Ghazal 140, Verse 2


letaa nahii;N mire dil-e aavaarah kii ;xabar
ab tak vuh jaantaa hai kih mere hii paas hai

1) she doesn't {keep track of / inquire about / pursue} my wandering heart

2a) she still/'till now' thinks, 'It's in only/emphatically my possession!'
2b) she still/'till now' thinks that it's in only/emphatically my possession


;xabar lenaa : 'To look (after), take care (of), to support; to watch (over), to guard; to take notice (of); to inquire (into), to ask (about); to seek; to look (one) up; —to be after (one), to serve (one) out, settle accounts (with)'. (Platts p.486)


Up to the present she still considers that my heart is present in my possession, and here she's already confirmed herself in power. (150)

== Nazm page 150

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, my heart, having gone out of my control, has become a wanderer, but the beloved still believe that it is in my possession. With this confidence, she has become careless about my heart, and does not keep track of it. (207)

Bekhud Mohani:

The beloved is entirely careless about my wandering heart; her thought is that 'The heart is not in his possession, but rather it is in my possession'. That is, if she knew about the restlessness of my heart in love, then she would surely show mercy to me. (274)



ABOUT direct and indirect discourse: Traditionally, Urdu used kih to introduce speech (including self-addressed inner speech such as thoughts), but had no quotation marks. There was no way to distinguish direct discourse (He told me, 'You're crazy!') from indirect discourse ('He told me that I was crazy'). This was not much of a problem, though, because of the heavy preference in normal speech and writing for direct discourse. Given no special clues, one assumed direct discourse as the linguistically 'least marked' form. Indirect discourse was not impossible, but remained a much rarer possibility, its presence generally made clear by contextual clues. In this verse, (2a) is the direct-discourse reading, and (2b) is the indirect-discourse one. By no coincidence, both readings work delightfully with the first line. For an example of direct discourse involving thoughts, see {90,3}. Modern Urdu has been increasingly adopting English punctuation marks, so that the distinction between direct and indirect discourse is nowadays usually signalled the way it is in English.

As always, jaan'naa can mean 'consider, think'-- perhaps wrongly-- as well as 'know'; for more on this see {16,5}.

So it's clear-- though, it should be noted, only through the power of implication-- that the beloved is in error. She has underestimated the wilfulness, the autonomy, the uncontrollable wildness, of the lover's 'wandering heart' [dil-e aavaarah]. She still thinks either (2a) that it's safely in her own possession (since she's taken it from him long ago); or (2b) that it's safely in the lover's possession (where she can get it anytime she chooses).

But in fact, neither she nor the lover can control it. Naturally he can't control his heart (it goes running off at the first opportunity); but how amusing to realize that even she, the almighty beloved, can't control it any better! She might (or might not) be able to track it down and bring it back, if she took the trouble; but as yet [ab tak], she doesn't realize that she needs to do so. The key to the verse is that ab tak ; it sets the stage for many possibilities. When she discovers that the barn door is open and the horse is gone, what will she do?

Why is the heart such a wild wanderer? Perhaps her cruelty has so wrecked and alienated the heart that it's now reverted to a wilder state, like a feral creature of some kind. Or perhaps the heart is moving on some Sufi path, up to levels of mystical awareness where she can't possibly follow it. An autonomous heart with a fierce, stubborn will of its own is a fine addition to the ghazal world.