;xvush hai;N diivaanagii-e miir se sab
kyaa junuu;N kar gayaa shu((uur se vuh

1) all are happy/content with the madness of Mir

2a) as if he went mad, sagaciously! (for of course he didn't!)
2b) how he went mad, sagaciously! (it was a remarkable feat!)
2c) did he go mad, sagaciously? (it's not clear)



;xvush : 'Glad, happy, pleased, delighted, merry, gay; content, willing'. (Platts p.496)


kar jaanaa : ''To finish and depart,' to have done with'. (Platts p.828)


shu((uur : 'Knowledge, wisdom, intelligence, sense, discretion, discernment, sagacity, penetration; good management'. (Platts p.728)

S. R. Faruqi:

Through the beauty of its ambiguity, and the subtlety of its theme, even within Mir's poetry this verse glows like a garnet. The vision of the sanctity of madness exists in both East and West. In our country, in addition to the respect for venerable 'abstracted' [maj;zuub] elders, the company of the 'people of madness' is usually regarded with respect and fear.

In the West, until the eighteenth century the vision of the holiness of madness remained quite well established. When under the influence of intellectuals and the enlightened it became common to think of madness as only a mental illness and a disorder of the elements of the mind, then the Romantics reacted by giving to madness a special place in their poetry and in human life.

The final lines of Coleridge's 'Kubla Khan' are in one sense a celebration of mental disorder:

Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

In our poetry as well, madness has always been judged to be better than wisdom; and instead of wisdom, revelation has been given the central place. In this context, Mir's verse can be seen as setting up a new kind of equation. With regard to convention, in our poetry the worldly person is, to the lover or the speaker, the 'Other'. The Ascetic, the morals policeman [mu;htaasib], the Advisor, the Rival, are the special representatives and symbols of such externally-minded people. These people dislike madness, because both the words and deeds of the madman subvert their dominion and their rules and visions of life.

In the present verse, we are being told that 'all' the people are happy at Mir's madness-- that is, if these people aren't truly pleased at Mir's madness, or don't truly accept it, then at least they consent to it. We are given no description of 'all'. But the best guess is that it refers to those who are 'Other' to the madman-- those who if they don't show direct enmity to him, are strangers in his world, while he is a stranger in theirs.

They all consent [raa.zii honaa] to Mir's madness because he has expressed his madness with great shu((uur . The first point is to ask why the speaker feels composure and a certain kind of happiness because 'all' the people consented to Mir's madness. Why was it even necessary to mention (and thus give importance to) the fact that those people who are irrelevant to the madman, consent to his madness? What does the madman care how anyone views his madness? He is self-sufficient in his own world.

Thus the mention of this consent makes clear that the speaker (even if it would be 'Mir' himself) is making some kind of compromise with the 'people of the world'. This fact is apparently not a good thing, but the way it has been expressed seems to suggest that the speaker considers it a praiseworthy feat.

Between madness and shu((uur is the same relationship as between fire and water. Then shu((uur ke saath junuun kar jaanaa -- what meaning does it have, and how can it be possible? If it would mean that Mir upheld the etiquette [aadaab] of madness, then what is the etiquette of madness? Here too we are obliged to guess that the etiquette of madness is probably that a person should rip open his collar, tear his hair, go into the wilderness; but all madmen do these things, so what is special about Mir?

Possibly the idea might be that in the state of madness Mir didn't create noise and turmoil, he didn't bother anyone, and so on. But this is the worst kind of compromise. Thus shu((uur ke saath junuun karnaa -- although with regard to paradox it's a supremely beautiful phrase, all its apparent meanings-- or rather, the apparent meaning of the whole verse-- shows madness to be of little worth/respect.

If we adopt the point of view of today's 'New Historicism', then the 'subtext' of the verse is that shu((uur ke saath junuun karnaa is in truth the height of subversion of the customary values of the 'people of the world'. Because the true standard is junuun karnaa -- so that the 'people of the world' and the 'people of wisdom' would be put to shame. Thus if one superficially adopts sagacity, and inwardly madness (that is, that no sign of madness would be allowed to become apparent), then it's as though the true/original goal has been attained.

Another possibility is that junuun karnaa might mean 'to become mad' [majnuun ho jaanaa]. In Persian both junuu;N kardan and junuu;N zadan exist (according to the [dictionary] bahaar-e ((ajam ). Thus junuu;N kar gayaa seems to be a translation of junuu;N kard . Now the meaning becomes that Mir was very intelligent/aware, he saw that the world was not a place to live in in a state of intelligence/awareness. Thus when he found the occasion, then using great acuity and sagacity, he became mad.

In this case, the reason that all the people were content with Mir was that people did justice to Mir's acuity and sagacity, since he had replaced wisdom with madness and knowledge with revelation. He's composed an extraordinary and remarkable verse.

[See also {957,7}; {1040,1}.]



The first line is almost suspiciously simple and straightforward-- so much so that it becomes piquant. We just know that something gnarly awaits us in that second line. And sure enough, the second line is almost a limit case of the kind of thing I love. Out of seven small words it makes an astonishing can of worms. Let's leave aside the kyaa for the moment, and consider how to read the other six words.

(1) junuu;N kar ke gayaa shu((uur se , vuh -- 'He did madness, and went, {with / through} sagacity'. (Either or both actions were sagacious.)

(2) junuu;N kar [ ke ] gayaa , shu((uur se , vuh -- 'Having done madness, he went, {with / through} sagacity'. (His going was sagacious.)

(3) junuu;N kar [ ke ], gayaa shu((uur se , vuh -- 'Having done madness, he went out of his mind/sagacity'. (He went mad and 'took leave of his senses'.)

In general, kar jaanaa means 'to do something and then go', 'to do something in passing' (it often sounds elegiac), so that an extra action is added to the simple idea of doing (see the definition above). Also clear is the versatility of se -- here it can mean 'with sagacity' (= in a sagacious manner) or 'through sagacity' (= as a result of sagacity); these may often be similar, but are not at all identical. (In fact it's easy to imagine that someone might, say, leave town out of prudence, but not leave town in a prudent manner.) And just as one can 'come to his senses' [hosh me;N aanaa], or 'take leave of his senses' [hosh se jaanaa], he can surely in a similar fashion 'take leave of his sagacity' [shu((uur se jaanaa].

Thus each of these three readings can generate at least two or three possible, subtly different interpretations. Then of course if we reattach the kyaa , we're talking about surely a dozen or so possible readings. My translations above seek to capture only the range of (1), which is SRF's preferred reading, which ignores the gayaa . (If we pay attention to the gayaa by reading kar ke gayaa , we see that perhaps what people liked about Mir's madness was just that part of it-- that after he went mad, he went away.)

Having a dozen readings from seven words is a somewhat dizzying pleasure in itself, but even more enjoyable is how every single one of them has its own particular and piquant chemistry with the first line. And all this semi-controlled proliferation is also a striking evocation of what it might be like to combine 'madness' and 'sagacity'.

Note for grammar fans: For more on the special idiomatic possibilities (other than kar deletion) of kar gayaa , see {1781,1}.