havaa rang badle hai har aan miir
zamiin-o-zamaa;N har zamaa;N aur hai

1) the air/atmosphere/desire changes its style/'color' at every moment, Mir
2) the earth and sky/world/era, in every era/world, is different/other



havaa : 'Air, atmosphere, ether, the space between heaven and earth; —air, wind, gentle gale; ... ;—rumour, report; —credit, good name; —affection, favour, love, mind, desire, passionate fondness; lust, carnal desire, concupiscence; —an empty or worthless thing'. (Platts p.1239)


zamiin : 'The earth; soil, land, ground; floor; foundation, ground-work; the ground of a picture; region, country'. (Platts p.617)


zamaan = zamaanah : 'Time, period, duration; season; a long time; an age; ... —the world; the heavens; fortune, destiny'. (Platts p.617)

S. R. Faruqi:

The phrase havaa kaa rang badalnaa is not found in dictionaries. [A discussion of other idioms with havaa that some dictionaries do contain.] Mir has already versified it once before, in the second divan [{848,1}]:

hai aag kaa saa naalah-e kaahish-fazaa kaa rang
kuchh aur .sub;h-dam se hu))aa hai havaa kaa rang

the style/color of the anxiety-causing lament is like fire
since dawn, the style/color of the wind/atmosphere has been something else]

The present verse has no special excellence of meaning, except that the zamii;N and zamaa;N both change with the style/color of the atmosphere. Or else, that the zamii;N and zamaa;N both change at every moment, and the news of this reaches us through the changing style/color of the atmosphere.

A second point is that the ground changes at every moment, and the era/world too changes at every moment. That is, the era/world keeps changing not only because of its own passing, but because its very nature too keeps changing. Mir certainly will have known the saying of Heraclitus, that we do not step into the same river twice. (In this connection, see


And zamaa;N kaa har zamaa;N badalnaa is also finely colloquial. But the real power of the verse is in its 'tumult-arousingness' and 'mood'. If we consider this verse to be giving an opinion about the universe and the arrangement of the universe, then it is 'tumult-arousing''; and if we consider it to be based on the theme of changes in circumstances and the helplessness of human life, then the balance-pan of 'mood' weighs more heavily on the scales. For more verses on rang-e havaa , see


Janab Hanif Najmi has informed me that another meaning of zamaa;N is 'sky'; and on the authority of ;Gyaa;s he has written that when when zamaa;N would be juxtaposed to zamii;N then its meaning is 'sky'. In the light of this point, the verse becomes more meaningful and 'tumult-arousing'. Janab Najmi's detailed research is praiseworthy.



If we take zamiin-o-zamaa;N as a fixed oppositional pair, like 'earth and sky', that reading really does add a new dimension to the verse. Their being positioned together in the line, and their extreme phonetic similarity, encourage us to take the two words this way. (There are other such fixed oppositional pairs, after all-- think of naaz-o-niyaaz , razm-o-bazm ).

But even without that bit of special idiomatic glue, simply to say that the zamaa;N is different in every zamaa;N opens out complex possibilities (see the definition above). The verse could well be saying that the 'world' is different in every 'era'. But it could also be saying that the 'era', the age, the time, is different in every 'world'-- every social or cultural world? Every planet? (The ghazal world outranks the physical world, after all, so why not describe life on other planets?)

And then, look at havaa -- its meanings include 'rumor', 'reputation', 'affection', 'lust', and 'an empty and worthless thing' (see the definition above). If we ring the possible changes of these various meanings, as juxtaposed to the wide-open possibilities of the second line, we really can emerge with a tremendous range of possibilities. Since it's an 'A,B' verse, we also have to decide for ourselves how the two lines are related. Really this verse is a fine 'generator', a machine that can crank out meaning after meaning.

And surely those widely varying meanings will yield a tremendous range of 'tones' in which the verse can be read. Here is where SRF's firm assignment of one or the other of only two tones-- shor-angezii or kaifiyat -- seems unduly draconian. Why not wonder and awe? Why not rueful amusement? Why not detached observation? For further discussion of problems in ascribing 'tone', see {724,2}.