yih zamaanah nahii;N aisaa kih ko))ii ziist kare
chaahte hai;N jo buraa apnaa bhalaa karte hai;N

1) this age/world is not such that anybody would/should live [in it]--

2a) those who want/desire their own ill, do well
2b) those who want ill/evil, do well for themselves



S. R. Faruqi:

He has composed this theme in the sixth divan like this [{1853,11}]:

buud-o-baash aise zamaane me;N ko))ii kyuu;N-ke kare
apnii bad-;xvaahii jo karte hai;N bhalaa karte hai;N

[how would anyone live in such an age/world?
those who do their own ill, do well]

In the present verse, there's one additional layer of meaning: (1) Those people who want their own ill, they do rightly, they do well; (2) Those people who act, they want their own ill; that is, if they do well, then it will be their own ill.



The second line makes brilliant use of apnaa by positioning it as a 'midpoint' word that can be read either with the phrase before it, or with the phrase after it.

Since the line is so irresistibly pithy and aphoristic, let me just unpack some of the possible readings:

=Those who want or seek evil for themselves are right to do so. (It will help them escape all the sooner from this wretched age/world.)

=Those who want or seek evil for themselves, in fact do well and thrive. (The age/world is so perverse and contrary that if you try to harm yourself in order to escape it, it will actually seek to thwart you by causing you to flourish.)

=Those who want or seek their own ill, they do good-- and thus achieve their own ill. (As in the cynical saying 'No good deed goes unpunished'.)

=Those who want or seek evil, do well for themselves and are rewarded. (The age/world is so corrupt that evil-doers are the ones who flourish.)

And by no coincidence, the first line is so framed that all these possibilities work well with it.

Compare Ghalib's play with the same set of oppositions: