aabaad jis me;N tujh ko dekhaa thaa ek muddat
us dil kii mamlukat ko ab ham ;xaraab dekhaa

1) [the one] in which we had seen you settled/flourishing/happy, for some time--
2) the empire/grandeur of that heart, now we saw [to be] ruined



aabaad : 'Inhabited, populated, peopled; full of buildings and inhabitants, populous; settled (as a colony or town); cultivated; stored; full; occupied; —city, town... ; —flourishing, prosperous; pleasant; happy'. (Platts p.2)


mamlukat : 'Empire, kingdom, realm, sovereignty, dominion, country, province, district, possession; --regal power, grandeur, magnificence'. (Platts p.1068)


;xaraab : 'Ruined, spoiled, depopulated, wasted, deserted, desolate; abandoned, lost, miserable, wretched; bad, worthless, vitiated, corrupt, reprobate, noxious, vicious, depraved, profligate; defiled, polluted, contaminated'. (Platts p.487)

S. R. Faruqi:

In the verse there's an interesting ambiguity. The beloved was settled in the heart for some time; that is, she had made a home in the heart. Now the heart is desolate; that is, the beloved has emerged from the heart. This can mean that now in the heart love for the beloved hasn't remained, or else that the beloved, having made a home in the heart, destroyed the heart. Then the heart was destroyed, then the beloved didn't remain in it either. (The beloved left me, or else the fervor of passion no longer remained in my heart.)

From jis and us the suspicion can arise that someone else's heart is being described. There's also an allusion to the toughness [sa;xt-jaanii] of the heart, because the heart remained inhabited 'for some time', and now it has gone to ruin. Compare




From the first line we guess that 'the one in which we saw you flourishing' might be a city or a street, especially since aabaad itself can mean a city or town (see the definition above). Only when we are allowed (under mushairah performance conditions, after a delay) to hear the second line do we discover that the reference is to a heart. The associations of aabaad as 'settled, well-populated, flourishing' form a fine counterpoint to those of ;xaraab (see the definitions above).

Does the beloved's settling in a heart cause the heart's gradual ruin? (On this reading, the speaker saw her indifference cause the neighborhood to run down and gradually turn into a slum.) Or is it her leaving that causes the desolation that the speaker now sees in the heart? The exact cause is left for us to decide. In either case, the 'empire, grandeur' of the heart intensifies the contrast between then and now. It's not just some ordinary provincial town that has been laid waste, but a former imperial capital. In fact, if there were a commentarial tradition for Mir, undoubtedly some 'natural poetry' advocate would claim that this verse was a reference to the sad state of eighteenth-century Delhi.

Note for grammar fans: How coolly Mir simply omits the ne in the second line! But it's important to note that even when he omits the ne , its effect remains entirely present in terms of verb agreement.