Ghazal 151, Verse 2


dil hii to hai siyaasat-e darbaa;N se ;Dar gayaa
mai;N aur jaa))uu;N dar se tire bin .sadaa kiye

1) it's only/emphatically a heart-- it feared the authority/punishment of the Doorkeeper
2) I-- and to leave your door without {calling out / making a sound}!


siyaasat : 'Rule, government, governance, administration; jurisdiction, legal authority; --correction, punishment, chastisement; torture, pain, pang, agony; severity, rigor'. (Platts p.708)


.sadaa : 'Echo; sound, noise; voice, tone, cry, call'. (Platts p.743)


The word bin , people now have rejected, in poetry and prose. And that has created such an effect that even in conversation it is gradually being rejected. But as yet it still doesn't sound ugly to the ear, and its rejection too is without reason. bin and binaa are Indian [hindii] words, and be is a Persian word. The Indian word has been dropped, and the Persian one has entered into its place. (161-62)

== Nazm page 161; Nazm page 162

Bekhud Dihlavi:

That is, the situation of the heart is that sometimes it becomes strong, and sometimes feeble. At that time the state was such that a mere small intervening challenge caused it to fear; otherwise, I am not such that I would have gone away from your door without calling out. (217)

Bekhud Mohani:

The reply to the beloved's suspicion or complaint is: 'that I would come to your door, and not call out the way faqirs do-- this act was impossible for me. But a person has a heart-- it feared the Doorkeeper.' bin is now rejected; in its place they say be . (290)



This is a verse of nuances, a network of subtle suggestions and enjoyable implications. In the first line, the lover seems to be excusing himself for his seeming cowardice: it wasn't by any means I myself who feared the authority/punishment of the Doorkeeper! Oh no, not at all! In fact it was my heart-- and after all, you know how hearts are! The all-purpose dil hii to hai does a wonderfully colloquial job of getting the point across, with a shrug and a rueful smile. For another use of the same phrase in the same position, see {115,1}.

Aside from the fact that that's an amusingly implausible excuse, the fear itself is (in real-world terms) implausible and inappropriate. After all, the lover is a person of a higher social class; he has his own Doorkeeper (even if that person's only job may now be grass-cutting, as in {10,7}). For him to fear the beloved's Doorkeeper is a sign both of his abject humility before the beloved, and of his awareness that she will not welcome him. Thus the only way he could ever hope to get past her Doorkeeper would be by flattering and conciliating him (as in {43,4} and {111,12}). Since even this might not work, how terrifying the prospect of sealing one's fate by actually incurring the Doorkeeper's anger! No wonder the poor heart quails!

The anger would be incurred, it seems, by 'calling out' [.sadaa karnaa] at her door. As Bekhud Mohani observes, this is exactly what wandering faqirs, or religious mendicants, do: they come to the door and call out, announcing their presence. If the householders want to give alms, they do so, and receive the faqir's blessing; if the faqir gets no response, he passes on. He doesn't expect to be invited into the house and entertained as a guest. The lover apparently places himself in this category. It's no duty of the faqir to call out as he passes by; but the lover is so abjectly devoted that he feels guilty for even such a minor negligence.

And his guilt, we realize finally, is a kind of parodic echo of the normal social guilt that might justify the reproach, 'You were right on my street, and you didn't even stop by!'. (See {144,1}, in which the commentators invent such a scenario.) Of course, the normal implication is that if you had let me know, I would have invited you in and entertained you, etc. etc. In this verse, no such hospitality is even remotely envisioned. As so often, the lover manages to have the worst of all worlds: he feels social guilt as though he had rejected or avoided someone's hospitality, but he also knows perfectly well that he has no prospect of obtaining the hospitality. Both his obligation to 'call out', and his failure to fulfill that obligation, are not reciprocal at all, but are governed only by his own nature and his own (self-imposed) role as a lover.

The sound effects of darbaa;N , then ;Dar , then dar also create enjoyable echoes.