Ghazal 6, Verse 12x


sho;xii-e rang-e ;hinaa ;xuun-e vafaa se kab tak
aa;xir ay ((ahd-shikan tuu bhii pashemaa;N niklaa

1) the mischievousness of the color of henna, from the blood/murder of faithfulness-- how long?
2) finally, oh promise-breaker, even/also you turned out to be penitent/regretful


sho;xii : 'Playfulness, fun, mischief; pertness, sauciness; coquetry, wantonness; forwardness, boldness, insolence'. (Platts p.736)


pashemaa;N : 'Penitent, sorry, repentant, remorseful, filled with regret; abashed, ashamed; disgraced'. (Platts p.264)


The mischievousness of the color of henna from the blood/murder of faithfulness-- how long would it remain established? Finally, oh promise-breaker, you too will be compelled to repent. (55)


That is, by continually applying henna to your hands, you did mischievousnesses toward the blood of faithfulness. But finally the color of faithfulness appeared clearly, and you were compelled to repent. He has said not that 'you did mischievousness'; rather, he's said that 'the color of henna did mischievousness'. This is a courteous/respectful introduction. (36)

Gyan Chand:

The radiance of the red color of your henna is, in reality, the blood of faithfulness. That is, you didn't show faithfulness to us. But how long could this state of affairs have continued? Finally, the color of the henna faded-- from which it's clear that, oh promise-breaker, you've become penitent for shedding the blood of faithfulness. (71)


HENNA: {18,4}
VOWS: {20,2}

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 For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

The beloved gets the 'mischievousness'-- a word that emphasizes her playfulness and frivolity-- of her brilliant red henna from the blood of her 'murder of faithfulness'. But how long can it last? Just as henna fades from the hands, her decorative bloodstains fade over time.

The playful, frivolous murderer and 'promise-breaker' then ceases to have her fetching, bloody-red hands-- which the speaker loyally (if not very persuasively) interprets as a sign of penitence or regret on her part. For more on henna, see {18,4}.

Compare the most famous 'repentance' verse, the irresistible {17,8}.