aaj hamaare ghar aayaa hai tuu kyaa hai yaa;N jo ni;saar kare;N
illaa khe;Nch ba;Gal me;N tujh ko der talak ham pyaar kare;N

1) today you have come to our house-- what is here that we would offer/sacrifice?
2) other than that clasping you to our side, for a long time, we would make love to you



ni;saar : 'Scattering, throwing, strewing, dispersing, dispersion; —offering, presenting; donative; sacrifice'. (Platts p.1124)


illaa : 'If not, otherwise, besides, except, moreover'. (Platts p.73)

S. R. Faruqi:

Some people have declared this verse to be based on sadness-- although it's clear that this is a verse of trickery/wit; and even though there's the suggestion of poverty and a lack of worldly wealth, there's no bitterness or melancholy, but rather a kind of pride and composure.

Listen to two verses by Taban:

aaj aayaa hai yaar ghar mere
yih ;xvushii kis se mai;N kahuu;N taabaa;N

[today the beloved has come to my house
to whom would/could I tell this happiness, radiant/'Taban'?]

ba((d muddat ke maah-ruu aayaa
kyuu;N nah us ke gale laguu;N taabaa;N

[after a long time, the moon-faced one has come
why wouldn't I embrace her, radiant/'Taban'?]

Here the refrain gives much pleasure. But here too, there's no melancholy or defeatedness. If you want to see the distinctness of all three verses, then remember Ghalib too:


In Ghalib's verse the implication of poverty and asceticism is very subtle. And it's even more subtle that even for the sake of someone like the beloved, when he thinks of great formality and solicitude, then it's only to this extent: that if there had been a mat, then he would have spread it.

At Hazrat Baba Farid Sahib's house, they used to boil raw figs and eat them. When some special guest (for example, Baba Nizamuddin) deigned to visit, then he used to say, 'Today a guest has come from Delhi-- today, put salt in the figs when you boil them'. It's clear that Ghalib has benefitted both from Baba Farid and from Mir, and has composed a peerless verse.

But we should also keep in mind how much difference there is in the temperaments of the three poets. In Ghalib's verse there's subtlety of thought and imagination, and an avoidance of bodily themes. Taban speaks only of embracing. And Mir in all his earthliness, in his style full of darvesh-like asceticism and desire, speaks of clasping the beloved to his side and making love to her for a long time.

With regard to meaning too, in Mir's verse there are a number of pleasures/refinements:

(1) If we read tuu , then emphasis is on the word aaj , that 'today you've come to our house'. That is, otherwise, ordinary people keep coming and going, but you're in quite a different class.

(2) If we read to , then emphasis is on the word ghar , that 'today when you've come to our house, then it is the occasion for me to offer/present [na;zar] something, to show hospitality, etc.'

(3) In both cases the implication is still that at one time there would have been a great deal in the house, but now nothing has remained.

(4) In this there's the implication that passion has wrecked the house. We caused everything to be looted, or because of our disturbance of temperament we took no care of the house; and the whole house, all the goods and property, were wasted and carried away.

(5) We are not speaking of offering our life, because if we sacrificed/offered our life then the chance to clasp the beloved to our side and make love to her would not remain.

(6) Nor would the occasion remain for the beloved to come to our house again.

(7) There's also the point that to wholeheartedly make love to the beloved is better than to offer up one's life for/over her.

(8) In the second line, 'for a long time' can apply either to 'clasping you to our side' or 'we would make love to you'. That is, for a long time we would clasp you to our side, or for a long time we would make love (or we would do both!).

(9) The informality, and the erotic suggestion, of 'clasping you to our side' are peerless.

(10) If we place the emphasis on hamaare , then a meaning also emerges that you keep constantly going to others' houses, today you've come to our house.

One aspect of this theme, he has versified in a very light style in the first divan [{305,6}]:

tinkaa nahii;N rahaa hai kyaa ab ni;saar karye
aage hii ham to ghar ko jaaruub kar chuke hai;N

[not a straw has remained-- now what would one offer/sacrifice?
previously, we had already swept out our house]

Mir has used ba;Gal me;N khe;Nchnaa in one place like this, in the first divan [{83,6}]:

thaa shab kase kasaa))e te;G-e kashiidah kaf me;N
par mai;N ne bhii ba;Gal me;N be-i;xtiyaar khe;Nchaa

[last night the drawn sword was held tightly in the hand
but I too, without control, drew it into my side]

It's surprising that this idiom is in neither the nuur ul-lu;Gaat nor the urduu lu;Gat of the Taraqqi Urdu Board, Karachi. In fact it's not even in Farid Ahmad Barkati's farhang-e miir . Indeed, ba;Gal me;N maarnaa is there, but that's in a different sense. Zauq:

us ne jab haath bahut zor badal me;N maaraa
apnaa dil ham ne u;Thaa apnii ba;Gal me;N maaraa

[when she had beaten it severely in revenge
we took up our heart and hid it by our side]

[See also {1480,1}.]



As SRF notes, the first line invites a kind of what I call 'stress-shifting': not only can (and must) we choose to read either tuu or to , but we also can (and must) choose where the semantic emphasis falls. 'Today you have come to our house-- just when I have nothing to offer by way of conventional hospitality.' Or, 'Today you have come to our house-- as opposed to all the other, minor people who may appear from time to time'. Or, 'Today you actually have come to our house-- all the odds were so much against it, but you actually have come!' Or, 'Today you have come to our house-- whereas usually you visit others instead'. Or, 'Today you have come to our house-- such an amazingly intimate honor, with so many more possibilities than just meeting in a gathering!'

By no coincidence, all these possibilities work excellently with the rest of the verse.

Note for meter fans: In the first line, we unexpectedly have to break up ghar and read ha-MAA-re-gha-RAA-YAA to make the scansion work.