viiraanii-e badan se miraa jii bhii hai udaas
manzil ;xaraab hove to mihmaan kyaa rahe

1) at the desolation of the body, even/also my inner-self is dejected/dispirited
2) if the halting-place would be ruined/wretched, then how/why would a guest remain?!



viiraanii : 'Desolation, depopulation, destruction, ruin, dilapidation; desert place'. (Platts p.1209)


udaas : 'Indifferent (to, - se ), unconcerned, apathetic; unsettled in mind; retired, lone, solitary; forlorn, dejected, sad, sorrowful; dull, dispirited, cast-down; grieved, displeased (with); sullen, cross; not bright, dull, sombre, faded'. (Platts p.31)


manzil : 'A place for alighting, a place for the accommodation of travellers, a caravansary, an inn, a hotel; a house, lodging, dwelling, mansion, habitation, station'. (Platts p.1076)

S. R. Faruqi:

Here a verse by Ghalib inescapably comes to mind:


In Ghalib's verse the theme of the dejection of the wilderness/jungle is fresh, and it is also full of 'mood'. Usually Ghalib's poetry has very little 'mood'. He is a poet of abstraction, and abstraction usually has very little 'mood'. In this verse, along with the 'mood' the 'claim' and 'proof' too have created a fine effect. Although the proof is subjective, it is so overflowing with emotional effect (='mood') that the attention doesn't go in that direction.

In Mir's present verse, the 'proof' is complete and meaningful. The word manzil in its meaning of 'a place to alight, to halt', is good; and in its meaning of 'a house, a place to live' it is also good. In the first case, rahe will mean 'would pause, would halt (in a sarai)'; in the second case, it will mean 'would wish to live, would want to stay longer (in a house)'. In both cases, the metaphor of a 'guest' too is entirely appropriate.

In the first case it will mean that the body is a guest-sarai. The guest (the inner-self, the heart, the beloved) had come here with the intention of staying for some days. But this guest-sarai has already become so desolate that the guest doesn't wish to stay in it. Now if the guest is the heart or the inner-self, then the idea is that the speaker's heart or inner-self does not remain, does not settle in. And how would it even remain or settle in, when the body has already become so desolate that in it there's no place to stay? In the light of this meaning, jii ;Thaharnaa = qaraar paanaa has been used in its dictionary meaning, and thus a 'reversed metaphor' has been created.

In the second case the meaning will emerge that the inner-self is now going (life is departing) because the body has already become so desolate that the life, which is in any case a contingent thing (like a guest in the body), does not wish to remain any longer in such a destroyed house.

If hove would be taken in the meaning of ho rahii ho or ho jaave , then the interpretation emerges that when the township of the body would be falling into ruin, or would for some reason (for example, being looted, being destroyed, etc.) become a ruin, then how would a guest come and live there?

If the inner-self is not assumed to be a guest, but rather its being dejected is taken only as the disposition being dejected, and the ordinary psychological situation is assumed, then for the 'guest' to mean the beloved or the life will be better. That is, the speaker is dejected because the beloved will hardly come and stay in this ruined house. Or again, how in the world will my life wish to live in such a ruined body?

If emphasis is given to the interpretation 'How in the world would a guest stay in such a ruined house?', then the meaning becomes that in such a house, not to speak of guests-- even outsiders, devils, strangers, thieves would hardly want to stay. Thus when the body would become ruined, then the possibility of any worthy guest's coming or staying is finished. In the light of this meaning, miraa jii bhii hai udaas in the first line becomes more meaningful-- that the body is desolate and dejected in any case, but the speaker's inner-self too is dejected, for in such a house how would anyone now stay?

The question can arise, of what is meant by viiraanii-e badan . One meaning of viiraanii is 'dejection, destruction, ruination'; in the same way uj;Rii .suurat or uj;Rii chahrah are used for faces or forms that have lost their beauty, or are devoid of makeup and adornment, or are very dejected. Dictionaries do not have uj;Raa hu))aa badan or viiraan badan , but in our time Adil Mansuri has very well written,

shaayad ko))ii chhupaa hu))aa saayah nikal pa;Re
uj;Re hu))e badan me;N .sadaa to lagaa))iye

[perhaps some hidden shadow might emerge
in the ruined body, please call out]

Thus a viiraan badan means a body that would already have lost its flourishingness, strength, and dignity. Since Mir has said viiraanii-e badan se , there is the implication of a change of state. That is, the body was formerly full of strength and movement, beauty and excellence, but now it has become desolate. The cause of the desolation can be the intensities of passion, it can be the convolutions of the days, it can be some special event that left the body desolate in its aftermath.

Thus we see that although Mir's verse, in comparison with Ghalib's verse noted above, seems not to have a lot of glitter and shine, with regard to meaning it is more profound than Ghalib's verse. Though indeed this is certainly one of those few cases in which Ghalib's verse, with regard to 'mood', wins out over Mir's verse.

The central character of Muhazzab Lakhnavi's book daur-e shaa((irii is an Ustad who in conversation with his companions and peers constantly makes points about poetry and poetics. The character of the Ustad is very interesting and convincing, but sometimes he does make mistakes. Thus in one session he recited the following verse (not his own, someone else's) and praised it greatly:

niklii hai tan se jaan-e ;hazii;N dil udaas hai
vuh kaaravaa;N lu;Taa hai kih manzil udaas hai

[the melancholy life has emerged from the body; the heart is dejected
that caravan was looted, so that the halting-place is dejected]

In the second line he particularly mentioned the force of the word vuh -- that in that position it outweighed many whole verses. About the force of the word vuh , there's no doubt. But the Ustad did not explain that on this verse a ray of Mir's (present) verse is entirely clear, and because of the poet's carelessness the verse has become 'disconnected'. In the first line it's been said that the life has emerged from the body, and that in separation from it the heart is dejected. But in the second line it becomes clear that the life's halting-place was the heart, and the life was like a caravan. As though the life had not yet arrived at the body, when it emerged from the body. It's clear that this is entirely absurd. Separately, both lines are good, and the second line is certainly very superb. But in its present condition the verse is 'disconnected'-- for the two lines have two separate ideas, and their 'connection' has not been established-- nor, in the present condition, can it be.

In this same ghazal, Mir has versified a different aspect of this same theme. His verse, for the completness of its 'proof' and 'connection', can be treated as exemplary [{1886,6}]:

;haal-e ;xaraab-e jism hai jii jaane kii daliil
jab tan me;N ;haal kuchh nah rahe jaan kyaa rahe

[the wretched condition of the body is proof of the going of the inner-self
when in the body no [good] condition would remain, how would the life remain?!]



I have nothing special to add.