Ghazal 62, Verse 7


martaa huu;N us aavaaz pah har-chand sar u;R jaa))e
jallaad ko lekin vuh kahe jaa))e;N kih haa;N aur

1) I die [of love] over that voice-- {although / however much} my head might fly off
2) but let her go on saying to the Executioner, 'Yes indeed-- more/another!'


har-chand : 'Although, even if, notwithstanding; --how-much-soever; howsoever; as often as'. (Platts p.1222)


aur : 'And, also, for the rest, besides; again, moreover; but, yet, still; over, else; ...another, other, different; more, additional'. (Platts p.104)


Her saying, 'Yes, use the sword more!' pleases me so much that I have no care for my life's being lost. (63)

== Nazm page 63

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, the beloved's saying 'Yes, strike again! Yes, deliver another blow! Yes, inflict another wound!' pleases me to such an extent that I have no grief at all over my life's going. (110)

Bekhud Mohani:

I am a lover of her voice, and a lover to such an extent that if at the time of my murder she would keep on saying to the executioner, 'Yes, more!' then in my absorption in the pleasure of her voice I won't give a damn if my head is cut off. To take the intention of that voice as 'Yes, use the sword more', as Janab [Nazm] Tabataba'i says, is not correct. (143)


SWORD: {1,3}

Her voice is 'to die for' (so to speak) and the lover 'dies' [martaa huu;N] of delight and love when he hears it. He dies of love when he hears her voice-- and he won't deny it, even if he dies for it! On an initial reading both phrases in the first line -- 'I die for that voice' [martaa huu;N us aavaaz pah] and 'even if I would lose my head' [har-chand sar u;R jaa))e]-- sound like the cliches that they are. (For more on har-chand , see {59,7}.) The verb u;Rnaa is intransitive, so that no agent is lurking in the background: the head might fly off of its own accord.) We take these expressions as 'petrified phrases' thrown in just for melodramatic emphasis, like 'I'm dying of love!' and 'even if it would cost me my life!' in English.

Not until we are allowed to hear the second line-- after, under mushairah performance conditions, a suitable delay-- do we realize that both phrases should also be taken literally. Not just general passion, and general resolve to the point of death, are at issue, but specific means: it turns out to be significant that it's her voice (rather than any other quality of hers) that the lover dies for, and 'although my head might fly off' turns out to evoke what is literally in the process of happening. This emphasis on the beloved's voice has various interpretive nuances:

=Even though the lover's head may fly off as a result of her voice (as she decrees his doom), he doesn't mind a bit, he just wants to hear her go on speaking-- and he hears such passion in her voice, as she zealously encourages the Executioner!

=There may be some logistical problems, but the lover defies them. His head might be struck off and go flying, so that he wouldn't be able to hear her voice any longer. But still, he wants her to go on speaking, calling down more and more blows on him, even if he's not around any longer (in the flesh, at least) to enjoy the experience.

=Since the lover 'dies' for her voice, there's no need for the Executioner to give him any blows at all, much less more of them. So he doesn't care whether the Executioner strikes off his head or not. He is slain already by the deadly effects of that irresistible voice. As he dies, the only wish in his heart is that she won't stop talking.

This verse resembles {62,5} in its power to make us go back and reread (re-experience, reinvigorate) a stereotypical expression. The mushairah audience must have loved hearing the second line-- and suddenly recontextualizing the first one in a way that made it far more punchy and amusing.