kyaa jaane vuh maa))il hove kab milne kaa tum se miir
qiblah-o-ka((bah us kii jaanib ak;sar aate jaate raho

1) there's no telling when she might be inclined toward meeting with you, Mir
2) oh protector and patron, keep often coming and going in her direction



maa))il : 'Inclining (to or towards) ... , leaning; inclined; propense, having a propensity, or inclination, or partiality (for)'. (Platts p.188)


qiblah : 'That part to which Muslims turn their faces when at prayer; the temple of the Kaʻba in Mecca; Mecca; —an altar, a temple; an object of veneration or reverence; a father; a king, &c.; (by way of respectful address) Father! Worship! Sire!'. (Platts p.788)


ka((bah : 'The sanctuary of Mecca .... The place to which one looks for happiness'. (Steingass p.1036)

S. R. Faruqi:

This verse is based on one [in Persian] by Naziri:

'Don't be heedless of that moon, for even the blink of an eye,
Perhaps sometime she might look toward you, and you might not know.'

There's no doubt that the intensity of absorption and commitment in Naziri's verse is not found in Mir's verse. But Mir, as is his custom, has taken a stripped-down idea to ground level, and brought it into the realm of everyday experience. The verbal pleasure of Mir's verse is that people go toward the qiblah-o-ka((bah ; and here, calling the addressee qiblah-o-ka((bah , he is advising him that he should keep going toward the beloved.

With an intensity like Naziri's, Mir has composed this theme like this in the second divan [{1007,7}]:

kyaa jaane te;G us kii kab ho buland-e ((aashiq
yuu;N chaahiye kih sar ko har dam jhukaa ke bai;The

[there's no telling when her sword would be raised above the lover
one ought to sit at every moment with the head bowed]

Mir extended his account of the scene as far as death, and thus took a step beyond Naziri. But the homely feeling of the second line, and the style of natural speech in the whole verse, make the present verse the best among the three.



The speaker seems to be some friend or well-wisher of the lover, but someone who treats him with a certain amount of respect. It might be a 'neighbor', except that the 'neighbors' verses almost always try to protect or rescue 'Mir' from the miseries of his passion; they almost never seek to encourage his mad behavior.

The 'punch' of the verse is of course that the Qiblah marks the direction in which a Muslim should turn in prayer, and the Ka'bah is the supreme place of pilgrimage. Yet here not only are they used as a polite form of address for the lover (see the definitions above), but they are at once followed by an injunction to ignore or replace them both-- to keep instead using 'her direction' as the constant focus of his attention and movement.

This is where it's hard when one is an outsider, and I'm tremendously grateful for SRF's commentary. A line like qiblah-o-ka((bah us kii jaanib ak;sar aate jaate raho just doesn't have a 'homely feeling ' [ghareluu-pan] to me at all. It would never have occurred to me that qiblah-o-ka((bah is a domestic or intimate form of address; to me it seems that it ought to be formal or polite. Which just goes to show you how useful it is to have an insider's perspective as well as an outsider's. Nobody alive really knows what household conversation was like in Mir's day and in Mir's milieu-- or even in Ghalib's, for that matter-- but every bit of help we can get will aid us in appreciating the subtleties of the poetry. And SRF is a wonderful source, since he supplements his own sense of the language with wide reading and very serious dictionary work. Thank you, SRF, on behalf of all of us who are your readers.