Ghazal 51, Verse 1


rahaa gar ko))ii taa qiyaamat salaamat
phir ik roz marnaa hai ;ha.zrat salaamat

1) if until Doomsday someone would remain well/safe
2) still/then, one day it's necessary to die, [Your] Excellency who is well/safe!


salaamat : 'Safety, salvation; tranquillity, peace, rest, repose; immunity; liberty; soundness; recovery; health; --adj. & adv. (used predicatively) Safe, sound, well; --in safety, safely, securely'. (Platts p.668)


== Nazm page 47

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, even if some individual lives until Doomsday, then so what? It's necessary to die-- he'll die on Doomsday. Dying on Doomsday has created this pleasant effect, that Doomsday is the day when the dead come to life. For someone to die on that day will not be devoid of pleasure. (91)

Bekhud Mohani:

It seems that someone has expressed a longing for a long life, or a regret at someone's dying at an early age. This verse is in answer to that. (115)


;ha.zrat salaamat is a colloquial idiom meaning 'Your Excellency'. With regard to dying, the word salaamat in this utterance is nothing less than mischievousness of style. (125)


DOOMSDAY: {10,11}

As Josh observes, the use of the petrified phrase ;ha.zrat salaamat is the chief pleasure of this verse. As a common title of respect, it means something like 'Your Auspicious Excellency', or in this case 'Your Excellency who possesses salaamat '. Since salaamat means something like 'wellbeing', including 'health' and 'safety', the use of this seemingly respectful title for the addressee comes across as tongue-in-cheek, and reminds the addressee that he shares our common human vulnerability.

The original closing-verse of this ghazal, {51,10x}-- one that didn't make it into the divan-- used this same rhyme-word, which might well have given it a kind of closural effect. And in virtually every verse, the refrain salaamat tends to give the second line considerable exclamatory force.

Bekhud Dihlavi points out that qiyaamat , 'Doomsday', is literally a day of resurrection, with a root meaning 'to stand'. It's the day when God will cause the dead to rise up and receive judgment. To say that someone will live till the day the dead rise, and still/then [phir] die one day, is a piquant notion that could suggest some odd theological possibilities. (What kind of an ik roz will it be when such a person dies?)

There is also, of course, the enjoyable and metrically-reinforced sound-play of qiyaamat and salaamat . Ghazals of the 'short meter' kind, like this one, can make good use of fixed expressions with many nuances, like salaamat ; for another short meter example see {21,1}.

On the use of the perfect verb form as a subjunctive, see {35,9}.