Ghazal 31, Verse 2

{31,2}

tangii-e dil kaa gilah kyaa yih vuh kaafir dil hai
kih agar tang nah hotaa to pareshaa;N hotaa

1a) about the distress/narrowness of the heart, as if there could be a complaint! --this is such an infidel heart
1b) about the distress/narrowness of the heart, what a complaint there is! --this is such an infidel heart

2) that if it were not distressed/narrow, then it would be anxious/scattered

Notes:

tangii : 'Straitness, narrowness, tightness, closeness; scantiness, scarcity, distress, difficulty'. (Platts p.340)

 

pareshaan : 'Dispersed, scattered; disordered, confused; dishevelled, tossed (as hair); amazed, distracted, perplexed, bewildered, deranged; troubled, distressed, wretched; ruined'. (Platts p.259)

Nazm:

== Nazm page 31

Bekhud Dihlavi:

In this verse too, he presents with another device and in other words the theme of the opening-verse [{31,1}] above. (61)

Bekhud Mohani:

(1) We are so unfortunate that if the heart were happy, then it would be so happy that the excess of happiness would make it anxious (the heart would be torn apart).

(2) If the heart remains sad, then what cause for complaint? It is such an enemy of peace that if it were satisfied, then it would be anxious at the absence of anxiety and difficulty. (76)

Chishti:

tangii has two meanings: 1) sorrowful; 2) it's the opposite of pareshaanii , that is, it's the state of being contracted. pareshaanii has two meanings: 1) sorrowful; 2) it's the opposite of tangii , that is, it's the state of being spread out. There's an iihaam between the two words, and in this is the pleasure of the verse. (348)

FWP:

SETS == KYA
ISLAMIC: {10,2}

As Bekhud Dihlavi points out, this verse has much in common with the previous one, {31,1}. In both verses, the lover's heart/house domain is depicted as irremediably perverse and turbulent. But this verse is somewhat less multivalent, since its two lines are logically connected in a clear and specific way.

Instead, its great source of pleasure is its wordplay, which Chishti points out. If the heart were not 'narrow'/distressed, it would be 'scattered'/anxious. The two abstract nouns tangii and pareshaanii have literal meanings that are almost opposite; they also have metaphorical meanings that are almost the same. This well-exploited juxtaposition gives an excellent gauge for the perversity of the heart. Chishti calls this device an iihaam , and I think in the strict sense he's wrong (since both meanings are desired, so there's no misdirection); but in the more general sense, it is certainly a sophisticated form of punning.

There's also the effortless multivalence generated in the first part of the first line by the inshaa))iyah powers of kyaa . As if there could be a complaint! (1a)-- that is, complaining is useless, for if the infidel heart changed its ways, it would just flip them over into something equally vexatious. Or: what a complaint there is! (1b)-- that is, what deep cause for complaint the infidel heart constantly gives, and how innately aggravating it is.

The colloquial, easy rhythm, just a natural good-natured scolding or lament, is perfect. The rueful, affectionate tone of yih vuh kaafir dil hai (with vuh meaning 'that', but also here something like 'such a') is tolerant, resigned, perhaps almost proud of such absolute perversity. (Sometimes the owners of badly behaved dogs talk about their pets like this.)

Compare the similar tone in which the heart is referred to in {107,6}. And compare the juxtaposition between undesirable narrowness and undesirable distractedness in {203,3}.