dil kyaa makaa;N phir us kaa kyaa .sa;hn miir lekin
;Gaalib hai sa((ii me;N to maidaan-e laa-makaa;N par

1) what kind of house is the heart?! --then, what courtyard/area does it have, Mir?! But
2) it prevails in effort/endeavor/purpose over the 'house-less field'



;sa;hn : 'A court, court-yard, area, square; a level or plain tract (of ground); a lawn'. (Platts p.743)


sa((ii : 'Endeavour, attempt; exertion, effort; enterprise, essay; purpose'. (Platts p.661)


maidaan : 'An open field (without buildings); an extensive plain; a plain, field, lawn, area; a race-ground; any place for exercise or walking; a parade; a field of battle'. (Platts p.1104)


laa-makaa;N : 'Inexistent, with no abode, without a dwelling-place; —s.m. The Deity'. (Platts p.944)

S. R. Faruqi:

The image in the first line is extremely interesting. He supposes the heart to be a house, and in Mir's poetry the metaphor of a house, for the heart, is common. Now, advancing beyond this, Mir has supposed a courtyard to exist in the house of the heart. Thus, as usual, his verse has begun to appear in every way directly connected with the external world. The theme of the verse is commonplace. But the narrative mood of the 'courtyard' of the house of the heart has given life to it.

Now in the second line let's consider the word sa((ii . The meaningfulness of this word is multi-faceted. These meanings of it are operative in the verse: (1) effort; (2) running; (3) the collection of revenue; (4) desired. That is, with regard to its goal, or with regard to its effort, the heart prevails over a 'house-less field'; that is, the heart's goal is of a higher rank than that of the 'house-less'. Or, the number of efforts, running-arounds, and hurryings-- that many cannot be done by the 'house-less'. Or again, that the heart obtains more 'revenue' of praise/approval and faith/belief than does the 'house-less'.

Another meaning can also be that if the heart would make an effort, then it would prevail over the 'house-less field'. The two questions in the first line are also fine. It's a 'tumult-arousing' verse.

[See also {601,8}.]



The 'kya' effect works excellently in the first line. Here are the possibilities:

=What/which house is the heart? Then, what/which is its courtyard?
=Is the heart a house? Then, does it have a courtyard?
=What a house the heart is! Then, what a courtyard it has!
=As if the heart is a house! Then, as if it has a courtyard!

In principle, the pairs of readings could be augmented by mix-and-match permutations as well; but the mind boggles.

When we hear the 'but' at the end of the line, we know that something concessive is coming, something that will probably limit the possible readings of the kyaa . However, we can't at all guess how they would be limited ('but not everybody has one'?; 'but it has to be kept clean'?; 'but I don't like living in it'?). So we are forced to wait for the second line, in order to see where the catch is, where the 'but' will take us.

Then in the second line we learn that the heart-house 'prevails in effort/endeavor/purpose over the house-less field'. This seems to be a compliment of some sort, so we now realize that the first line should perhaps be read in a deprecatory way: the heart-house may not be anything much, but it still has something to recommend it. Now the question arises: what kind of compliment is the heart-house is receiving, and what exactly does it mean? Here are three main possibilities:

=Compared to the 'house-less field', the heart is superior in the only way that matters-- in the gallantry and moral beauty of its 'effort/endeavor/purpose'.

=Compared to the 'house-less field', the heart is inferior in its physical qualities (size, space), but superior in its moral qualities ('endeavour, purpose').

=Compared to the 'house-less field', the heart is inferior in every way; its only virtue is that, like any second-rater, it 'tries harder' (though perhaps its efforts are in vain).

Since 'the House-less One' can be a name for God (see the definition above), the heart-house could also be taken as juxtaposed to the whole field of Divine activity. Compare


in which the maidaan-e laa-makaa;N appears as something more desirable than worldly 'walls'.

I also can't resist pulling in Ghalib's own exploration of the enclosed space of a house versus the whole open desert: