miir nah aisaa hove kahii;N parde hii par vuh maar mare
;Dar lagtaa hai us se ham ko hai vuh :zaahir-daar bahut

1) may Mir not be such that somehow, before/over her veil/pardah, he would kill himself!
2) we're afraid of that; he's very ceremonious/formal



maar marnaa : 'To smite oneself and die,' to commit suicide; —to slay (some of the enemy) and die, to do and die'. (Platts p.980)


:zaahir-daar : 'Specious, plausible, showy, ostentatious; pretentious; ceremonious, formal'. (Platts p.755)


:zaahir : 'Outward, exterior, external, extrinsic, exoteric; appearing, apparent, overt, open, perceptible, visible, perceived, plain, evident, manifest, conspicuous, ostensible; —the outside, the external appearance; the external, or outward, or extrinsic state, or condition, or circumstances'. (Platts 755)

S. R. Faruqi:

maar marnaa = to commit suicide

He has used maar marnaa in one other place as well, in the shikaar-naamah-e duvvum :

mai;N jo kahaa tang huu;N maar maruu;N kyaa karuu;N
vuh bhii lagaa kahne haa;N kuchh to kiyaa chaahiye

[when I said, 'I'm vexed, should I kill myself, what should I do?'
she too began to say, 'Indeed, something ought to be done!']

But in the present verse the thought, the elaborateness of the words, are innovative and extremely fresh. The beloved remains in pardah; under no circumstances does she show her form. The speaker fears that Mir would somehow give up his life over/before the pardah. This has two meanings. The first is that Mir might somehow become a lover of the pardah itself; and the second is that he might give up his life before the beloved's pardah, or might be slain at her hands-- so that considering the pardah to be a replacement for the beloved, or finding the pardah at hand, or by reason of necessity, he would give up his life before the pardah.

The reason that he has expressed for this fear is even more interesting: that in Mir's temperament there's much :zaahir-daarii . That is, (1) he is a worshiper of exteriors (the pardah is exterior, and the beloved interior); (2) Mir has a great deal of ardor for display-- that is, for displaying the intensity of his passion; (3) Mir is very stubborn; in order to show the world, he insists on his idea.

The subtlety is that :zaahir-daar people are in reality those who are weak in action and strong in talk-- and here, Mir's suicide is being established as a proof of his :zaahir-daarii .

A meaning of maar is 'the feeling/attraction of passion', or 'Kamdev' too; and a meaning of maarnaa is 'to make someone a lover, to make someone mad', just as a meaning of marnaa is 'to become a lover, to become mad'. These subtleties are further additions.

Nisar Ahmad Faruqi has devised the reading parde hii parde maar mare [reading pardah instead of par vuh , to get 'would kill himself in pardah']. But that doesn't appeal to the heart. In the first line, with regard to abundance of meaning, the reading I have given is more suitable. In addition, in the second line the word :zaahir-daar is only enjoyable when that reading is adopted.



This verse is apparently spoken by a concerned person who fears that 'Mir' might kill himself either 'over' the beloved's veil, or 'at, before, in front of' the beloved's veil. The contrast between such an overt, ultimate, highly visible deed on the one hand, and a (symbolic or real) emblem of privacy on the other, is piquant in itself.

But then the word :zaahir-daar adds marvelously to the complexity. Most of its meanings, after all, are negative (see the definitions above). What are we to make of that fact? Here are some possibilities:

=The speaker doesn't know 'Mir' very well, and misunderstands his (seemingly or genuinely) crazy motivations and behavior.

=Mir has a great regard for 'outward' things like her veil (which is all that's visible of her), and thus might indeed commit the 'ostentatious' deed of killing himself before the veil, out of admiration for its beauty.

=Mir has a great regard for 'manifest, conspicuous' behavior, and thus to openly display his devotion might kill himself right before the beloved's (veiled) eyes, so that she would see him do so.

=Mir has a great regard for 'plain, perceived' behavior, and thus might kill himself as a frustrated protest against her literal veiledness and/or her metaphorical unavailability.

= Mir has a great regard for 'ceremonious, formal' behavior, and thus might respond to her 'ceremonious, formal' public veiledness not with pleas or laments or moans and groans, but only with an overt, formal, final deed.

Since we don't know what Mir is actually thinking or feeling-- and since even our second-hand information is hypothetical and filtered through the viewpoint of a perhaps unreliable observer-- we really have a wide range of interpretive choices for the lover's behavior. Or rather, his non-behavior-- for so far, he apparently hasn't done anything at all.