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0023,
4
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{23,4}

shahr-e dil ek muddat uj;Raa basaa ;Gamo;N se
aa;xir ujaa;R denaa us kaa qaraar paayaa

1) the city of the heart for some time was 'ruined-populated' with griefs
2) finally the demolition/razing of it {was decided upon / found abode/fixity}

 

Notes:

uja;Rnaa : 'To be rooted up, utterly destroyed or ruined, demolished, razed to the ground; to be laid waste, ravaged, plundered, spoiled; to be depopulated; to be devoid of inhabitants; to be wasted, squandered, dissipated; to fall into ruin or decay, go to waste, become a waste or ruin; to be or become deserted, desolate, cheerless or gloomy; to be lost; to perish, die; to be ruined, defiled, violated'. (Platts p.23)

 

basnaa : 'To dwell, abide; to be peopled, be settled, be populated, be cultivated; to be full, be well-peopled; to settle, encamp, lodge, perch, roost; to prosper, flourish, thrive'. (Platts p.156)

 

ujaa;Rnaa : 'To root up; to lay waste, devastate, destroy, break up, pull or take to pieces, pull down, demolish, raze, wipe out; to ruin, spoil, plunder, injure, harm; to drive out (the inhabitants); to depopulate'. (Platts p.22)

 

qaraar : 'Dwelling, residence; fixing (one's) abode (in), settling; resting; fixedness, fixity; permanence; consistency; stability, firmness, constancy; tenacity (of purpose); —rest, repose, quietness, quiet, peace, tranquillity; quietude, patient waiting, patience; —settlement, determination, confirmation; conclusion; ratification; agreement, engagement; —reality, certainty, truth'. (Platts p.789)

 

qaraar paanaa : 'To be or become fixed or settled, or at rest; to be agreed upon; to be determined, or decided; to be established, to be laid down, or ruled, or provided; to obtain'. (Platts p.789)

S. R. Faruqi:

The phrase uj;Raa basaa is a good example of everyday usage. But it has other kinds of meaningfulness as well. Some griefs are such that the heart becomes ruined, but others are such that through them the heart becomes inhabited. For some time this sequence remained-- that some griefs occurred through which the heart became full of hustle and bustle (for example, perhaps the grief of passion). And some occurred through which the heart was ruined (for example, perhaps the grief of the age, or perhaps the grief of being unable to endure any more griefs). Finally it was decided to lay waste to the city of the heart.

What emerges from qaraar paanaa is that some individual, or several individuals, took counsel together and reached the conclusion that what was proper was to lay waste to it (that is, that this city was worthy of being laid waste). The one who reached this conclusion can be the speaker himself (that is, the one who is nominally the master of the city of the heart). Or it can be those griefs that have kept playing 'blind man's bluff' with the city of the heart. Or it can be the beloved, or it can be the Lord himself. But since some griefs are such that they do the work of laying waste to the heart, the meaning of the decision can also be that only such griefs would be given as destroy the heart, not those that populate it.

But why was this decision made? Was it because this itself was the destiny of the city of the heart? Or because this game of ruining and populating no longer interested the agents of fate (or the beloved)? Or because this long series of ruinings and settlings had left the heart no longer capable of enduring these changes?

In the second line the meaning of ujaa;R denaa can also be 'to devastate, to reduce to nothingness'; the basic interpretation remains the same. The heart that would be populated only by griefs-- and then, that would not be given such griefs as would be able to populate it-- what a state of desolation it would be in!

Ghalib has presented this theme well in his own style [in Persian]:

'I am not like trees that have seen the autumn
because such trees pride themselves on their delicacy and flourishingness.'

Ghalib's verse is very eloquent [baalii;G]. But it seems to be influenced by this verse of Mir's {1705,3}:

shahr-e dil kii kyaa ;xaraabii kaa bayaa;N baa-ham kare;N
us ko viiraanah nah kahye jo kabhii ma((muur ho

[how would we express to each other the ruinedness of the city of the heart
don't call something 'desolate' if it would ever be settled]

Ahmad Mushtaq too has used Ghalib's theme well:

mausam-e gul ho kih pat jha;R ho balaa se apnii
ham to shaamil hai;N nah khilne me;N nah murjhaane me;N

[whether it would be the rose-season or would be the leaf-fall-- what do we care!
we take part neither in blooming nor in withering]

FWP:

SETS == WORDPLAY
MOTIFS
NAMES
TERMS

And really, the wordplay is so striking! For some time the fate of the city of the heart was touch-and-go, it was like a derelict building inhabited only intermittently, and then only by squatters and tramps; its population consisted entirely of 'griefs'. The sense of basnaa as 'to be well-peopled, prosper, flourish, thrive' (see the definition above) can here only increase the effect of desolation. A city that was either entirely desolate, or else 'well-peopled' only by griefs-- what a limit case of devastation!

Of course, even this liminal kind of populatedness wasn't destined to last. For at length the complete demolition and razing of the city was decided upon (the authorities concluded that the old wreck really had to go). Thus its ujaa;R denaa ended in-- qaraar paanaa . And what a fantastically paradoxical verb! It 'found qaraar '-- it acquired 'dwelling, residence; fixing (one's) abode (in), settling; resting; fixedness, fixity; permanence; consistency; stability, firmness, constancy; tenacity (of purpose); —rest, repose, quietness, quiet, peace, tranquillity; quietude, patient waiting, patience; —settlement, determination, confirmation; conclusion; ratification; agreement, engagement' (see the definition above).

All the things that the city of the heart had never had (settledness, rest, fixedness, permanence, repose, tranquillity, etc.) it now 'found' in the form of the decision to wreck it entirely. Its ruination acquired settledness, its razing acquired establishedness. Even the verb paanaa works similarly-- in the project of its own complete ruin the city didn't just lose, but 'found' so many things. Perhaps it 'found' them ironically; but then again-- perhaps not. We're back in the heart of the ghazal world, where the passionate (mystical?) lover rejoices in his own ruin and death.