kyaa kyaa mardum ;xvush :zaahir hai;N ((aalam-e ;husn me;N naam-e ;xudaa
((aalam-e ((ishq ;xaraabah hai vaa;N ko))ii ghar aabaad nahii;N

1) what-all [kinds of] people are seemingly/evidently/outwardly happy-appearing in the world of beauty, in the Lord's name!
2) the world of passion is a desolation/ruin; there no house is inhabited



mardum : 'A man; men, people; —a polite or civilized man; —pupil (of the eye); —adj. Civil, humane'. (Platts p.1022)


;xvush : 'Good; excellent; healthy, wholesome; flourishing, prosperous, well;—sweet, delicious; delightful, agreeable, acceptable; pleasing, pleasant; beautiful, fair, charming, elegant; amiable, affable, cheerful, glad, happy, pleased, delighted, merry, gay; content, willing'. (Platts p.496)


:zaahir : 'Outward, exterior, external, extrinsic, exoteric; appearing, apparent, overt, open, perceptible, visible, perceived, plain, evident, manifest, conspicuous, ostensible'. (Platts p.755)

S. R. Faruqi:

This verse is apparently ordinary, but if it's considered a bit carefully, then extraordinary aspects of meaning can be seen in it. First of all, if we consider ;xvush :zaahir , then because it's not governed by an izafat, and because of the dexterous use of grammar and word-choice, the line can be read in various ways:

(1) kyaa kyaa mardum , ;xvush , :zaahir hai;N ((aalam-e ;husn me;N naam-e ;xudaa

(2) kyaa kyaa mardum , ;xvush :zaahir , hai;N ((aalam-e ;husn me;N naam-e ;xudaa

(3) kyaa kyaa mardum ;xvush , :zaahir hai;N ((aalam-e ;husn me;N naam-e ;xudaa

(4) kyaa kyaa mardum ;xvush :zaahir hai;N , ((aalam-e ;husn me;N naam-e ;xudaa

Now let's turn our attention to the meaning of ;xvush :zaahir : (1) that which, when looked at, is pleasing; (2) that of which the exterior is good, but the interior is not good. The 'proof' of this distinction is in a Persian idiom; in Urdu, Mir Anis says:

kuchh :tifl the aur taazah javaa;N the ka))ii ;xvush-ruu
;xvush :zaahir-o-;xvush baa:tin-o-;xvush qaamat-o-;xvush ;xuu

[there were some children, and some fresh youths, with good faces
with good exteriors and good interiors and good statures and good dispositions]

Now let's look at the meaning of ;xvush : (1) good; (2) virtuous; (3) pleasing; (4) happy. (5) In Arabic, ;xvush can also mean 'breasts' or 'bosom'. Thus, with or without an izafat, mardum ( -e ) ;xvush-:zaahir can mean 'people who have conspicuous breasts'. It's clear that in Iran and Hind, the beloved's breasts are assumed to be heavy and conspicuous. Thus in Persian the similes that are used for breasts include 'twin suns of Doomsday', 'silver mountains', 'silver bowers', and 'silver wineflagons'. (6) Flourishing, blooming. [Examples are found in Persian poetry and dictionaries.]

In the light of this discussion of ;xvush , if we take a look at the meaningfulness of mardum-e ;xvush-:zaahir , then we realize what depth there is within this apparently ordinary phrase.

Now look at the word ((aalam . He has assumed two worlds: the world of beauty and the world of passion. In their own places these are physical spaces, and moods, and ideal worlds that are called 'Beauty' and 'Passion'. That is, passion as an ideal state and beauty as an ideal state each have their own existence. But since these 'worlds' are also physical spaces, there will be things in them as well. In the world [of beauty] there are mardum-e ;xvush-:zaahir , who have been introduced only by the simple insha'iyah phrase kyaa kyaa .

But not content with the abundance of meaning found in this insha'iyah phrase, he has ended the line with naam-e ;xudaa . The phrase naam-e ;xudaa is spoken when surprise or joy is being expressed at something, or when something is said in which there would be the possibility of the evil eye being attracted[na:zar lagnaa]. For example, we say tum naam-e ;xudaa abhii javaan ho . That is, by taking the Lord's name those disasters and calamities that are possible are warded off. Then, if saying naam-e ;xudaa wards off disasters, it's clear that the thing about which naam-e ;xudaa was said, makes progress.

It occurs in a verse of Ghalib's:


Now let's get to the heart of the theme. In the world of beauty, each person is more ;xvush-:zaahir than the next. Or in the world of beauty, each person who is apparent/visible is more beautiful than the next. In contrast to this, the world of passion is a desolation/ruin, in which no house is inhabited.

There are houses there too, but as soon as they're inhabited they fall into ruin. One kind of wilderness would have no houses at all, and beyond that is the wilderness where there would be houses but they would be devoid of inhabitants.

There's also the point that in the hustle and bustle of the world of beauty there's also a part of the wilderness of the world of passion. If there would be no passion, then there would be no beauty either. Passion, by destroying itself, renders the house of beauty inhabited. One more point is that in the destiny of passion are solitude and desolation, and the office of beauty is to adorn gatherings and make parties radiant. It's a verse of 'mood', but layers of meaning are nevertheless present. It's a verse of Mir's own special style.



There's also the word mardum , with its overtones of urbanity ('a polite or civilized man') that are so perfectly suited to the lavish ambiguities of the world of beauty. The complex, often opposite effects of :zaahir are equally effective in that first line: it can mean either clear and real ('plain, evident, manifest'), or superficial ('outward, exterior, external'), or even faked ('apparent, ostensible'); see the definition above.

Fortunately, we can capture some of the same complexities in English with 'apparent' ('it's apparent that the coup has failed', versus 'the coup's failure is only apparent'). The world of beauty has all the subtlety, sophistication, hypocrisy; the world of passion has only its own desolateness.