barso;N ham darvesh rahe hai;N parde me;N dunyaa-daarii ke
naamuus us kii kyuu;N-ke rahe yih pardah jin ne u;Thaayaa hai

1) for years we remained a darvesh, in the guise/veil of worldliness
2) how would the reputation/honor of that one remain, who has lifted this veil?



naamuus : 'Reputation, fame, renown; esteem, honour, grace, dignity; —disgrace, reproach, shame'. (Platts p.1118)

S. R. Faruqi:

In this verse everything is ambiguous-- or rather, a bit mysterious. If we juxtapose it to


and read them together, then the idea becomes a bit clear. As in the case of many of Mir's verses, here too there's a story, and its key is in the purity/sincerity of asceticism. For years the speaker was attached to the Lord. Superficially he, like most people, remained worldly, and a slave to his weaknesses, in the grip of his sensual self.

Then one day it happened that when he was wounded by the arrow of someone's glance, he at once lost all dignity, all self-control. The result was that he was compelled to renounce the world and take the road of desert-wandering. In this way his darvesh-ship was revealed, and the veil of his (false) worldliness was torn away. It's clear that in any case he will tear away the veil of the one in passion for whom he came to be in this state, such that his real/original inclination (that is, heart-afflictedness, downheartedness, renunciation of the world) became evident to everybody. See


where the theme is causing the disgrace of the beloved.

In the present verse the theme is no doubt new; in it there's also a transformation of an old theme. Usually the 'veil is torn away' from people's hypocrisy, trickery, etc., and they complain about this, even if inappropriately. Here, the veil is being torn away from purity and faqir-ship-- rather, the threat is even being issued that 'The one who revealed our condition to the world-- well, how will we not reveal his condition?!'.

In the second line, in the insha'iyah utterance naamuus us kii kyuu;N-kih rahe there are, as usual, several meanings: (1) His honor will absolutely not remain. (2) It's not at all possible that his honor would remain (this is a law of nature). (3) We will see how his honor remains!

In the first line, despite usage and grammar, the mind has created a new possibility. One prose reading will be like this: ham ( dar-a.sal ) darvesh ( hai;N aur ) barso;N dunya-daarii ke parde me;N chhup rahe hai;N . Another prose reading is possible, like this: ham log dar-a.sal darvesh hai;N ... -- that is, in the light of the second reading this utterance is by way of being a single complete sentence; and in the light of the first reading the speaker of it is some darvesh or other.

It's a very interesting and pleasurable verse. In the fifth divan itself he has composed this theme in a very light style [{1662,2}]:

.suurat ke ham aa))iine ke se :zaahir faqr nahii;N karte
hote saate rote paate un ne mu;Nh ko lagaa))ii ;xaak

[we do not do outward faqir-ship like a mirror
knowingly, through struggle, they put dust on the face]



I just couldn't figure out {1662,2}, so I asked SRF about it. He replied (September 2018):

The un refers to all those people who are like the mirror, like the speaker. Though all the faqirs (including the speaker) have a clear face with nothing hidden, sometimes even a mirror needs polishing, so dust is rubbed on its surface for it to regain its brightness. Thus willingly or unwillingly, alive or dead, all those people rub dust on their faces. The dust could also denote mourning, or could be a sign of detachment. Not a very good verse, on the whole.

Note for grammar fans: In the slight misalignment of tenses between Urdu and English, here's an unusual case in which the Urdu is a little more toward the present than the English, rather than a little less as it usually is.. The first line actually has 'have remained' [rahe hai;N]. But we know that situation doesn't exist up to the present, since in the second line someone 'has lifted' the veil. So to keep the time sequence intelligible in English, we need to go with simply 'remained' in the first line.