ak;sar kii be-dimaa;Gii har dam kii sar-garaanii
ab kab ga))ii u;Thaa))ii hai zor-e naa-tavaanii

1) generally/commonly, irritability; at every breath/moment, dissatisfaction--
2) now how/when has it been endured?! there is a strength/force of weakness



be-dimaa;Gii : 'Bad-temper, irritability, impatience'. (Platts p.202)


sar-garaanii : 'Heaviness of the head from intoxication, headache, crop-sickness; stupidity; dissatisfaction; pride, arrogance'. (Platts p.648)

S. R. Faruqi:

u;Thaanaa = to endure
zor = much, large amount

Apparently it's an entirely conventional, colorless verse. But if we pause over it, then the glitter of numerous charms/wonders of 'meaning-creation' can be seen:

(1) Mir has often used be-dimaa;Gii , in the sense of 'prickliness', 'displeasure', 'dissatisfaction', etc. Here this is of course for the beloved; it can also be for the speaker himself-- that he usually remains irritable and dissatisfied. A third meaning emerges from ak;sar , which can apply to the irritability of many people-- that many people generally remain irritated with the speaker. That is, one meaning of ak;sar is about time, 'on most occasions'; and the other meaning is about number, 'many people'.

(2) The meaning of sar-garaanii too is 'dissatisfaction', but its dictionary meaning is 'heavy-headedness'. In this regard, in the second line the idea of sar-garaanii ke u;Thaane (=to endure, to 'lift up') is very fine. There's an enjoyable wordplay between sar u;Thaane and sar-garaanii , and with regard to the wordplay of sar , the u;Thaa))ii is also superb ( sar u;Thaanaa is an idiom).

(3) The relationship between u;Thaane and the ideas in the first line is clear-- that ak;sar (the beloved's / people's / the speaker's) irritability and at every moment (the beloved's / people's / the speaker's) dissatisfaction cannot now be endured; but it can also have a relationship with naa-tavaanii . Now the meaning emerges that because of the ak;sar (the beloved's / people's / the speaker's) irritability and at every moment dissatisfaction, the speaker's (mental) weakness has greatly increased. Or, this irritability and dissatisfaction have put the speaker into nervous tension to such an extent that his weakness has further increased. Now he is weak to such an extent that he cannot endure it.

(4) Because of weakness, things become difficult or impossible to endure. But what's being discussed is the enduring of weakness itself. In this way a superb tension is created in the expression.

(5) In order to express the intensity of weakness, to use zor-e naa-tavaanii is a masterful feat of innate temperament and creativity-- that the word that means strength and power has been used for the abundance of weakness. In the eighteenth century zor meaning 'extremely much' was in use, but in the structure of the present verse its use has the authority of a 'fresh word'.

(6) The verse's ambiguity too is interesting. The speaker has become deficient in enduring irritability and so on, but it hasn't been made clear what his future course of action will be. If the reference is to his own irritability and so on, and now he is unable to endure it, then he has no recourse except to give up his life. And if it's an affair of the beloved's irritability and so on, then he will have to renounce passion, which is worse than death. And if it's the irritability and so on of other people that's under discussion, then he'll have to renounce the world. In every case the cure is worse than the disease.

He's composed a fine verse. See also


[See also {1496,4}.]



Really it's the zor-e naa-tavaanii that's the heart of the verse. But just look at how cleverly and ambiguously it has been framed. The first line is basically a 'list' of two abstract qualities, with no indication whatsoever of any context; not until we get to hear the second line can we even begin to figure out what's going on.

And even then, we discover that the first line could describe the nature of the speaker's weakness (he's constantly irritable and peevish, like an invalid); or his own reaction to his weakness (awareness of it makes him vexed and dissatisfied); or the reaction of the beloved and/or others to his weakness (they are annoyed and disgusted with his behavior). Similarly, the second line's rhetorical question 'Now how can it be endured?' can express the attitude of the speaker himself, or of the beloved and/or others. In all of these cases, the paradoxical-sounding zor-e naa-tavaanii is at the heart of it.

If the reaction is that of the beloved and/or others, the speaker's weakness perhaps has the kind of moral guilt-tripping power that is wielded by beggars. People often give to beggars reluctantly and grudgingly, with a feeling that their buttons are being deliberately pushed. Yet the buttons are there, and often they are being pushed; this is the 'strength' of weakness. Otherwise, it's hard to see why the beloved and/or the others would find the speaker's weakness literally unendurable, as the second line assures us that they do.

Moreover, this whole situation, the second line also tells us, exists 'now', so that apparently in some previous time it didn't exist. We feel the strong suggestion that the speaker's weakness has 'now' entered some kind of potent, non-stop, probably terminal phase.

Note for grammar fans: The kab frames the second line as an indignant negative rhetorical question: 'Now, when has 'it'-- that is, the two feminine nouns in the first line-- ever been endured?!' The strongly implied answer: 'Never-- nor could it, nor perhaps should it ever be endured!'. The idiomatic counterpart in English would be something like 'How can anyone stand it?!'.