qaraar dil se kiyaa hai ab ke kih ruk ke ghar me;N nah maryegaa yuu;N
bahaar aa))ii jo apne jiite to sair karne chalaa kare;Nge

1) we have resolved with out heart, this time, that we will not halt/stay and suffer/'die' in the house like this
2) if/when spring would come, while we are alive, then we will always go for a stroll



ruknaa : 'To stop, to rest, to stick, to falter (in speech, &c.), to stammer; to be closed; to be enclosed; to be hindered, be prohibited; to be sad, be vexed'. (Platts p.597)

S. R. Faruqi:

In all the manuscripts we find written qaraar dil se gayaa hai , which with regard to meaning is entirely inappropriate. Thus I have suppositionally corrected it to qaraar dil se kiyaa hai . In this verse so many things have been said that the whole expression has been done by means of suggestions and allusions:

(1) The meaning of ruknaa is 'to halt', and also 'to be bound, to be closed'. That is, in the light of the second meaning the point is that if the speaker remains bound up, closed up, in his house, then he will suffocate and die.

(2) The meaning of marnaa is 'to die', and also 'to endure severe suffering'.

(3) The yuu;N is meant to suggest the present circumstances.

(4) He has said dil se qaraar karnaa because: (1) Until now the speaker has been suffocating inside his house, and even so no result was achieved. This time he has made a firm intention in his heart not to die of suffocation. (2) Or, his heart complained and asked why it was being choked and suffocated; thus he promised it that such a thing would not happen again. (3) In affairs of passion the heart is one's partner and helper; thus he swore to it that this time he would not die/suffer in such a way (but rather, would leave the house and go outside). (4) The meaning of dil se can also be .sidq-e dil se -- that the speaker resolved with a true/sincere heart.

Thus the meaning of the first line comes to be that for some time, and up to the present, the speaker has remained sad at heart and shut up within his house, and has kept having the experience of suffocating to death, or enduring mortal suffering. (The metaphorical force of nah mariyegaa yuu;N is so strong that it can mean either really dying, or else enduring intense suffering.) This time the speaker promised his heart that now he would not let this happen-- that is, this time he would not stay and 'die' in his house. (To stay in the house is equal to enduring mortal hardship, or dying. Or, life will go in any case, but he would not die staying/suffering in the house.) He has promised this to his heart because he and it are equal partners in this business.

Now let's consider the contents of the second line:

(1) Since the suffocation to death is even now occurring, it's possible that the speaker now has now many days to live.

(2) If he would remain alive, and if spring would come, then he would always go for a stroll.

(3) No death is worse than remaining shut up in the house. If life departs while the speaker is taking a stroll, then that's no problem. Death has to come in any case, but remaining a prisoner within these four walls is a feeling of continuous death. Enough-- if one can be saved from this, it would be well.

(4) When he goes for a stroll, then with him will be: (1) his heart; or (2) some person to whom this verse is addressed; or (3) no one, he will be alone. (In this last case, the plural verb has been used idiomatically for himself.)

Thus the interpretation of the second line is that the speaker has no hope of life, and believes that spring will come, but if he would still be alive when spring comes, then alone or with some friends he would always go out for a stroll. Death will come in any case, but he would escape from the continuous death of imprisonment.

In the light of the above points, the question inevitably arises: if the speaker is in prison, or in some kind of bondage, and because of it he's compelled to stay in the house and die/suffer, then next spring how will he always emerge to go for a stroll? And this very question is in truth the spirit/life of the verse. Because of it he's been obliged to resolve with his heart; because of it the verse has a tone of resoluteness and fixity of purpose. For it's clear that next spring this imprisonment and bondage will change (in fact it's also possible that the bondage might become even more severe). Thus the real situation is that next spring the speaker will break up all the arrangements and free himself.

But if the speaker has the power to free himself, then why wait for the next springtime? Through reflection on this question, the real meaning of the verse finally becomes manifest. The speaker is not going to go anywhere, he is only diverting himself; he is giving himself childish comfort: 'Let the next spring come, I will emerge from here'. Or again, the speaker is in a stage of madness where the relationship with reality breaks down and one's own illusions begin to seem true. Both situations are frightening, and weigh on the spirits of the hearer. In this regard the verse is limitlessly 'tumult-arousing'.

And now the full power of sair karne chalaa kare;Nge is manifest, because the whole force of the speaker's certainty/confidence has come into this phrase. To the extent that the speaker's state is one of helplessness and duress ( ruk ke ghar me;N marnaa ), to that same extent his intentions (madness and self-confidence, both are one) are lofty! This very loftiness of intention, and this unknownness of the reality, bestows on the verse a melancholy dignity.

People in those parts of modern India that have had the experience of confinement under curfews for week upon week, will be able to enjoy this verse very well. Or again, people living under Israeli occupation who spend a great part of their lives under curfew and who have hopes of sometime returning to their homeland. In the final analysis, the poet's power of imagination proves to be stronger even than the speaker's madness. Baudelaire, who within closed rooms heard in his spirit the sound of the footsteps of madness, and who ultimately suffered from a condition like the 'aphasia' in which one forgets words, recognizes these things, but he cannot name them-- he can perhaps understand Mir's verse better than we can.

Mir has expressed the theme like this in the second divan [{1003,2}]:

ham ne bhii na;zr kii hai phire;Nge chaman ke gird
aane ta))ii;N bahaar ke gar baal-o-par rahe

[even/also we have made a gift-offering-- we will move around the garden
if by the coming of spring, wings and feathers would remain]

Here madness and self-deception do not dominate; there's only painfulness, a little bitterness, and a little joy. It's a fine verse, but because it doesn't have an abundance of meaning it cannot achieve what the present verse does. Although indeed, the double meaningfulness of chaman ke gird phirnaa is a masterpiece of language usage.

[See also {1504,1}.]



The 'midpoints' phrase apne jiite , 'while we are alive', is brilliantly framed so that it can be read either with the clause before it ('if spring would come while we are alive'-- that is, we might not live till spring comes), or with the clause after it ('then while we are alive, we will always go for a stroll'-- that is, the strolling will continue as long as we live).

If the speaker can choose to leave his house, as he implies, why does he defer his plans for a stroll until next spring? As SRF says, 'this very question is in truth the spirit/life of the verse'. SRF has given an elegant and eloquent answer: because the speaker is mad, and/or imprisoned, and/or already dying, he is merely diverting himself with childish plans and in fact cannot really leave. This is obviously a powerful reading of the verse, and accounts for every element of it in a most satisfactory way.

But since SRF has cited the 'personal experience' of people living under curfew or occupation as helping them to appreciate the verse, I cannot resist adding a bit of 'personal experience' of my own. A constant refrain of my childhood was my mother's affectionately scolding me, 'What are you doing cooped up in here, reading all the time? You'll ruin your eyes! It's a beautiful day, why not go out and play?' To which I used to reply half-guiltily, almost on autopilot, 'Okay, yes, I'll go in a little while, I just want to finish this chapter.' Probably you, dear reader, are the kind of person who doesn't need to be told the outcome.

Similarly, in this verse the speaker might be responding to some well-wisher's earnest (and irrefutably sensible) reproach: 'What are you doing cooped up in here all by yourself, moping and moldering away? Come outside, let's take a stroll!' The speaker fends off the advice with a diversionary retreat and a delaying tactic: he acknowledges that his friend is right, and swears that he'll take lots of walks, but the proper time for such outings is the springtime, so he sincerely (?) makes a vow that, as sure as he's alive, next spring he'll 'always' stroll in the garden. In this way he buys himself time-- and if he's a lover, submerged in his own bubbling agony-ecstasy of passion, he probably longs mostly for his friend to go away and stop pestering him.

In a similar situation, Ghalib suggests a much snippier reply to the invitation: