ham ((aashiqaan-e zard-o-zabuun-o-nizaar se
mat kar adaa))e;N aisii kih be-zaar ho ko))ii

1) with us pale and weak/vile and thin/emaciated lovers
2) do not do such coquetries that someone might/would be displeased/disaffected



zabuun : 'Weak, infirm, helpless; vile, evil, ill, bad, wicked, faulty; unfortunate, unlucky'. (Platts p.615)


nizaar : 'Thin, slim, slender, subtile; lean, spare, emaciated'. (Platts p.1136)


be-zaar : 'Displeased, vexed, annoyed, out of humour; disgusted. (Platts p.203)

S. R. Faruqi:

As we have already seen, Mir has composed a number of verses with themes in which the lover, instead of showing weakness and lowness, confronts the beloved, stands up against her, and answers her tyranny with a renunciation of love. One such verse was


Or again, there is in the first divan [{450,5}]:

baa-ham suluuk thaa to u;Thaate the narm garm
kaahe ko miir ko))ii dabe jab biga;R ga))ii

[when there was mutual courtesy, then we endured the friendly and hostile,
how, Mir, would anyone be controlled/suppressed, when our companionship became spoiled?]

Momin composed the theme in a slightly worldly way, like this:

ma((shuuq se bhii ham ne nibhaa))ii baraabarii
vaa;N lu:tf kam hu))aa to yahaa;N pyaar kam hu))aa

[with even/also the beloved we maintained equality
when there, pleasure became less-- then here, love became less]

But in the present verse the rareness of the first line, and the tone, have changed the whole world of the theme. The speaker and his companions (or perhaps only the speaker) not only are lovers, but also are pale and weak and thin. Despite this, they have enough remaining self-respect so that they can establish limits for the beloved's behavior, and her ill-treatment or perverseness-- 'Don't go beyond this, otherwise we will become displeased/disaffected'.

In this there are several kinds of pleasure. First, the sarcasm against lovers themselves in the whole verse-- that we are weak and thin, but our pride is such that we have the spirit to fight with the beloved and make her the defendant in the proceedings of passion.

Second, that along with self-awareness it has a sense of the dignity of passion-- that we are weak and thin, but even an ant bites when oppressed. Don't consider us entirely contemptible!

The third point is that in this apparent battle-threatening reproof, the speaker's real purpose is hidden. Although he is threatening to become displeased, the real truth is that if he would become displeased with the beloved, then he would have to become displeased with the world. Or again, the real purpose of his life is passion. If he would leave the beloved, then what would remain in life?

Or again, renunciation of passion and renunciation of life are exactly the same thing. If he would renounce passion, then it's as if he would have died. Thus the real benefit he seeks is that she should not compel him to become displeased. If he would become displeased (with her, or with passion), then he would have to wash his hands of life.

The fourth point is that he might sarcastically have called himself weak and pale and thin. That is, in reality he is not so; but since the beloved considers him so, he says 'Granted that we are weak and pale, but still we are not so over the hill that you would treat us badly and we would say nothing'.

The fifth point is that he became irritated and said 'All right, granted that we are weak and thin, but this doesn't mean that you should displease us!'.

Now look at the second line. The ambiguity of mat kar adaa))e;N aisii is very fine. What coquetries are these, which might cause displeasure? Displeasing coquetries can be perverseness, inappropriate sidelong glances, favor to a Rival-- all of these. But it's also possible that by such coquetries might be meant the beloved's keeping bad company and her vulgarity, the weakness of her character. Thus in the third divan [{1292,1}]:

sunaa jaataa hai ay ghatye tire majlis-nishiino;N se
kih tuu daaruu piye hai raat ko mil kar kamiino;N se

[it's heard, oh murderer, from members of your gathering,
that you have drunk liquor last night, in the company of wretches]

Also in the third divan [{1294,1}]:

dushmaano;N ke ruubaruu dushnaam hai
yih bhii ko))ii lu:tf-e be-hangaam hai

[face to face with enemies, there is abuse
this is, after all, an inappropriate pleasure]

Or again, the beloved might be greedy and covetous of wealth, as in the fourth divan [{1470,8}]:

;Gariibo;N kii to pag;Rii jaame tak le hai utarvaa to
tujhe ay siim-bar le bar me;N jo zar-daar ((aashiq ho

[when even the turban and robe of the poor would be taken off them, then
oh silver-bosomed one, in choosing, the gold-possessing lover would take you]

Then, bezaar ho ko))ii too is full of meanings: (1) Some one person might become displeased. (2) He might become displeased with you. (3) He might become displeased with lover-ship. (4) He might become displeased with these coquetries. (5) People generally might become displeased.

In the first line, the 'tajnis' among zard , zabuun , nazaar is excellent. Then, the wordplay of nazaar , be-zaar is also fine. The effect of sarcasm, irritability/impatience, and annoyance pervades the whole verse. By contrast, the mood of sarcasm is greater in this verse from the fourth divan [{1494,4}]:

jab talak sharm rahii maan((a-e sho;xii us kii
tab talak ham bhii sitam-diidah ;hayaa karte the

[as long as shame continued to prevent her mischievousness
for so long even/also we who had seen tyranny, showed modesty/shame]

The theme of the modesty of the one who has seen tyranny is fresh. On the theme of the beloved's keeping bad company and for that reason her becoming ill-famed, and the lover's displeasure or vexation, Ghalib has well said in [an unpublished verse]:


But this theme (the beloved's keeping bad company), Naziri has [in Persian] expressed the lover's helplessness in the everyday world, and even then the aspect of his dexterity in changing the subject, in such a way that Mir and Ghalib have both been left far behind:

'I died of shame-- how long would people show you to me from afar,
Strolling with every worthless one, and would I say, "That's not my beloved"?'





The force of the verse is all in the tone and the implication, isn't it? The sinister, threatening effect is very strong. One big source for it is the contrast between the haplessness of the lovers as they are depicted in the first line, and the fact that far from begging or beseeching, they issue in the second line a forceful command-- they use not only the emphatic prohibitor mat instead of the polite nah , but also the intimate ( kar ). And then, the threat is that 'someone' might become displeased.

Might the 'someone' be a personage too powerful to be lightly named, or too well-known to need to be named? Or might 'someone' among the seemingly wretched lovers have some kind of hidden powers? (Or the lovers might all have hidden powers, and 'some one' among them might be moved to use them.) And since 'someone's displeasure' on the face of it seems like a rather mild problem (especially to a beloved who treats her lovers so cruelly that they are wasting away), the obvious implication is that this 'displeasure' would be shown in some painful and terrible way. The effect is like that of the mafia messenger delivering a quiet warning out of the side of his mouth-- a warning that's all the more ominous for being subtle and oblique.

Compare an even more subtle level of possible threat in