((ar.sah kitnaa saare jahaa;N kaa va;hshat par jo aa jaave;N
paa))o;N to ham phailaave;Nge par fur.sat ham ko paane do

1) how much is the interval/space of the whole world, if/that we would {turn to / 'come into'} wildness/madness?!
2) we will indeed {relax / 'spread out our legs'}-- but let us find the leisure/occasion/ease!



((arsah : 'Court, open area (of a house, —the 'play-ground' of children), an area; a plain; a chess-board; a space (of place or time), period, time, duration, term; an interval, a while'. (Platts p.760)


paa))o;N phailaanaa : 'To be full length, or at ease, or in peace and security; to be free from care, be perfectly contented and happy'. (Platts p.221)


fur.sat : 'A time, opportunity, occasion; freedom (from), leisure; convenience; relief, recovery; respite, reprieve; rest, ease'. (Platts p.779)

S. R. Faruqi:

In this verse there's an enjoyable ambiguity as to what sort of preoccupations these are, that prevent wildness/madness from having occasion to come (or be brought) into practice. To call the whole world a single 'field', and in this regard to speak of spreading out the legs/feet, is very interesting.

Zauq has borrowed directly from Mir, and has said,

merii va;hshat paa))o;N phailaa))e to phir dono;N jahaa;N
ho;N agar ik ((ar.sah-e maidaa;N to kuchh vus((at nahii;N

[if my wildness/madness would spread out its legs, then if both worlds
would be a single extent of field, then there would be no scope]

In Mir's verse the insha'iyah style has created such force of speech that compared to it, Zauq's verse seems pallid. Then, Mir's tone is so full of intensity that in truth it seems the speech of a madman. In the second line, in paa))o;N to ham phailaave;Nge the word to is in Mir's special style-- it's a small word, but the whole phrase, or rather the whole line, seems to depend on it. In a madman's eyes there's a gleam of wildness-- especially those madmen who would be apparently sane.

The central character of Alfred Hitchcock's film 'Psycho', who is a homicidal maniac, finally begins to identify himself with his dead mother. A fly has alighted on her body, but she doesn't shoo it away. In a very gentle, sweet tone he says, 'Look how virtuous, how soft-hearted she is-- she won't even harm a fly!'. But in his eyes there's a special gleam of madness, and the smile on his face has a strange kind of bloodthirstiness, so that the viewers feel a cold chill.

Mir's second line is of somewhat this kind. It's clear that the speaker, with a madman's frightening smile and a gleam of wildness in his eyes, is saying very sweetly, 'Indeed, if we get a little leisure, then we would spread out our legs'. In wildness/madness, to construe the joining of earth and sky together as spreading out one's legs-- the perfection of pleasure and dexterity of expression in this is such that by comparison, in Zauq's verse the way wildness/madness itself spreads out its legs seems a very weak and superficial expression.

Now the question remains, why does the speaker speak of himself as lacking leisure? One possibility is that because of madness he suspects that he is the only who is arranging the work and operation of the world-- just now, how would he have the leisure to let his madness run free?

Another possibility is that fur.sat has the meaning of 'occasion'-- that is, the speaker is in a cell, with his feet chained up, he's looking for an occasion when, however it can be managed, he would come out of the cell and heat up the market of wildness.

A third possibility is that passion and its requirements have beset the speaker-- if he would get leisure from all that, then his wildness would show its colors.

A fourth possibility is that he is waiting for the Lord's power-- when the Lord's power would show its wonders, then he would have the occasion to put his wildness on display. This latter possibility receives support from these two verses in the second divan. One verse [{958,11}]:

yuu;N to ham ((aajiz-tariin-e ;xalq-e ((aalam hai;N vale
dekhiyo qudrat ;xudaa kii gar hame;N qudrat hu))ii

[generally, we are the weakest of the world's creatures, but
look at the power of the Lord, if we would obtain power!]

The other verse [{974,5}]:

na:zar mat be-parii par kar kih aa;N suu-e jahaa;N phir huu;N
hu))e parvaaz ke qaabil yih ;Tuu;Te par jahaa;N mere

[don't look at my wing-lessness, for I am turning toward that world
where they have become fit for flight, these broken wings of mine]

[See also {401,3}.]



The first line is given an excellent twist by that colloquially flexible little jo . We might read it as 'so that'-- how expansive is the whole world, so that we would give free rein to our madness? (We would not do so, because we know the world doesn't offer sufficient space.) Or we might read it as 'if'-- how expansive is the whole world, if we would give free rein to our madness! (If we ever do do that, you'll see how narrow the world looks compared to the needs and capacities of our madness!)

In either case, it resonates excellently with the potent little to in the second line, which SRF rightly sees to be a sort of pivot on which the line turns. I've thrown in 'indeed', but of course that's not the same-- but then, nothing is the same, and at least it holds up a signal flag. The tone that to gives to the first clause is a kind of put-upon self-congratulation ('we are not at fault'). One reading: 'Well, it's not our fault if we're so awkward and uncomfortable! We would be delighted to relax at our ease, if only we could get a real opportunity, but we know that the inadequate world is not going to accommodate us.' Another reading: 'Well, it's nice of you to invite us to relax, and we'd love to do so. Just let us find a bit of leisure, a chance to rest, and then we will be delighted to take it easy.'

For an additional twist, it would be possible to read ((ar.sah not as a chunk of space, but as a period of time (see the definition above). In that case, the first line tells us that the duration of the whole world is insufficient for the expression of our madness-- we'd be glad to express it, but how would we have that much time, that much 'leisure', in the brief period that the world will last? And of course, the other meanings of fur.sat (see the definition above) can also be brought in-- in such a brief period how would we have the 'occasion', how would we have the 'rest, ease'? After all, to spread out one's legs most comfortably requires time as well as space, and the ghazal world is full of laments about the lightning-flash duration of life.

SRF is sure that this verse has a tone of barely-restrained madness that should make one's blood run cold, as in 'Psycho'. I just can't feel that kind of sinister creepiness in it. To my mind, the verse is about what I call 'grandiosity', and the speaker, while glorying in his grandiose pronouncements, explicitly denies that he is in the grip of madness (since he hasn't yet found the scope that he needs for his 'wildness'). Of course, he could still be mad; but then, probably the majority of the lovers in all classical ghazal verses could be mad. On these problems of reading 'tone', see {724,2}.

In fact this verse reminds me of another monumental piece of 'grandiosity', which is also about the world's inability to offer sufficient scope for human 'wildness':