va.sl-o-hijraa;N se nahii;N hai ((ishq me;N kuchh guft-guu
laag dil kii chaahiye hai yaa;N qariib-o-duur kyaa

1) in passion, there's no conversation about union and separation
2) attraction of the heart is needed-- here, what is 'near and far'?!



S. R. Faruqi:

Here he's very well placed the two words guft-guu and yaa;N . By yaa;N is meant 'near us', and 'in passion' or 'near passion' both. He has expressed this theme in a different mood in the fifth divan [{1783,7}]:

nahii;N itti;haad-e tan-o-jaa;N se vaaqif
hame;N yaar se jo judaa jaantaa hai

[he is not acquainted with the unity of body and life
who considers us to be separate from the beloved]

In the first divan too, Mir has expressed the theme of the present verse in almost the same words, but there's not that trimness [bar-jastagii] in the style


It's clear that in comparison to mu;habbat chaahiye , the phrase laag dil kii chaahiye is very much more trim.

Atish has expressed himself with verbosity as usual; it seems as if he's giving a lecture to students in a school:

hijr me;N va.sl kaa miltaa hai mazaa ((aashiq ko
shauq kaa martabah jab ;had se gu;zar letaa hai

[in separation, the lover obtains the pleasure of union,
when the level of ardor passes beyond the limit]



The wordplay of 'here' (in its various possible senses) with 'near and far' works beautifully. The implication that 'union' (in the sense of sexual union) and separation are related the way 'near' and 'far' are related is also remarkably elegant. A radical difference in kind has been replaced by a mere difference in degree. And this mere difference in degree is so well understood and taken for granted by true lovers that they don't even need to talk about it--not only is it not an agonizing, unresolvable problem, it's not even an interesting topic for conversation.

As so often, the 'kya effect' opens up several readings for hai yaa;N qariib-o-duur kyaa . One is a question: 'Here, what is 'near and far'?'. Another is an affirmative, marveling exclamation: 'Here, what 'near and far' there is!'. A third is an indignant, scornful exclamation: 'Here, as if there's any 'near and far'!'. By no coincidence, all these possibilities work excellently with the first line.

A couple of centuries earlier, Donne had said it already, in 'A Valediction Forbidding Mourning':

Dull sublunary lovers' love 
—Whose soul is sense—cannot admit 
Of absence, 'cause it doth remove
The thing which elemented it. 

But we by a love so much refined,
That ourselves know not what it is, 
Inter-assurèd of the mind, 
Care less, eyes, lips and hands to miss.

Our two souls therefore, which are one, 
Though I must go, endure not yet 
A breach, but an expansion, 
Like gold to aery thinness beat. 

What would Donne have made of the ghazal genre? I imagine him as reaching out eagerly to play with a set of such irresistibly bizarre and fantastically pre-poeticized building blocks. In fact Donne's drawing-compass, which appears next in this poem, is strongly reminiscent of Ghalib's combination lock: compare G{48,2}.