.saaf maidaa;N laa-makaa;N saa ho to meraa dil khule
tang huu;N ma((muurah-e dunyaa kii diivaaro;N ke biich

1) if there would be a clear field/plain, houseless-like, then my heart would open/expand
2) I am vexed/straitened/confined amidst the walls of the habitation of the world



tang : 'Contracted, straitened, confined, strait, narrow, tight; wanting, scarce, scanty, stinted, barren; distressed, poor, badly off; distracted, troubled, vexed; dejected, sad, sick (at heart)'. (Platts p.340)


ma((muurah : 'An inhabited, or a well-peopled, place; —a cultivated spot, or a well-cultivated, or delightful, spot'. (Platts p.1050)

S. R. Faruqi:

The beauty of .saaf maidaa;N laa-makaa;N saa is beyond praise. In order to convey a broad and ample and confidence-inspiring expanse, no better image than this is possible. The word .saaf bears a special importance, because through it an effect of confidence-inspiring ampleness is created, not one of frightening emptiness. Then, this utterance has two meanings: (1) a field that would be houseless-- that is, devoid of every thing, every building, every walled enclosure; (2) a houselessness that is, like a field, clean and level.

The dictionary meaning of ma((muurah is 'filled up'; secondarily, it's used for 'city' and 'world', as in this verse of Ghalib's:


By saying ma((muurah-e dunyaa he has bestowed on the world the character of a filled-up place-- for example, like some very big building or crowded city. In the same way the image of 'walls' takes on realism. And tang huu;N means 'I am worried, anxious' and also 'I feel narrowness for lack of space'.

This verse can also be about the lofty courage of mankind, or about some extremity of personal and inward madness, or it can also be the longing of some Flaubert-like creative writer to create some work of art that would be only and purely a work of art, and not 'about' something.

Or again, in this filled-up world it can be an expression of a feeling of detachment and alienation, as in this verse of Munir Niyazi's:

;xauf detaa hai yahaa;N abr me;N tanhaa honaa
shahr-e dar-band me;N diivaaro;N kii ka;srat dekho

[fear permits one to be alone in a cloud, here
in the door-enclosed city, look at the abundance of walls]

Mir has used more or less this theme twice more, but not with such beauty. In the fourth divan [{1372,5}]:

jaan ko qaid-e ((anaa.sir se nahii;N hai vaar hii
tang aa))e mai;N bahut is char-diivaarii ke biich

[life, in the prison of the elements, doesn't have only/emphatically opportunity
I became very much vexed/straitened within this four-walled space]

From the sixth divan [{1841,2}]:

uj;Rii uj;Rii bastii me;N dunyaa kii jii lagtaa nahii;N
tang aa))e hai;N bahut in chaar diivaaro;N me;N ham

[in the wholly ruined neighborhood of the world, the inner-self is not content
we became very much vexed/straitened within these four walls]

[See also {490,1}.]





in which the 'house-less field' is contrasted unfavorably with the 'house' of the heart.