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}

ABOUT PETRIFIED PHRASES: The first line of this verse offers two examples of Ghalib's technique of revitalizing petrified phrases. Verses using this device have a '1,2' structure, so that we are first induced to pass quickly over the phrase, and then given additional information that invites us to revisit the phrase and experience it, with a shock, in its full literalness. Such petrified phrases can thus work as a kind of iihaam . Perhaps his favorite phrase to use in this way is takalluf bar-:taraf (for examples, see {65,1}).

Her voice is 'to die for' (so to speak) and I 'die' [martaa huu;N] of delight and love when I hear it. I die of love when I hear her voice-- and I won't deny it, even if I die for it! On an initial reading both phrases in line one-- '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 I die for it!' 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 I die for, and 'although my head may fly off' turns out to evoke what is literally in the process of happening. Several consequences follow:

=Even though my head may fly off as a result of her voice (as she decrees my doom), I don't mind a bit, I just want to hear her go on speaking-- and I hear such passion in her voice, as she zealously encourages the Executioner!

=There may be some logistical problems, but I defy them. My head might be struck off and go flying, so that I wouldn't be able to hear her voice any longer. But still, I want her to go on speaking, calling down more and more blows on me, even if I'm not around any longer (in the flesh, at least) to enjoy the experience.

=Since I 'die' for her voice, there's no need for the Executioner to give me any blows at all, much less more of them. So iI don't care whether he strikes off my head or not. I am slain already by the deadly effects of that irresistible voice. As I die, the only wish in my 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. How the 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!