!]

Compare also Ghalib's classic verse about the beloved who has no weapons at all:


Note for meter fans: In the second line, the spelling ve is presumably meant to show, unambiguously, a plural or honorific sense. This spelling differentiates it from the vuh in the first line which, as SRF notes, might apply to her, but might also apply to a colloquially-omitted baat . Both syllables are long, so it's not for metrical effect.