bai;The agarchih naqsh tiraa to bhii dil u;Thaa
kartaa hai jaa-e baash ko))ii rah-gu;zar kahii;N

1) although your stamp/form might impress/'seat' itself [in power], even then cause your heart to stand/rise [to depart]
2) does anyone ever somehow make a dwelling-place on the highway?!



naqsh : 'An impression; a stamp; a mark'. (Platts p.1145)


naqsh bi;Thaanaa : 'To make a strong impression (on); to establish (one's) rule or authority (in or over)'. (Platts p.1145)


kahii;N : 'Somewhere; anywhere; wherever, whithersoever; —ever, anyhow, by any chance; ever-so-much, far, greatly; —may be, perhaps, peradventure'. (Platts p.808)

S. R. Faruqi:

naqsh bai;Thnaa = for ascendancy to be established

In this second verse [of the three-verse verse-set that begins with {309,15}], the opposition between 'for the impression to seat itself' [naqsh bai;Thnaa] and 'to cause the heart to rise/stand up' [dil u;Thaanaa] is extremely fine indeed. And in truth, the heart and soul of all three verses is in this very line.

In the second line, by implication he has called the world a highway; that is, he has not made clear that the world is only a single highway, but rather has said, as though this idea would be proven and obvious to everybody, that the world is not only not a place to live, but rather it's like some highway, where there's always a crowd of people coming and going, where no one halts; and that it's not even a suitable place for halting or living, because on it there's a general crowd, there's no privacy or solitude.

The insha'iyah style of both lines too is fine: in the first line is an imperative, and in the second line is a negative rhetorical question.



This is the second verse of a three-verse verse-set; for a fuller discussion, see {309,15}.

When a lovely bit of wordplay like the impression 'seating' itself and the heart being made to 'stand up' can be felt to energize not one but three verses, isn't it astonishing that people think of Mir as a naive, hapless, emotional innocent who never stooped to use any kind of verbal devices? The more I work with ghazals, the more I realize that almost nothing but explosive little verbal devices can really make a verse pop. In this verse, the translation has to be roundabout, so in English the 'pop' isn't audible; but in Urdu it's a treat.

Of course, other verses have different kinds of charms: there's 'meaning-creation' with its swirls of multivalent grammar, and 'mood' with its ineffable feeling-tone, and so on into the more subtle ones. But the 'pop' of wordplay still seems especially fundamental.

Note for translation fans: Does 'highway' sound too modern and high-tech? Normally 'roadway' would no doubt be a better choice. The advantage of 'highway' in this case is that it foregrounds the kind of rush and impersonality that is exactly what the verse means to evoke. Still, it's a judgment call.