Ghazal 143, Verse 5


mujh se mat kah tuu hame;N kahtaa thaa apnii zindagii
zindagii se bhii miraa jii in dino;N be-zaar hai

1) don't say to me, 'You used to call us your life'
2) even/also toward life, these days, my inner-self is disaffected


be-zaar : 'Displeased, vexed, annoyed, out of humor; disgusted'. (Platts p.203)


He is angry, and the beloved is coaxing him. (153)

== Nazm page 153

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, don't say to me, 'You always used to call us your life'. That was a different time, and a different era. Now my self has become disaffected even/also from my life. (211)

Bekhud Mohani:

Nowadays I am disaffected with life. Don't say to me, 'You always used to call us your life, your self'. From this it was clear that the heart didn't like to say a single word of disaffection, even with the beloved.

[Or:] The lover is angry. The beloved is cajoling him. He says, don't say that we used to call you our life. Nowadays we are disaffected even with life. That is, you've so tormented us that the self no longer wants to live. (280)



Lover and beloved are on intimate terms, each addresses the other with the intimate tuu . But the tone is not clear. The lover is dissatisfied with something, but what? The beloved? His own behavior or situation? Life itself? Is he truly angry, a bit sulky, or just melancholy? Thanks to the multivalence of bhii , we also cannot tell whether he is dissatisfied 'even' with life (the limit case of vexation), or with life 'too' (just the latest in a long string of disappointments). Naturally, the verse gives us no information.

Thus we're left to wonder why the beloved should not say what she apparently does say, or has said, or is about to say. Here are some possible reasons:

=She shouldn't ask him cajolingly about his love for her, because nowadays he's so disaffected that he won't be cajoled and doesn't want to talk about it.

=She shouldn't have the gall to ask him about his emotional life, because she's the one who has made it so terminally wretched (as Bekhud Mohani suggests).

=She shouldn't reproach him for slackening in his confidences and attentions toward her, when now he's too far gone to care.

=She shouldn't presume that he has a 'life', because nowadays he's so alienated from it that he hardly even has one any more.

=She shouldn't pretend to be interested in his affairs-- it's too late, and they both know she doesn't care in the slightest; he rejects her fake sympathy.

It's unusual for someone to call his beloved merii zindagii , but of course in another form 'my life' [merii jaan] is exactly what the lover does often call the beloved. The lover is thus disaffected from the beloved in exactly the way that he's disaffected from his own life. Vasmi Abidi has helped me think this verse through, and I'm grateful to him for his good interpretive suggestions.

Compare {95,6}, which similarly states, and then discredits, a useless truism.