kyaa ((ishq-e ;xaanah-soz ke dil me;N chhupii hai aag
ik saare tan-badan me;N mire phuk rahii hai aag

1a) what a fire is hidden in the heart of house-burning passion!
1b) as if the fire in the heart of house-burning passion is hidden!
1c) is there fire hidden in the heart of house-burning passion?

2) in my whole body, a single/particular/unique/excellent fire is being blown into flame



phuknaa : 'To be blown, be inflated; to be blown up (a fire), be blown into a flame; to be set fire to, be burnt; to burn, be consumed'. (Platts p.287)

S. R. Faruqi:

Jur'at too has composed this theme well:

kyaa jaane;N ((ishq kii yih ;haraarat hai kyaa par aah
ik aag phu;Nk rahii hai hamaare badan ke biich

[who can tell what is this heat of passion-- but, ah!
a single/particular/unique/excellent fire is being blown into flame within our body]

Mir and Jur'at both have first lines with an insha'iyah structure, but with regard to 'meaning-creation' Mir wins out, because his first line has three meanings:

1) What kind of a fire is hidden within the heart of house-burning passion! (that is, it's said in a style of surprise and astonishment)

2) Is it really true that a fire is hidden within the heart of house-burning passion? (that is, the style is only interrogative)

3) People say that a fire is hidden in the heart of house-burning passion. I don't know whether that's true or not, but apparently it's not true, because if fire were hidden in the heart of house-burning passion, then how would it be blown into flame within my body? (that is, the first line becomes a negative rhetorical question)

In Mir's verse the pleasure of 'implication' is also fine-- that he hasn't said directly, 'I am aflame with the fire of passion'. He has said only, 'In my body fire is being blown into flame; fire may or may not be hidden in the heart of house-burning passion as well, but I know my own situation: I am burning from head to foot'.

To call passion 'house-burning' too provides a pleasure: it's the very nature of passion to burn up the house. Perhaps it burns its very own house, because Mir's saying only 'house-burning' has created an ambiguity. Which house is it that passion burns? This question has not been answered.

On the theme of 'self-burning', Urfi has composed [in Persian] a devastating verse:

'On the tablet of the tomb of the Moth, I saw written,
"The fire that burned me, burned itself as well".'

Mir couldn't lay a hand on Urfi's theme, because the melancholy and dignity and universality that are in Urfi's verse are something far beyond Mir's theme. But Mir certainly included this much of a suggestion: that if passion is house-burning then it is also self-burning.

In Jur'at's verse the 'mood' is fine, but the 'meaning-creation' is less than Mir's. When Sheftah composed this very same theme, then only 'mood' and more mood remained, but in both lines the 'flowingness' is such, and in the first line the insha'iyah structure is so superb, that the verse rightfully became famous:

shaayad isii kaa naam mu;habbat hai sheftah
ik aag sii hai siine ke andar lagii hu))ii

[perhaps love is the name of this, Sheftah
something like a singular fire has taken hold within the breast]

[See also {1050,5}.]



Here SRF's three readings of the first line correspond to those of what I call the 'kya effect', and he has associated them clearly with 'meaning-creation'. I am always delighted to see my simple little no-name devices reconstructed afresh in their full glory. One more device, which might be called the 'ek effect', SRF doesn't mention, though it's conspicuously present in all three of the Urdu verses he discusses here.

It seems that something in the first line is being called into question. But what exactly? Here are some possibilities, as we rearrange the line with different stresses:

=Is there a fire in the heart of passion at all?
=Is the fire that is in the heart of passion, hidden in any way?
=Is the fire that is in passion, hidden in its heart?

By no coincidence, the second line works elegantly, through different possible emphases, with all three of these possibilities.

As SRF also mentions, if passion is 'house-burning' then the house could be the usual metaphorical one (that is, passion lays waste to all the 'normal' parts of the lover's life), but it could also mean that passion burns its own house-- first the heart, then the whole body that harbors it. I've read about something like this as applied to diseases: the disease that quickly kills its host will doom itself as well, and will soon die out. Over time, diseases thus evolve into more sustainable, chronic, non-fatal forms. Perhaps the same has happened, over time, to passion?