vuh dasht-e ;xauf-naak rahaa hai miraa va:tan
sun kar jise ;xi.zar ne safar se ;ha;zar kiyaa

1a) that fearsome desert has been/'remained' my homeland
1b) my homeland has been/'remained' that fearsome desert

2) having heard [of] which, Khizr felt wariness/fear about traveling



;ha;zar : 'Caution, wariness, vigilance, care; prudence; —fear'. (Platts p.475)

S. R. Faruqi:

By means of Khvajah Khizr, he's expressed the terrifyingness of the desert of passion in a very enjoyable style, in two places in the sixth divan. One such verse:


Also from the sixth divan [{1878,2}]:

;xi;zr dasht-e ((ishq me;N mat jaa kih vaa;N
har qadam ma;xduum ;xauf-e sher hai

[Khizr, don't go into the desert of passion, for there
at every step, Your Lordship, there's a fear/danger of tigers]

But in the present verse, there are two additional pleasures. One is that from 'has been/'remained' my homeland' the suspicion arises that now, my homeland has not remained [nahii;N rahaa] in that fearsome desert.

The second is that he has very finely used the affinity between safar and ;ha;zar , because through it the possibility of ;ha.zar ('to pause, halt') arises, which is a paired opposite of safar . In this way the pleasure of a zila has come to exist between safar and ;ha;zar .

[See also {124,2}; {711,5}.]



The piling-on of degrees of separation is a real delight. That terrifying desert of passion that is the speaker's homeland is not only not Khizr's homeland, it's not only not a place he's traveled through, it's not only not a place he might travel through, it's not only not a place he might want to inquire about-- it's a place the very mention of which puts him off traveling entirely. He who is preeminently the guide, the road-finder, the helper of the lost, the water-associated one, the 'green' one who brings fertility wherever he goes, the unkillable one who will live till Doomsday-- even he himself can't remotely endure the very idea of the desert of passion that the speaker has lived in as natively as (in the ghazal world) a salamander can live in fire.

Here's another, even cleverer boast, from the second divan [{721,9}]:

milaa kahii;N to dikhaa de;Nge ((ishq kaa jangal
bahut hii ;xi.zr ko ;Garrah hai rah-numaa))ii kaa

[if we meet him somewhere, then we will show him the jungle/wilderness of passion
Khizr has a very great pride in road-showing]

In {721,9}, what is the connection between the lines? Is it helpfulness ('We'll help Khizr expand his professional knowledge of this, our native terrain')? Is it disdain ('He's foolishly arrogant, we'll take him down a peg or two')? Or is it unholy glee ('He only shows 'roads', we'll flummox him by showing him a place with no roads'). In fact I like {721,9} better than the present verse.

Note for grammar fans: In Urdu, one names a child with naam rakhnaa , which literally means 'to keep a name' but is used for a one-shot action with continuing effect (the name is not only given, but remains with the child). The intransitive counterpart form of this is naam rahnaa , 'for a name to remain'. In English, however, to say that someone's name 'has remained X' implies duration up to the present; in Urdu, to say naam rahaa can imply that the name was X up until a certain time (the way 'has been X' would work in English). This is the usage that SRF is pointing out in his commentary.