Ghazal 193, Verse 6x


yih kaun kahve hai aabaad kar hame;N lekin
kabhii zamaanah muraad-e dil-e ;xaraab to de

1) who says, 'Establish/settle us'?-- but
2) at some time let the age/world grant a desire of the ruined heart


kahve hai is an archaic form of kahtaa hai (GRAMMAR)


aabaad karnaa : 'To make (a place) habitable; to people, settle, found (a colony, &c.); to build and plant; to cultivate; to make (the heart, dil ) rejoice, to comfort, rejoice (the heart); to build up (a house or family, ghar ), beget (children)'. (Platts p.2)


;xaraab : 'Ruined, spoiled, depopulated, wasted, deserted, desolate; abandoned, lost, miserable, wretched'. (Platts p.488)

Gyan Chand:

When do we express the desire that the age would fully establish/settle us? But sometime, once or twice, let it fulfill a wish of the destroyed heart.

== Gyan Chand, p. 491



For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices. For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

The verse has a mushairah-verse structure. The first line offers only something that's not being said; then under mushairah performance conditions, we are made to wait in suspense, turning over in our minds various possibilities for where the second line might go. Even when we're allowed to hear the second line, only at the last possible moment does the punch-word appear in all its potent glory. For ;xaraab is the opposite of aabaad in almost every possible way (see the definitions above). Thus it's all the more piquant that they both contain aab , and so many a and aa vowels.

In addition, the structure of the first line permits some 'stress-shifting'. For the demand it speaks of is obviously being denied or rejected, but why? There are several possibilities:

=Who says that? Not the speaker! Those are definitely not his words. He repudiates them and wants to have nothing to do with them; his own aspirations are much more modest.

=The speaker doesn't 'say' those words, because he's so humble; but privately he entertains some small faint hope that sometime some such thing might happen.

=He doesn't say 'Establish/settle us'-- that would be too extravagant and utopian a demand or command (in the imperative). He makes a much humbler, more diffident request instead: that some desire or other of his might perhaps be granted sometime.

=He doesn't seek to be 'established' or 'settled'-- but his heart is so 'ruined' and 'destroyed' that perhaps something could sometime be done about it? (Perhaps there could be some kind of a refugee camp, or a halfway house for burnt-out lovers.)