((ishq me;N dam maaraa nah kabhuu tum chupke chupke miir khape
lohuu mu;Nh se mal kar ab faryaad karo to bihtar hai

1) in passion you never breathed a word; in silence, Mir, you were destroyed/consumed
2) having rubbed blood on your face, if you now complain/lament, then it's best/'better'



dam maarnaa : 'To utter a word, breathe a syllable, to speak; to boast'. (Platts p.525)


khapnaa : 'To be destroyed, be wiped out, be disposed of, be killed or slain; to be made away with, to be swallowed up; to be consumed; to be expended, to be used, to be exhausted'. (Platts p.869)

S. R. Faruqi:

In this verse too [as in {1498,4}] there's an abundance of 'mood', but here the refrain is giving a new kind of pleasure. If bihtar hai is taken in the sense of 'it is proper', 'it is better', then in the atmosphere of the whole verse it seems weak. This weakness is its strength-- that someone who would never have breathed a word, and who kept destroying his life in silence, is being given advice about the 'better' thing! In this way a tension is created in the verse-- is the speaker not somehow being sarcastic?

Or is he so unskilful and 'inefficient' that to a person caught up in such harsh circumstances he is giving advice about the 'better' thing? And that too in such a conventional way, as though it's nothing special either that Mir never breathed a word and kept destroying his life in silence, or that he would smear his face with blood and complain/lament? Is all this happening just casually, for no particular reason?

Because of these dimensions of sarcasm, and this apparent 'inefficiency' of the speaker, for a moment we ignore the fact that although the tone is conventional, the advice is very harsh and 'dramatic'. To rub the face with blood has the implication that Mir has received many wounds. But the symbolic aspect is that to rub the face with blood is an allusion to Mir's past life-- that he has remained entirely bathed in blood, or that everything of Mir's-- heart, liver, life-- has been turned to blood. If we compare this verse with


then we see the two limit cases of a mental situation and a temperament. In {1341,1} there's an absorption, a power; but there the speaker's zeal and enthusiasm, and his ardor, generated by inexperience, for passion, create a strange, almost frightening flutter within us. In the present verse all the zeal has cooled, and as in Brecht's drama 'Mother Courage', Mir has endured every experience of hardship and harm.

Now Mir feels no intensity of zeal and ardor; rather, the silent depth of his suffering creates a fear in our heart. It seems that the advice to rub blood on his face and complaint/lament is being given conventionally because now there's no actual need for it. Mir's silent life, like the silence of Mother Courage, is entirely a complaint/lament. The verse's melancholy power is worthy of praise.



The problem stated by the speaker in the first line really amounts to 'Oh-- you've suffered from passion horribly, ruinously, in silence!' The advice, the solution, the remedy? 'Make a fuss, show your wounds, complain/lament!'. This lame, unpromising, ineffectual-sounding advice might well provoke the 'Mir' figure-- or us in the audience-- to ask 'Oh yeah? And what good will that do?'.

Especially because of that haunting, poignant 'now'. Now, when you've already been 'destroyed'? Now, when it's too late to try anything else? Now, when there's no longer any hope that silence will be effective? Now, when you can at least throw off the shackles of stoicism and find some ease in expressing your pain? What the speaker is really offering thus sounds like hospice care. Everything should be done to make you comfortable, Mir; everything should be just what suits you best.

This might be a 'neighbors' verse, except that the tone makes the speaker sound more like the presumptuous, officious Advisor. (Or just conceivably Mir might be talking to himself, holding an inner debate.) In any case, the best thing about the verse is that 'Mir' makes no reply to the speaker's words. He maintains the same absolute silence that he's been maintaining for all his life as a lover. We don't know if he's even been listening.