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0203,
5
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{203,5}

;xaak bhii sar pah ;Daalne ko nahii;N
kis ;xaraabe me;N ham hu))e aabaad

1) there's not even dust, to put on the head
2) in what [kind of a] ruin did we become settled/flourishing?!

 

Notes:

;xaraabah : 'Ruin, devastation, desolation; a waste, waste land'. (Platts p.488)

 

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

S. R. Faruqi:

Ghalib's verse comes to mind:

G{229,4}.

Ghalib's verse is brimful of a wealth of meaning and metaphor, but if Ghalib has taken from Mir a ruin, and in it the inclusion of a handful of dust, that wouldn't be at all strange. In Mir's verse the 'hyperbole' [mubaala;Gah] is very attractive: that the ruin is desolate to such an extent that in it there's not even a handful of dust.

To 'settle/flourish' in a ruin also has an aspect of sarcasm. A ruin in which there would be not even a handful of dust-- to settle/flourish in it is after all the limit case of destruction. To call going and living in such a place 'settling/flourishing' is a subtle/exquisite [la:tiif] idea.

That is, even if passion caused me to 'settle/flourish'-- then where? Or, when wildness and self-destructiveness somehow gave us the chance to catch our breath, then although the place was the extremity of desolation, to us it seemed that here we had become 'settled/flourishing'.

The theme of putting dust on the head, two very minor Persian poets have expressed with such excellence that apparently no improvement was possible. Rukn ul-Din Masih:

'Enough dust that I could put dust on my head because of you--
What can I do, alas-- there's not enough in the garment-hem of this desert.'

Auji Nazri:

'The hand of my hope is too short to reach to the garment-hem of the earth,
I put on my head dust from the 'disturbance of my temperament' [;Gubaar-e ;xaa:tir].'

Both these verses are present in ;xarii:tah-e javaahir , the 'notebook' [bayaa.z] of Mirza Maz'har Jan-e Janan; it's probable that Mir would have been acquainted with them. In Rukn ul-Din Masih's verse there's simplicity, and in Auji Nazri's verse there's 'delicacy of thought'.

Mir, avoiding both of these, has shown that stage of madness where a person considers putting dust on his head to be a necessary, everyday action. As if someone would say, 'For heaven's sake-- in what kind of a place have I made my home, where you can't even get potato curry?'. It's as if putting dust on the head is a normal pursuit of life-- and he's conveyed this idea too, by means of implication. He hasn't said explicitly that for him, putting dust on his head is a necessary everyday task. Rather, it's been said as if this fact is plain and evident to everyone, with no need for explanation or explication.

FWP:

SETS == KYA
MOTIFS
NAMES
TERMS == 'DELICACY OF THOUGHT'; HYPERBOLE; THEME

The insha'iyah possibilities of the second line work excellently. The tones in which the question can be read are like those of the 'kya effect':

=dismay: 'what is this awful ruin!' (The lack even of dust is evidence of its ghastliness; whatever made me think I could be 'settled/flourishing' here?!)
=pride: 'what a total ruin this is!' (I've found the most desolate ruin imaginable, and it suits my passionate madness so well that I'm 'settled/flourishing' here!)
=uncertainty: 'what kind of a ruin is this?' (Surely there aren't very many ruins that actually lack dust? Is it really possible that I'm 'settled/flourishing' here?)

Thus, as SRF notes, the positive, affirmative sense of aabaad honaa can work ironically-- or for real. Its enjoyable wordplay with ;xaraabah turns out to be, as so often in the ghazal world, meaning-play as well.