;Gairat-e ((ishq kisuu vaqt balaa thii ham ko
tho;Rii aazurdagii me;N tark-e vafaa karte the

1) the honor/pride/jealousy of passion, at one time, was a disaster/wonder to us
2) in a slight/minor vexation/grief, we used to renounce faithfulness



;Gairat : 'Jealousy, source or cause of jealousy; care of what is sacred or inviolable; a nice sense of honour; honour; courage, spirit; modesty, bashfulness, shame; —envy, emulation; disdain, indignation; enmity'. (Platts p.774)


balaa : 'Trial, affliction, misfortune, calamity, evil, ill; a person or thing accounted a trial, affliction, &c.; evil genius, evil spirit, devil, fiend; a wonderful or extraordinary person or thing; an awful or terrible person or thing; an insignificant, or vile, person or thing; excessive, fearful or awful amount or quantity (of)'. (Platts p.163)


aazurdagii : 'Displeasure, vexation, annoyance; grief, sorrow; dissatisfaction; ill-humour; chagrin'. (Platts p.45)

S. R. Faruqi:

The ;Gairat of passion, and of the lover, are special themes of Mir's. This intikhab too is full of such verses. See




and so on. But the style of the present verse is unique. He has somewhat personified the ;Gairat of passion because to take the ultimate step of renouncing faithfulness over a small vexation, is an astonishing thing. The interesting question is, what is meant by 'renunciation of faithfulness'? If we take 'faithfulness' and 'passion' to be identical in meaning, then it is of course an example of the freshness of words, that the cause would be used when the effect was intended. But with regard to theme, the interesting thing is that for the speaker, passion and faithfulness are one single thing. That is, where there is passion there will be faithfulness, and where there is faithfulness there will be passion.

The second aspect (which is more interesting than the first, but also meaningful) is that over a small vexation he used to renounce not passion but faithfulness. Now the meaning emerges that: (1) There was a regular coming and going to and from the beloved's house, and we ourselves were counted among her lovers, but we did not maintain faithfulness toward the beloved. That is, we used to try to attach our heart in other directions as well (or we took up relations with another beloved). (2) Having left the beloved, we became a lover of someone else.

In this way, the verse has the theme of the ;Gairat of passion and the 'brittleness' of the speaker/lover's relationships, such that a small thing endangered them (the theme of the 'brittleness' of passion is entirely new). In this there's also an extraordinary pleasure in the affair, and it seems to 'act out' the claims of the imaginative or dramatic bonds between the lover and the beloved. One moment there's passion and there's faithfulness; the next moment there's no faithfulness, only passion. One moment there's coming and going, keeping company, keeping himself among her servants; the next moment there's none of that, and he bows down at some other door.

It seems that both are characters in some svaa;Ng or bahuruup , some 'pantomime'; but this svaa;Ng is one in which death hovers over the players. In the verse there's a kind of 'black humor', but the blackness has taken it over. Such verses always remind me of Becket. It's also worth considering whether the performers of this svaa;Ng of passion and its vexation know what the outcome will be, or not.

This question is important because one form of the outcome is present in the first line, from which we learn that this story of the ;Gairat of passion is about a past time. What the situation is at present, we are not told. In this way a whole world of possibilities opens up. (1) Now, that ;Gairat of passion is finished. Now we endure humiliation upon humiliation without even a groan. (2) Now, that passion itself has not remained. (3) Now there's only desire/lust-- where is there any ;Gairat of passion? We set out to fulfill our desire/lust, and if in the process we have been humiliated, then so what? We are not a lover now, that we would have ;Gairat . (4) Now all these tales and stories are long gone; now there's neither passion, nor a beloved. (5) Now, there is no beloved like her, nor any lover like us.

In this verse there's one more layer of ambiguity as well. The speaker/lover again and again used to renounce faithfulness, but how the beloved reacted to this action has not been explained. Apparently the beloved used to accept him back willingly at every return. Or (2) she didn't even care who came and who went. It's a peerless verse.

[See also {1496,4}.]



There are so many ambiguous words in such a small space! Above all, the multivalent word ;Gairat can refer to something positive ('honor, courage, spirit') or something negative ('disdain, indignation, enmity'). Because of the versatility of the izafat, the ;Gairat of passion can be either something that passion causes the lover to feel, or something that the lover feels for or about passion. Then of course a balaa can be something dreadful ('calamity, evil') or simply something amazing ('wonderful or extraordinary thing'). A mood of aazurdagii can be one of 'vexation, annoyance', or one of 'grief, sorrow'. (See the definitions above.)

Then, as SRF inquires, what is meant by 'renunciation of faithfulness'? It cannot be the kind of definitive, once-and-for-all decision that we would expect, because it's something that the lover '(habitually) used to do' [karte the]. We know therefore that the decision was not irrevocable (or perhaps not effective at all), because it was repeatedly remade. This situation opens up a whole set of possibilities: Did the beloved eventually apologize or somehow placate the lover? Did the lover eventually apologize or somehow placate the beloved? Did the lover get over his private fit of pique and decide to pretend that the whole thing had never happened?

In these and the other ways noted by SRF, we're really encouraged-- and in fact required-- to imagine the lover's whole piquant affair(s) for ourselves.