yuu;N naa-kaam rahe;Nge kab tak jii me;N hai ik kaam kare;N
rusvaa ho kar maare jaave;N us ko bhii bad-naam kare;N

1) {casually / 'like this'} how long will we remain unsuccessful/useless? --in our inner-self is 'Let's do one task/work--
2) having become disgraced, let's be killed-- let's make even/also her disreputable/notorious!'



naa-kaam : 'Disappointed; unsuccessful; discontented; —useless; hopeless; remediless'. (Platts p.1111)


kaam : '(Persian) . Desire, wish; design, intention'. (Platts p.805)


kaam : '(Hindi) Action, act, deed, work, doing, handiwork, performance; work, labour, duty, task, job; business, occupation, employment, office, function; operation, undertaking, transaction, affair, matter, thing, concern, interest'. (Platts p.804)

S. R. Faruqi:

The meaning of naa-kaam is 'one whose purpose/goal would not be fulfilled'. The word is Persian. The word kaam meaning 'something to be done' is Prakritic. Its root in Sanskrit is karm . Here, both these words have been used so excellently that the suspicion arises that both of them have the same origin/source. If we read or hear them superficially, then the interpretation seems to be that 'as yet no work has been done by us; our inner-self wants us to do some work before we pass on'. Making the language strange and using it in this way is also a metaphorical process.

Now let's consider the meaning. As yet we have not been able to succeed in our purpose/goal. Thus our inner-self wants us to do at least one task. He has not made clear what the purpose is. In the second line an entirely new direction is taken-- that what we want is our disgrace and death, and the beloved's disgrace. As if neither the beloved's affection, nor union with the beloved, is desired. The purpose is only that we would become disgraced and die, and the beloved too would become disgraced.

But it's clear that this cannot be the real purpose. Thus the real idea is that 'We have not been able to be successful in obtaining the beloved, and there no longer remains any hope of success in this. Thus, as in [the proverb] "from vexation it comes to war" [tang aamad bah jang aamad], we have resolved upon our own disgrace and death, and the beloved's being made disreputable.' That is, we wanted one thing, and our intention is to do something else entirely. Whether we call it the compulsions of life, or sarcasm about the arrangements and restraints of life, or a rebellion against the constraints of life-- in every case there's subtlety in the idea, and along with a melancholy dignity, there's a darvesh-like detachment as well.

In the second line, there's also a fresh direction of the meaning. He hasn't made clear what means he will adopt for becoming disgraced. And in maare jaa))e;N is the suggestion that instead of committing suicide his purpose is to die at the hands of some other person-- for example, at the hands of the Qazi of the city, or the people of the city. That is, he should be disgraced to such an extent that people would declare him to be deserving of death, and would have his head cut off by the Executioner, or stone him to death.

Now it's clear that in order to arrive at such a result, an extreme disgrace will be required; and to obtain such a disgrace, it will be necessary to do the kind of deed that would be extremely reprehensible or objectionable. Such a deed can be (1) to openly express his emotional relationship with the beloved; or (2) in the veil/guise of madness, to become an infidel. If he is to make openly expressing his emotional relationship with the beloved the cause of disgrace, then the meaning is that the beloved is so lofty, or so far-off and so veiled from ordinary sight, that to feel passion toward her will be considered a very serious crime.

And if his intention is to make madness the excuse for becoming an infidel (for example, to call the beloved the 'Lord'), even then it comes to the same thing: that the beloved's existence is removed from the level of love and lovers, and for this very reason if the lover is disgraced and killed, then he will leave the beloved in disrepute. This disrepute will not be based on any great cruelty of the beloved's. The disrepute will be based on his making someone like the beloved, who is inaccessible and far removed, an object of passion.

Thus through his disgrace and death he will after all attain some purpose/goal. That is, at a minimum people (and the beloved herself) will know that he felt passion for her. Greatly lightening this aspect, Dagh has composed:

ifshaa-e raaz-e ((ishq me;N go ;zillate;N hu))ii;N
lekin use jataa to diyaa jaan to gayaa

[although from the disclosure of the secret of passion, humiliations occurred
nevertheless she was made aware, she realized]

Mir gave the matter both aspects, heavenly and earthly. In this verse, if on one side there are the daily affairs of passion, then on the other side there is passion's complete transcendence as well. The lover, having become vexed at his own unsuccessfulness, intends to do a work/task that is somewhat remote from the honor/status of lover-ship. But the honor/status of passion remains established; and the beloved, despite her disgrace, is shown to be better than the whole world.

Passion compels the lover to live like a human, and also wants him to die a kind of death that will be fundamentally and basically useless. But passion also teaches him how to willingly accept this useless death. Passion gives him education in deprivation. But in this deprivation, the harm is his alone. Still, he accepts this harm and considers it the purpose/goal of his life.

The longing to make the beloved disreputable is, in one way, inappropriate and beneath the rank/status of lover-ship; but it's Mir's qalandar-like temperament that doesn't give to anything at all a sacrosanct status. The beloved in her own right is sacrosanct. If this were not the case, then why would the lover's expression of his affectionate relationship to the beloved make him worthy of execution? But despite this, the speaker wants to leave her more or less sullied/stained. To make even the beloved the target of his madness-- this is Mir's own style.

Contrary to this, listen to Naziri [in Persian]:

'I make my name disreputable in every place-- may it not be
That you would shed my blood, and they would say I didn't deserve to be punished!'

Naziri's lawlessness, and his covering himself with every kind of disrepute and evil in order to protect the beloved from disrepute, is a level of passion and immersedness so lofty that it makes us bow our heads.

But Mir's speaker has qualities like those of everyday people; and his beloved, despite being loftier than a human, is imagined as on the human level. In Mir's verse there's cold anger, and a darvesh-like harmony. In Naziri's verse the lover's submission/humility is at its peak. Both verses, in their own ways, are peerless. Though indeed, Mir's verse is of a style that is not found in Naziri's poetry, or in Khusrau's, or in Hafiz's.

[See also {1746,7}.]



As SRF notes, the multivalent word kaam is used with elegant doubleness in the first line (see the definitions above). In the first line, the speaker has a resolute air of overcoming passivity and determining on action. We can hardly help but applaud his energy. At last, at least, he'll actually get something done!

But then-- the somewhat shocking second line rocks us. And of course in retrospect we recognize that the speaker was only thinking all this, it was just an idea that he toyed with in his 'inner self' (the best translation I've been able to find for jii ). Will he actually do it? Of course not. It's just the kind of ominous threat that people make when they're caught up in a storm of hopeless, already-defeated anger. The very scandalousness of the idea makes it both tempting to fantasize about, and highly unlikely to be carried out.