jhuu;T us kaa nishaa;N nah do yaaro
ham ;xaraabo;N ko mat ;xaraab karo

1) don't give a false sign/trace of him/her/it, friends
2) don't make us ruined/wretched ones, ruined/wretched



jhuu;Thaa (of which jhuu;T is a variant): 'Lying, false; ... groundless, imaginary; supposititious; delusive, illusive, vain; unsound, invalid; fictitious, invented, artificial'. (Platts p.409)


nishaan : ' Sign; signal; mark, impression; character; seal, stamp; proof; trace, vestige; —a trail; clue'. (Platts p.1139)


;xaraab : 'Ruined, spoiled, depopulated, wasted, deserted, desolate; abandoned, lost, miserable, wretched'. (Platts p.487)

S. R. Faruqi:

The theme of this verse is new, and in its verbal structure there's also a great deal of depth. In the second line, the word ;xaraabo;N alludes to several meanings: (1) house-wrecked [;xaanah-;xaraab] etc.; (2) desolate, destroyed, therefore solitary; (3) the opposite of 'good'-- that is, bad; (4) extremely drunk; (5) destroyed and ruined.

Now consider the rareness of the theme. The speaker is in search of someone; the object of his search can be the Lord, or can also be the beloved. There are some people who claim to know a sign/trace of the precious pearl that he seeks. But either the sign/trace that they told him was incorrect, or in order to worry the speaker they deliberately gave him false information. Or the speaker has guessed (or he is thinking) that people are giving him wrong information about the beloved/Lord. In any case, he tells them not to make us wretched ones more wretched by giving a false sign/trace.

In this whole situation, many ideas are included:

(1) Who are those people who claim to tell him about a sign/trace of the beloved/Lord? They might be people who claim to be mystical knowers and acquainted with the Lord; they also might be only ordinary worldly people who claim that they too are acquainted with the Lord. It's also possible that they might be people who would know nothing, but want to agitate the searcher and enjoy his agitation.

(2) Some people have, or some person has, given the speaker information about the beloved/Lord. The reason for this might be that the speaker, in his search, asks every Tom, Dick, and Harry where to find that one, and some people (whose circumstances have been described above) take upon their heads the responsibility of telling him the path.

(3) The speaker has confidence in them, and sets out on the road they have indicated. When even after much confusion/wandering he does not obtain success, then he comes back and complains to those people that they told him a wrong road. Thus he comes back and in his simplicity (or through desperation in his pursuit) asks those same people, 'Now tell us the right road-- don't tell lies and make us wretched ones wretched'.

(4) It's also possible that the searcher himself might not have tried the road that is being indicated to him; rather, he guesses or discerns/intuits that people are lying to him. Thus he says, 'Don't give a false sign/trace of that one, friends'.

(5) The speaker in his own right has no power/authority to search out and find the precious pearl that he seeks; if he had it, then he would have arrived there on his own. Despite his sincere search, he is helpless to reach his goal. And he is also obliged to inquire about his road from others and to try the road they indicate, even if they tell him wrongly.

(6) The speaker's 'house-wreckedness' [;xaanah-;xaraabii] can be because of the intoxication ( ;xaraab = intoxicated) of passion, or because of his vagabondage; or in the view of ordinary people, because of his being 'bad' ( ;xaraab = bad). That is, all the meanings of ;xaraab are here present and operative at the same time. Contrary to Derrida, here no meaning is undergoing the process of being 'under erasure'. What can be a more powerful and complete use of language than this?

(7) In the tone of the verse there's an uncommon helplessness and melancholy, but there's a dignity as well. Then, it's also a comment on the whole arrangement of the universe-- that in search of the Lord/beloved one is compelled to ask help from people who are either liars or absorbed in the erroneous idea that they know. One's whole life is spent in dealing with just such people.

(8) The question always remains as to whether a true sign/trace of the beloved/Lord can even be found or not. And if the searcher has learned through guessing or discernment/intuition that the informers are telling him lies-- then what was that guess, or what was that idea, or what was that testimony, on the basis of which his discernment/intuition decided that the informers were not trustworthy?

Reflect that Mir's age was over eighty-five years-- and he created this verse which has apparently nothing to it, but in which concerning the veiledness of creation, the whole condition of human presence has been expressed.

[See also {1746,8}.]



SRF does an elaborate set of readings, but I'd like to take a different tack. It's a 'short meter'. The second line has only eleven syllables, and five of them-- almost half the line-- are taken up by ;xaraabo;N and ;xaraab , the only important, striking, new word(s) in the line. Obviously, the repetition of ;xaraab becomes the pivotal point of this very short verse.

The question of whether ;xaraab should be read chiefly as 'ruined', 'wretched', 'abandoned', 'drunk' (in the intriguingly parallel English idiomatic sense of 'wrecked'), etc. is surely secondary. All those meanings are powerfully available in the word itself (see the definition above). The real punch comes from the paradoxical quality of the injunction: 'don't make us X ones, X'. Since the speaker and his group (of seekers, presumably) are already X, what would it mean to 'make us' X?

It's possible to smooth away the paradox by assuming that the sense would be to 'make us more X'. But that feels rather bland and conventional, and nothing in the verse encourages it. Instead, it's far more effective to preserve and even relish the paradox. Since the seekers are X already, it really doesn't much matter whether friends 'make' them X or not-- except of course for what it tells us about the friends. What the speaker forbids his friends to do is to give the seekers-- for whatever reasons, including perhaps compassion-- false clues or signs about 'that one' ('him', or 'her', or 'it', with nothing at all to narrow down the possibilities).

What difference would it make to the X ones, if the friends did give them false clues? If they now have no clues, it would give them false hope; or, if they now have true clues, it would confuse them; or, if they have abandoned the quest for 'that one', it would reawaken their interest. But really, this kind of speculation hardly takes us very far. The friends' actions could only cause the already-X ones to become X. The damage has already been done. So perhaps the only real reason to forbid their behavior is because they would annoy or pester the seekers. Since the seekers are X in any case, there's no chance of any change. Whatever the friends may do or not do, the final bleak truth can only be that the ;xaraab ones are, and remain, ;xaraab .