Ghazal 127, Verse 2


be-dar-o-diivaar saa ik ghar banaayaa chaahiye
ko))ii ham-saayah nah ho aur paasbaa;N ko))ii nah ho

1) a single/particular/unique/excellent, without-door-and-walls-ish, house ought to be made
2) there would be no neighbor/'shade-sharer', and there would be no Gatekeeper



When there's no door, then why would there be a Gatekeeper? And if there's no wall, then how will there be a neighbor? (138)

== Nazm page 138

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, 'In some field posts ought to be erected into a frame, which would do the work of a house but would have no door or wall in it. If there would be no door, then what need of a Gatekeeper will remain? And if there will be no wall, then how will any neighbor come and live there?' The meaning is that if one doesn't meet anybody in the world, then one won't experience grief. (193)

Bekhud Mohani:

That house would be such that there would be neither door nor wall-- one where there would be neither Gatekeeper nor neighbor. That is, please go to a wilderness or desert. (257)



On the apparent unity in this small ghazal, see {127,1}. On the grammar of banaayaa chaahiye , see {1,3}.

Nazm makes the point about the elegant parallelism: a house without a door would have no Gatekeeper or door-guard, while a house without a wall would have no neighbor. Literally, a 'neighbor' [ham-saayah] is a 'shade-sharer'-- one who gets shade from your walls, while you get shade from his, which makes the connection with the lack of walls all the clearer.

This is a very singular house-- not just 'a' house, but a 'single', or 'particular', or 'unique', or 'excellent' house' [ik ghar], a usage that nicely points up its unusualness and/or isolation. Bekhud Dihlavi perhaps imagines it a little too concretely as consisting of a wood frame in a field; and Bekhud Mohani, as consisting of a wilderness. The point is that we are left unable to imagine it. Its only peer is Majnun's house in {18,3}; many of the same kinds of uncertainty exist here. And the multivalence of ik , which can mean so many other things besides 'single', increases the range of our imaginings.

But this house is even more ambiguous than Majnun's, because the context of its isolation is left to our imagination. If it has no Gatekeeper, is that because the Gatekeeper would himself be a kind of intrusive, bothersome 'neighbor', since he'd be virtually living at the front 'door'? Or is it because the house doesn't need a Gatekeeper? And if it doesn't need one, is that because there's no neighbor (who might come visiting and be a bother); or because there's no fear of intruders since no other human beings will be around; or because there's no fear of intruders since in a non-house there's nothing to steal? And if the house has no 'neighbor', is that because there literally can be no neighbor without a wall; or because a neighbor without a wall between would be a terrible bother; or because a neighbor would be a person, and thus intrusive by definition?

A without-door-and-wall-ish house is thus both completely open (by definition), and completely impenetrable (since nobody can fathom where, or how, it begins or ends). The '-ish' [saa] adds a final (hardly necessary) touch of ambiguity.

Like the previous verse, this one too makes use of repetition (though not to the same degree); and like the previous verse, it also has semantic patterns that beautifully coincide with its metrical foot-divisions, for a nice, swingy effect.

From a privately printed collection by Kamil Hyderabadi, with thanks to Mansoor Khan