dil band hai hamaaraa mauj-e havaa-e gul se
ab ke junuu;N me;N ham ne zanjiir kyaa nikaalii

1) our heart is bound by a wave/abundance of desire/breeze of the rose
2) this time, in madness-- what a chain/shackle we chose/briought/removed!



mauj : 'A wave, surge, billow... —emotion, ecstasy; —heaps, abundance, plenty'. (Platts p.1086)


havaa : 'Air, wind, gentle gale; ... —affection, favour, love, mind, desire, passionate fondness; lust, carnal desire, concupiscence; —an empty or worthless thing'. (Platts p.1239)


nikaalnaa : 'To pull or draw out; ... —to pick out, select; —to unpick, undo; ... to take off'. (Platts p.1147)

S. R. Faruqi:

The theme of the heart's being fallen into prison, and bound, Ali Taqi Kamrah has well composed [in Persian]:

'If hand and foot are bound, then they can be cut off [to escape]--
Alas for the life of that prisoner whose heart is bound!'

To this Mir has added the idea that the desire for spring has, instead of creating a longing for madness, acted as a shackle for the heart. The insha'iyah style of the second line is very fine. In the first line, havaa-e gul ean mean 'the breeze of a flower', and also 'the desire for a flower'. The former meaning suggests 'an abundance of flowers, as if the breeze has become full of flowers'.

It should be clear that one meaning of mauj is 'abundance'. Thus people say mauj-e gul , mauj-e sabzah , etc. And when the word mauj is used, then havaa too comes to be said. The shape of a wave is like that of a chain/shackle; thus to call the havaa-e gul kii mauj a 'chain/shackle' has a fine affinity.

Now let's consider why the havaa-e gul kii mauj did the work of a chain/shackle for the heart. Here there are several possibilities. (1) The speaker's heart has become so disaffected because of madness and the behavior of madness that he responds to the ebullience of spring not with enthusiasm but with dejection. (On these possibilities see


(2) The mauj-e havaa-e gul itself doesn't have the madness-inspiring power that would be able to create a style of wildness. (3) The meaning of dil band honaa can also be taken as a 'confinement of the personality', a 'contraction of the temperament', as here in Ghalib [a quatrain]:

dukh jii ke pasand ho gayaa hai ;Gaalib
dil ruk ruk kar band ho gayaa hai ;Gaalib
vaall;ah kih shab ko nii;Nd aatii hii nahii;N
sonaa saugand ho gayaa hai ;Gaalib

[inner sorrow has become pleasing, Ghalib
the heart, pausing and pausing, has shut down, Ghalib
by God, at night sleep doesn't at all come
I've taken an oath against sleeping, Ghalib]

Thus the meaning emerges that having seen the wave of spring, we remembered the beloved (or the days of youth, or the time of the beginning of madness, etc.)-- because of which we became depressed, as if the zanjiir-e mauj-e gul had acted as a chain/shackle on our heart.

It's also possible for zanjiir nikaalnaa to mean 'to remove a chain/shackle', because one meaning of nikaalnaa is 'to separate', and it's used for clothing, jewelry, and so on, especially with reference to the body or the limbs. For example, gardan se zanjiir nikaal dii , or gho;Re kii lagaam nikaal lo , and so on. (In Barkati's dictionary nikaalnaa does not appear; havaa-e gul appears, but instead of a meaning there's a question mark-- that is, he wasn't able to clarify the meaning of this construction.)

Now the meaning becomes that in the ebullience of the spring season we pulled off the iron chain/shackle, but what did that achieve? The chain/shackle of that havaa confined our heart. As though the chain/shackle that we had removed from our feet, took control of our heart. That is, when the rose-season came then in that ebullience, and in the hope that now we would fully show the style of our madness, we removed our chains/shackles and cast them aside. But now what do we see-- our heart itself is burnt out. It's not at all what we had hoped for. That is, we were prepared for madness, but what came to hand was melancholy.

It's also possible for kyaa nikaalii to mean, 'This time, in madness, did we contrive (instead of equipment for wildness and wandering) a chain/shackle, such that our heart now falters so?' Because of the insha'iyah style, all these meanings have been created. The last-mentioned meaning yields additional pleasure, since there's 'ironic tension' in it.

For a madman to be accompanied by a chain/shackle is also suitable in the sense that in the ebullience of madness, madmen often manage to drag their chains along and burst out. Or it happens that people put chains on a madman as a sign of his condition. Thus in many volumes of the 'Dastan-e Amir Hamzah', the madman and his chains have been shown as inseparable. For example, in the :tilism-e haft paikar by Ahmad Husain Qamar (vol. 2, pp. 544-45):

yakaayak rustam ne dekhaa kih .sa;hraa se zanjiiro;N kii aavaaz aa))ii _ rustam ne sar u;Thaa ke dekhaa ek diivaanah zanjiire;N hilaataa hu))aa aataa hai .... diivaane ne ek chii;x maarii , chaar se [chahaar .sad] diivaane zanjiire;N hilaate hu))e aa kar jam((a hu))e _

[Suddenly Rustam saw that from the desert came the sound of chains. Rustam lifted his head and saw that a madman, clanking his chains, was coming .... The madman gave a single scream-- four hundred madman came and gathered, clanking their chains.]

Then, nikaalnaa can also mean 'to bring out for use, for wearing; to bring out from a box or almirah', and so on. For example we say sardii aa ga))ii hai , ab garm kap;Re nikaalo , and so on. Now the meaning emerges that at the coming of the rose-season we always bring out (for use in our madness) our chains; but this time the mauj-e havaa (that is, the zanjiir-e havaa ) has, instead of opening our heart and causing it to bloom, closed it (that is, made us sorrowful)-- as if in this spring we had brought out this strange kind of chains, such that instead of wildness and tumult our heart is bound/closed. That is, for us spring has brought, instead of madness and distractedness, melancholy.

In the light of this meaning there's an iham in dil band hai . Or again, we can call it a 'reversed metaphor', in which an idiomatic expression has been used in its dictionary meaning. It's a fine verse. For more discussion, see {1162,2}, {1202,5}, and {451,1}.



Let's just go through and consider the various possibilities: see the definitions above. First, there are two separate meanings for the elegantly multivalent havaa -- since it can mean both 'breeze' (bearing the irresistible perfume of the rose) and 'desire. love' (felt by the speaker for the rose). Another fine example of the complexities of havaa : {1162,2}.

Second, there are three possibilities for nikaalnaa -- 'to choose or select' (so that the speaker makes his own choice of chains); 'to pull out' (so that the speaker brings out his chains from off-season storage); and 'to remove' (so that the speaker removes his chains).

Then, look at the remarkable exploitation of the 'kya effect':

='What a chain we chose/brought/removed!' (it was a remarkable one!).

='As if we chose/brought/removed a chains!' (of course we didn't!).

='Did we choose/bring/remove a chain?' (we are not sure about this).

='What kind of chain did we choose/bring/remove?' (perhaps a very unusual kind?)

If we have two possibilities in the first line, and twelve in the second line, the total seems to be something like two dozen altogether. Of course, some of them are more piquant than others, but the verse is in any case what I call a 'generator', one that spins out a whole penumbra of possible meanings that can't be prevented from hovering around whichever one(s) we might choose to emphasize during any particular reading.

Note for translation fans: What about that zanjiir -- is it a 'chain', or a 'shackle'? In English, 'shackles' are rigid metal cuffs that are locked (or even welded) into place around legs or arms; 'chains' would of course be flexible, and would probably be attached to the shackles. Platts ('chains, fetters') and other dictionaries aren't much help. For translation purposes, it's best to look at how the imagery works in the particular verse. When in doubt, I always go with 'chains' for maximum versatility, since 'chains' can be 'rattled', and can be used independently as well as with shackles. But sometimes the imagery invokes, say, the beloved's curly tresses as a form of bondage. In that case, 'shackles' would nicely echo the shape of the curls.