Ghazal 215, Verse 2


shar((-o-aa))iin par madaar sahii
aise qaatil kaa kyaa kare ko))ii

1) on the basis of religious-law and secular-law, even/indeed--
2) with such a slayer-- what can anyone do?!


shar(( : 'A high road; the divine way of religion, the precepts of Mohammad, Mohammadan law (as derived from the Qor'ān), law, equity'. (Platts p.725)


aa))iin : 'Regulation, institute, statute, rules, law (as established by princes, in contradistinction to shar(( or the law of Mohammad), body of laws, code; enactment, edict, ordinance, canon, decree, rule; custom, manner'. (Platts p.116)


madaar : 'Place of turning or returning; axis; pivot; centre; --a place within which anything revolves, an orbit; a circumference; --a place where anyone stops or stands, station, seat; that on which anything stands or rests, or depends; ground (of), basis; --dependence; --the point upon which a question (or the like) turns'. (Platts p.1014)


The one who murders without a sword. (244)

== Nazm page 244

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, granted that nowadays in the world/age there is adherence to the religious law, and the government's law too is in force, by means of which a murderer is given the punishment of death. But what can anyone do to such a murder, who without a sword slays lovers? That is, with the sword of her glance or the sword of her look. (302-03)

Bekhud Mohani:

In this verse the word 'such' is extremely productive of meaning. This word includes however many qualities the beloved may have, and applies to them all. (440)


ISLAMIC: {10,2}

The sense of sahii is somewhat concessive-- 'no doubt', 'indeed', 'even so'; for discussion, see {9,4}. We can see that something is coming, but in classic mushairah verse style, we have no idea what. Even in the second line, which of course under mushairah performance conditions we are made to wait for, not till the end do we fully realize what's at issue, for the kaa keeps us uncertain till the last minute ('such a murderer's deed'? 'such a murderer's lover?').

Only at the end of the second line do we realize that the kaa is colloquial (meaning something like 'about' or 'in the case of'), and that another idiomatic expression, kyaa kare ko))ii ('whacha gonna do?'), the verbal equivalent of an eloquent shrug of the shoulders, is where the verse is really going. For another example of this idiomatic expression, see {214,11}.

But the second line offers another kind of pleasure as well. Since the first line is so broad and ambiguous in its reference, it could be read to correspond with varying emphases in the second line. Here I take them in Urdu word order:

='such'-- The laws can handle an ordinary murderer, but not one of her kind! And what exactly is her kind? The possibilities are numerous, and all of them relevant, as Bekhud Mohani observes.

='murderer'-- The laws can handle those who kill with knives, but not those who 'kill' with coquetry, as Nazm notes.

='what'-- There are ways to stop ordinary murderers, but can any device be found that might succeed in stopping her?

='might do'-- All discussion in her case must be tentative and hypothetical, since there's no reason to believe any solution to the problem would really work.

='anyone'-- All the king's horses and all the king's men, all the powers of Divine judgment, seem to be in vain when it comes to her-- so what's a poor lover to do?