thaa mu;habbat se kabhuu ham me;N kabhuu yih ;Gam me;N thaa
dil kaa hangaamah qiyaamat ;xaak ke ((aalam me;N thaa

1) because of love, it/this was sometimes in us/anxiety, sometimes in grief--
2) the turmoil of the heart was a Doomsday in the world of dust



ham : 'Turning (a thing) anxiously in the mind; meditating, purposing; —anxious thought, anxiety, solicitude, grief, care; —purpose, design'. (Platts p.1234)


hangaamah : 'A convention, an assembly, a meeting; a crowd; —noise, tumult, commotion, confusion, uproar; sedition, disturbance, disorder; an affray; assault'. (Platts p.1238)

S. R. Faruqi:

;xaak kaa ((aalam = the world

The theme is a fine one, that the heart was sometimes inside us, sometimes in grief. One meaning of ham is also 'grief'; this is an additional point. There are also two meanings of thaa mu;habbat se . (1) It was because of love; and (2) with love-- that is, the heart loved us, it was because of this.

In mentioning 'was' and 'the world of dust', there's the implication that now the heart no longer remains at all, now it's in some other world, it's been finished off. The affinity between hangaamah and qiyaamat is of course there; there's also an affinity between qiyaamat and ;xaak (that is, to die and turn to dust).



The word ham (see the definition above) is here doubly activated, and becomes a spectacular source of relish and enjoyment for the verse (in addition, it even rhymes with ;Gam ). SRF always used to say that the biggest fault of the commentators (on Ghalib, since there hardly are any commentators on Mir) was that they didn't use dictionaries, and here's an excellent example of the kind of thing you might well miss if you didn't use dictionaries. (Unless you already had a magnificent vocabulary, which itself would suggest-- especially nowadays-- that you must be on friendly terms with dictionaries.)

And of course, you wouldn't know you were missing anything, because the common meaning of ham would work perfectly well; so the habit of consulting dictionaries and accumulating and remembering secondary meanings is an extremely important one for lovers of Mir and Ghalib who want to try to get the maximum delight from these overdetermined little two-line capsules of sheer poetic energy.

Of course, the usual meaning of ham yields its own satisfactions. To say 'in us and in grief' is to make an abrupt shift in the domain of the postposition, and the shift itself as it happens in our minds is piquant in its own right ('She arrived late, in a red dress and a bad mood'). The first line also withholds, in true mushairah-verse style, all information about who or what is being discussed, thus enhancing the confusingness of the postpositional trick.