;xaanah-aabaadii hame;N bhii dil kii yuu;N hai aarzuu
jaise jalve se tire ghar aarsii kaa bhar gayaa

1) house-flourishingness is even/also to us a heart's longing, in such a way
2) the way from your glory/appearance the home/frame of the thumb-ring-mirror became filled up



;xaanah : 'House, dwelling, place; receptacle, socket, drawer, partition, compartment'. (Platts p.486)


aabaadii : 'Inhabited spot or place; colony; population, number of inhabitants; cultivated place; cultivation; the part of a village lands brought under cultivation; ... prosperity; state of comfort; happiness, joy, pleasure'. (Platts p.2)


aarsii : 'Mirror, looking-glass; a small mirror worn, in place of a stone, in a thumb-ring by Indian women, also the ring with the mirror'. (Platts p.40)

S. R. Faruqi:

The theme of a house becoming filled with glory/appearance, Atish has taken from Mir, and the truth is that he has done his duty by taking full advantage of it:

mire aage us ko furo;G ho yih majaal kyaa hai raqiib kii
vuh hujuum-e jalvah-e yaar hai kih chiraa;G-e ;xaanah ko jaa nahii;N

[that she would be in splendor before me-- how would the Rival be able to endure this!
there's such a rush of the glory/appearance of the beloved that there's no place for the lamp of the house]

But Mir has made this theme the foundation, and has created a number of layers in the verse. The meaning of aarsii is 'mirror', and also that small mirror that is used in jewelry, and also the jewelry in which the mirror is set. The moment he calls the heart a 'mirror', among all the meanings of aarsii the idea of ;xaanah is included. A mirror is set in a frame [;xaanah]; the jewelry in which the mirror is set is in the form of a ring or 'frame' [;xaanah]. The heart is also called a home.

Thus between the 'house-flourishingness' of the heart, and the thumb-ring-mirror, there are several kinds of affinity. Then, the mirror of the thumb-ring (jewelry) is very small-- that is, narrow. The heart's being 'narrow', and the heart's 'narrowness', are obvious. A home is called ;xaanah , and also the place where something is kept is called its 'home'. Thus between ghar and ;xaanah-aabaadii an additional affinity is evident.

Then, the way a mirror is usually small, but in it the beloved's whole face can be seen-- in the same way within a small heart the beloved's whole face can be seen, and in the same way it's also possible for the whole beloved to be contained within a small heart.

There's also this: that the beloved doesn't keep constantly looking into the thumb-ring-mirror. Sometimes she looks, and sometimes she doesn't. That is, in the thumb-ring-mirror the beloved's glory/appearance comes and goes. The poet accepts even the beloved's coming and going within the heart for such a brief period. For the heart's 'house-flourishingness', that's ample.

The final point is that the beloved is fond of the mirror; if she would feel just that much fondness for the lover's heart too, that would be ample. The poet who in one small verse says so much-- about him Firaq Sahib and other critics talk in terms of 'innocence' and 'simplicity'.



Every grain of sand, every drop of dew, is often said in the ghazal world to reflect, and thus share in, the radiance of the sun. So if a tiny thumb-ring-mirror too can reflect, and thus somehow share in, the beloved's glory/appearance, it's not surprising. But how alluringly horizontal the images become! The sun/beloved makes the sand-grains glitter; it annihilates the drop of dew; it fills the (small) mirror the way a houseful of people fill a house with energy and life. (In traditional South Asia, full houses are not undesirably crowded; they are desirably, auspiciously, full of hustle and bustle and raunaq .) Whenever you find similarities between image-sets, they lead you readily into differences-- and, eventually, back to more similarities (for a mirror can shine too, and can melt with passion as well). The journeys you can make are not infinite, but in Mir's (and Ghalib's) verses they're certainly indefinitely long.

The relative-correlative clauses in this verse are also carefully framed to create a maximum amount of leeway for tone. Because the lover doesn't want 'house-flourishingness' in the normal sense: he's careful to say that what he wants is to have it the way a small mirror has a 'houseful' of the beloved's glory. Is that a minimal aspiration (since a little mirror really can't 'have' the glory in any physically significant way)? Is it a maximal aspiration (since he's not sure he can achieve his 'longing' for this)? Is it a symbolic rejection of the world (since the only kind of 'house-flourishingness' he even aspires to is of a kind that no ordinary person would recognize as such)?

Here's Ghalib's nearest approach to an aarsii verse:


But because of the steady flow of imagery from verse to verse, and into and out of one's imagination, here's the Ghalib verse that the present one really reminds me of:


See how piquant? We have the jalvah , and a small round object that seeks to contain and reflect it. We could find other similarities, and of course a number of differences. Which really just means that we could wander forever through the ghazal universe. This website is my blog, dear reader, and I'm more than content to spend large chunks of my life in such a journey.