shahr-e dil aah ((ajab jaa))e thii par us ke ga))e
aisaa uj;Raa kih kisii :tar;h basaayaa nah gayaa

1) the city of the heart, ah! -- it was a wondrous/extraordinary place, but after/upon her going,
2) it became ruined such that in no way was it (able to be) settled/inhabited [again]



((ajab : 'Wonderful, marvellous, astonishing, amazing, miraculous, strange, extraordinary, rare; droll'. (Platts p.758)


jaa))e is another form that can be assumed by jaa (place).


basaanaa : 'To cause to dwell; to settle a country; to bring into cultivation; to people, colonize, found a colony'. (Platts p.154)

S. R. Faruqi:



In the present verse the zila of jaa))e and ga))e is fine, and the word aah has the meanings of both regret and admiration. In us ke ga))e there's a subtle ambiguity, because it can also be read as saying that the beloved is now not in this world, and the beloved's not being in the heart too can have two causes. Either she herself left the heart, or she had left the heart only for a brief period (because the heart is a city, and coming and going constantly occurs in cities), but came to belong to some other place, and remained there.

The blame for the heart's ruin isn't placed straightforwardly on the beloved, and attempts have also been made to have it inhabited, but the heart is an 'extraordinary place' in this sense too-- that if once it's ruined, then it doesn't afterwards become inhabited. About kisii :tar;h the point is that attempts were made to resettle the heart-- for example, he wanted to have it lived in by some other beautiful one, but the city of the heart didn't permit this, and all the attempts were in vain.

In a ghazal in the second divan, Mir has versified a theme very close to this one, in this way [{719,2}, {719,7}]:

dil nah thaa aisii jagah jis kii nah sudh liije kabhuu
uj;Rii us bastii ko phir tuu ne basaayaa hotaa

[the heart wasn't such a place that you could never profit from it
if only you had caused that ruined town to be inhabited again!]

dil se ;xvush-:tab((a makaa;N phir bhii kahii;N bante hai;N
us ((imaarat ko ;Tuk ik dekh ke ;Dhaayaa hotaa

[still, do such pleasing houses like the heart get built anywhere else?
you should have just taken a little look at that structure before you overthrew it]

In this regard see also


To call the heart a 'city' or a 'house' is a beloved theme of Mir's. Such verses will pass before us in the future [course of this commentary] too, but perhaps the supreme height of them is this verse from the first divan:


This verse will be discussed in its place.

In the present verse, with regard to the 'city of the heart', it seems to be a place for thaa , although Mir has written thii . In fact, after the 'city of the heart' we ought to assume a break. That is, the prose of the verse will be like this: shahr-e dil -- aah ( vuh ) ((ajab jaa))e thii ; or perhaps he might have written thii with regard to the jaa))e . At that time this was not incorrect; see {17,8}.

The image of the destroying of a town, Atish too has used. In Atish's verse there's a touch of singularity, but there's no pleasure in the thought:

laasho;N ko ((aashiqo;N kii nah u;Thvaa galii se yaar
basne kaa phir yih gaa))o;N nahii;N jab uja;R gayaa

[don't have the corpses of lovers taken up from the street, friend
this village isn't the kind to be settled again when it was ruined]



Here's again the 'passive of impossibility' as one option, and the regular passive as another; for more on this see {66,1}.

The verse makes the city of the heart sound like an enchantment, a :tilism , from the dastan world. Once such an enchantment is broken, it can never be restored, and the whole magic world within it is gone forever. That world may have been 'wondrous, marvellous' or simply 'strange' [((ajab] (see the definition above). But in any case the audible onomatopoeic sigh, the sound of aah , conveys a strong charge of nostalgia.

Note for grammar fans: The us ke ga))e is short for the adverbial perfect participle us ke ga))e hu))e , '[in a state of] that one's having gone'. Or it could also be for us ke ga))e par , 'upon her going', the modern form of which would be us ke jaane par . The latter reading has the advantage of making the par us ke ga))e look as if it has the par already installed in reversed word order. The semantic structure of the verse makes it preferable for par to mean 'but'; however, if we really wanted it to mean 'on', we could imagine a simpler and more staccato sentence structure.