Ghazal 66, Verse 7

{66,7}

tum kaun-se the aise khare daad-o-sitad ke
kartaa malak ul-maut taqaa.zaa ko))ii din aur

1) since when were you such a strict one in accounts/dealings?!
2) the Angel of Death would have made his claim some other day

Notes:

kharaa : 'Good, excellent, best; prime, choice; genuine, real, true.... honest, upright.... just, fair, right, exact, strict'. (Platts p.873)

 

daad-o-sitaad : ''Giving and taking,' buying and selling, commerce, dealings'. (Platts p.499)

Nazm:

This and the next two verses are in the form of negative questions [istifihaam-e inkaarii], and are addressed to the person who died young.

== Nazm page 66

FWP:

SETS
COMMERCE: {3,3}

For general comments on this ghazal, see {66,1}.

How in the world to translate tum kaun-se aise kare ? It's so colloquial that if done literally ('which such strict one are you?') it makes no sense. But fortunately we have the 'Since when are you such a...?' construction in English, which conveys the same skepticism and overtones of ridicule, the idea that somebody is pretending to some quality that the speaker knows very well is not genuine.

The quality in this case is strictness about daad-o-sitad , literally, 'giving and taking', which I have taken as 'accounts' in order to get the same effect in English. Ghalib scolds Arif: if the Angel of Death presented his claim on your life, so what? It was only the first reminder. You didn't have to pay him at once, that very instant! Since when were you so scrupulous about such things? You should have put him off and at least gained some time; he would undoubtedly have come back another day. But instead you showed an appalling (and uncharacteristic!) degree of scrupulousness-- all too quickly you accepted his claim, and gave your life into his power.