yaa;N shahr shahr bastii uuja;R hii hote paa))ii
iqliim-e ((aashiqii me;N bastaa nagar nah dekhaa

1) here I found, city after city, settlements only/emphatically becoming ruined
2) in the clime/region of lover-ship, I did not see a city becoming settled



bastii : 'Inhabited place, settlement, colony; village, small town; abode, home; population, inhabitants'. (Platts p.155)


uuja;R : 'Laid waste, depopulated, demolished, ruined, in ruin, waste, desolate'. (Platts p.103)


iqliim : 'Clime, climate; region, country; zone, belt of country'. (Platts p.63)

S. R. Faruqi:

The phrase bastaa nagar nah dekhaa is a poetic marvel, because compared to nagar bastaa , to say bastaa nagar is more meaningful.

1) We did not see any city being settled; that is, every city that had been founded was ruined.

2) Those cities that were present were all in the process of being ruined.

3) In the clime of lover-ship, no one had ever settled a city at all.

4) There was no possibility of settling a city, because when cities and towns would be ruined, then where will there be any possibility of settling new cities?

To say shahr shaht bastii is also fine, because it too has two meanings: (1) the settlement of every city; and (2) in every city every neighborhood, every settlement. Then, the whole city is also a metaphor for passion and the lover, because by the 'clime of lover-ship' is meant 'the state of the lover, the ascendance of passion'.

And by 'city' can be meant 'a lover', or even 'a man'. How well Yevgeny Yevtushenko has said, 'Not only people die-- with them die worlds'. In this way cities that are being destroyed, or cities unable to bear flowers and fruit, become metaphors for the lover. Whoever experienced passion, did not flourish.

In the first line, the 'mood' too is devastating. The word 'found' creates an effect as though some traveler has seen the whole clime and come back, and is now describing its condition.

[See also {354,3}.]



The echo between bastii and bastaa is also a delight-- they look parallel, but though they both come from basnaa , one is a noun and the other an adjectival present participle ( bastaa hu))aa , 'in the act of becoming settled').

SRF's vision of the returned traveler is perhaps slightly undercut by 'here', which suggests that the speaker and hearers are in the clime itself. For after all, if Mir had wanted to create the 'returned traveler' effect, nothing could have been easier than for him to say vaa;N instead. But of course 'here' could be taken simply as a vivid descriptive device that creates extra immediacy ('here' meaning 'in the place I'm evoking now').

It's true that the speaker sounds like a traveler, a reporter. But might he not also be a veteran lover, giving an introductory tour-- and perhaps a somber warning-- to a newcomer?