Ghazal 10, Verse 7

{10,7}

ugaa hai ghar me;N har suu sabzah viiraanii tamaashaa kar
madaar ab khodne par ghaas ke hai mere darbaa;N kaa

1) greenery has sprouted everywhere in the house-- look/jeer at the desolation!
2) now the ground/foundation of my Doorkeeper rests on digging up grass

Notes:

tamaashaa karnaa : 'To see; to take a walk; to make sport or fun; to exhibit, play, act a part; to poke fun (at), make fun (of), to jeer, jest'. (Platts p.336)

 

madaar : 'Place of turning or returning; axis; pivot; centre; --a place within which anything revolves, an orbit; a circumference; --a place where anyone stops or stands, station, seat; that on which anything stands or rests, or depends; ground (of), basis.' (Platts pp.1013-4)

Nazm:

'Greenery' refers to 'strange greenery' [sabzah-e begaanah]. Because greenery that springs up inappropriately is called 'alien greenery', and for greenery to spring up in a house at all is inappropriate. Thus the author's meaning is that the desolation has reached such a pitch that 'strange greenery' has sprouted in his house, and it is the Doorkeeper's task to keep strangers out of the house. (11)

== Nazm page 11

Vajid:

The grass has grown to such an extent that the Doorkeeper of my house digs it up and sells it, and makes his living on the price of it.

Urdu text: Vajid 1902 {10}

Baqir:

If the poor man didn't uproot grass, then what else would he do? Because of the desolation, nobody at all comes to the house. He has to think of his employment. This kind of [weedy] grass is called 'strange greenery' [sabzah-e begaanah]. It's as if the Doorkeeper, considering it a stranger, goes around ejecting it. (35)

Josh:

There's no poetic quality [shi((riyat] in this theme. Also, there's no connection between desolation and a Doorkeeper. (62)

FWP:

SETS
HOME: {14,9}
TAMASHA: {8,1}

The house is now in an advanced state of desolation. The Doorkeeper has nothing to do now, since no guests come, and no valuables are left in the house. Nor does the wretched homeowner have any money left to pay him. Fortunately, the house is so completely reverting to wilderness that the Doorkeeper both can and must make a living (taking madaar in the sense of 'dependency' or 'foundation') by cutting and selling the tall wild grasses, enjoyably called 'strange greenery', for fodder. To my surprise, this obvious-seeming interpretation does not figure in the readings of most commentators (except for Vajid, who emphasizes it).

A nice affinity between madaar as 'ground' (though in an abstract sense; see the definition above), and grass-digging, is another pleasure of this verse. Nazm points to the idiom about 'strange greenery' as well, and the Doorkeeper's duty of trying to keep out such 'strangers'. For another very apt verse about greenery in the house, see {156,1}.

Also, the general tone of relish in the first line is amusing. If your house is full of lush weedy grasses, providing a whole new function (and surely a new living as well) for your Doorkeeper, what kind of desolation is that? It's a kind of desolation in which you can take a perverse pride, and about which you can say, 'Enjoy the spectacle!' [tamaashaa kar]. Moreover, there must be somebody there to whom you are saying it. So after all, at least one guest is apparently present, and is being shown around with a flourish, so the 'desolation' is not exactly total. The word tamaashaa can also have a mystical sense that would be very appropriate here; for more on this, see {8,1}.

Vivek Yadav has suggested (Oct. 2018) that the viiraanii could also be taken as vocative, so that a personalized 'Desolation' might be the guest who is invited to enjoy the spectacle. This too seems quite possible, though a human guest is perhaps even more piquant.