miir ham mil ke bahut ;xvush hu))e tum se pyaare
is ;xaraabe me;N mirii jaan tum aabaad raho

1) Mir, we were delighted to meet you, dear one
2) in this ruin/desolation, my darling, may you remain flourishing/settled!



;xaraabah : 'Ruin, devastation, desolation; a waste, waste land'. (Platts p.488)


aabaad : 'Inhabited, populated, peopled; full of buildings and inhabitants, populous; settled (as a colony or town); cultivated; stored; full; occupied; ... —flourishing, prosperous; pleasant; happy'. (Platts p.2)

S. R. Faruqi:

In this verse the ironic tension is out of the ordinary, because this theme is at once one of blessing and auspiciousness, and also one of cursing and inauspiciousness. The ambiguity of is ;xaraabe too is worth noticing. From this utterance the following meanings can emerge: (1) desert, wilderness; (2) the ruin/desolation of passion; (3) the world.

[[SRF discusses possible readings of the first line, but as based on SSA's incorrect textual wording of saare instead of pyaare as it is in the kulliyat.]]

Now let's consider the situation in the verse. In the first line there's an introduction and praise. Some people go to the ruin/desolation in order to meet Mir. Or Mir meets some people, by chance, in the ruin/desolation. (Keep in mind the meaningfulness of ;xaraabe ). The people who meet Mir are much affected by his way of life, his absorption in passion, and so on. Thus they say, 'Mir, we're delighted to have met you'.

Now the hearer hopes that in the second line there will be mention of Mir's being given some award or honor, or at least an admiring description of some quality or qualities of his. But the second line is by way of a blessing. For a moment the thought occurs that Mir is being given a blessing that he may flourish and be fruitful. But after a small pause it becomes clear that this was the kind of blessing that was worse than a curse.

They didn't say, 'Mir, we are taking you out of this ruin/desolation'. Or 'Now we will rescue you from any further ruination'. Rather, they said tum aabaad raho , which can have several interpretations:

(1) 'You should remain here for ever and ever.'

(2) 'In a ruin/desolation nobody flourishes and is fruitful, but you go ahead and do so.' (Obviously, what's the use of flourishing and being fruitful in a ruin/desolation? Rather, it will be harmful. Because other people there will be in a wretched condition, and will look askance at Mir's flourishing and fruitfulness.)

(3) 'We give this ruin/desolation to you. Ordinarily it's better to turn a ruin/desolation into a town, but since you are here and you are a very good man, let this ruin/desolation be all yours.'

(4) 'Up till now you lived in this ruin/desolation in a houseless/wretched condition; now you will be established and flourishing.'

And the best part of all this is that they've said merii jaan . That is, they've expressed an extremity of love and approval. The subtlety of the sarcasm brings to mind Hafiz and Shakespeare.

Then, please also keep in mind that Mir has in several places expressed his own preference for city-wandering over desert-wandering. Thus in this very ghazal he says [{1230,3}]:

ham ko diivaanagii shahro;N hii me;N ;xvush aatii hai
dasht me;N qais raho koh me;N farhaad raho

[to us madness is pleasing only/emphatically in cities
let Qais remain in the desert, let Farhad remain in the mountains]

For another such verse (and more discussion of similar verses) see, in the first divan:


In all these verses the vision of the city is such that because of devastation, no difference any longer remains between the desert and the city. For this theme, see:


In this regard the verse below is also interesting-- that wandering is a form of nonsensical rambling. Instead of wrapping chains around his head, the qalandar ought to wrap them around his feet. From the third divan [{1232,3}]:

mauquuf-e harzah-gardii nahii;N kuchh qalandarii
zanjiir-e sar utaar ke zanjiir-e paa karo

[it is not at all dependent on nonsensical rambling, qalandar-ship
having removed the head-chains, make them into foot-chains]

That is, to chain up the feet and remain seated is better, because men bind chains on their heads to become qalandars and wander from place to place. It should be kept in mind that qalandars bind chains on their heads as a sign of their freedom; that is, they make it obvious that they have made their heads heavy but their feet free.



SRF was working from an erroneous version of the verse in SSA, with saare instead of pyaare . If he had had the correct text at the time, he would certainly have used it effectively in his discussion of merii jaan .

The verse is a very strange utterance. The first line is, even today, a standard form of polite greeting for a stranger. (I still remember, in my elementary Hindi class, being taught to say, when introduced to someone, aap se mil kar ba;Rii ;xvushii hu))ii , and puzzling over the grammar until I finally figured it out.) This polite, formally calibrated greeting doesn't lead at all naturally to 'my dear one' [pyaare] ('Pleased to meet you, my darling'). Obviously something peculiar is going on here, and we can only wait (under mushairah performance conditions) for the second line to bring us whatever clarity is on offer.

In the second line too, there's an odd social discord. A blessing like aabaad raho ('may you remain flourishing', parallel to the very common jiite raho , 'may you remain living') is something a person senior in age and rank might well give to a junior person (who might have politely made a gesture as if to bend and touch the senior person's feet-- which the senior person would then have politely forestalled). The junior person in such exchanges is often addressed as be;Te , 'son' (which is also considered a very affectionate substitute for 'daughter').

But for this well-understood social ritual of blessing, mirii jaan seems excessive, especially between men. It's an intimate, open-ended, heavy-duty endearment. It doesn't really suit a situation of courtesy and formality; it's even more over-the-top here than pyaare .

And just to continue the indecipherability of the social coding, the blessing (?) takes the apparent form of a wish that Mir should remain 'settled, prosperous, happy' in a 'ruin, desolation' (see the definitions above)-- literally, that he should remain 'populated' in a devastated setting-- either a 'depopulated', no longer inhabited, ruin, or an 'unpopulated' desert or wasteland.

As SRF notes, we can always take the 'ruin/desolation' to refer to this world; this reading minimizes (though it doesn't entirely remove) the problems of social construction, by suggesting a Sufistic tone for the blessing. But on any other reading, the blessing comes out sounding thoroughly discordant. Just consider its wide range of tones and suggestions:

='In this ruin/devastation (where you form a wonderful contrast to your surroundings), may you flourish!'

='In this ruin/devastation (where, alas, you insist on living despite our protests), may you flourish (at least as much as possible)!'

='May you remain flourishing in this very ruin/devastation (and may you never go elsewhere)!'

='Stay settled/flourishing in this ruin/devastation, since it suits you so well in so many ways!' (an imperative)

Needless to say, these possibilities, and their various possible relationships with 'dear one' and 'my darling', remain jagged and awkward; the whole social situation cannot really be smoothed out. Which is why SRF is so right to emphasize the verse's extraordinary potential for sarcastic readings and effects.