Ghazal 219, Verse 2


;Dare kyuu;N meraa qaatil kyaa rahegaa us kii gardan par
vuh ;xuu;N jo chashm-e tar se ((umr bhar yuu;N dam bah dam nikle

1a) why would my murderer fear? as if it will remain on her neck!
1b) why would my murderer fear?-- will it remain on her neck?

2) that blood that from wet eyes, life-long, {like this / casually / for no particular reason}, moment/breath by moment/breath, would emerge


yuu;N : 'Thus, in this wise, in this manner; —just so, for no particular reason; without just ground, vainly, idly, causelessly, gratuitously; to please oneself'. (Platts p.1253)


dam : '[Persian] Breath, vital air, life;—a moment, an instant'. (Platts p.525)


dam : '[Arabic] Blood'. (Platts p.525)


That is, the blood that flows from the eyes doesn't even remain in my body-- as if it will remain on the murderer's neck! (249)

== Nazm page 249

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, why does my murderer, having slain me, fear? My blood hasn't even remained in my own body-- it has constantly kept on dripping from my eyes along with tears. How could it remain on the neck of the murderer? (307)

Bekhud Mohani:

By way of a joke/pleasantry he says that when his blood will keep emerging from his eyes for his whole life, by the time of death it will already have become finished. So when blood itself doesn't remain, why will the beloved be declared a murderer? When things are such, why would she fear the Day of Judgment? The late Mirza Dagh has also composed this theme well:

ba;xsh de us but-e saffaak ko ay daadar-e ;hashr
;xuu;N hii mujh me;N to nah thaa ;xuun kaa da((v;aa kaisaa

[forgive that butcher idol, oh Lord of Judgment Day
there wasn't even any blood in me-- how can there be a blood-claim?] (450)



Blood remains on the 'neck' in Urdu the way it remains on the 'head' in English ('his blood is upon your head!'); for another example of the usage, see {64,6}. Why would the beloved hesitate to slay the lover? Perhaps because she fears that his blood would be upon her 'neck', in the moral sense, and that she would be punished as a murderer on Judgment Day. The lover seeks to quiet these fears-- he actually scoffs at them (1a). The verse suggests two obvious lines of argument that he might be using:

First, as Nazm suggests, the lover's blood is so notably in motion, so quicksilver-like, that it's absurd to think it would remain on her 'neck'. For after all, it doesn't even remain in the lover's own veins, where it belongs, but spontaneously keeps dripping away.

Second, as Bekhud Mohani proposes, the lover's blood has kept dripping away for his whole lifetime, so by the time she slays him there would hardly even be any left-- so how could there be any of it still available to remain on her 'neck'?

But formally speaking, the lover is asking a yes-or-no question in the first line (1b): will the blood remain on her neck, or won't it? And when we come to think about it, the answer isn't quite so obvious. For his description in the second line shows us the relentless, self-willed, unstoppable determination of the blood. It emerges constantly with every breath or moment, 'breath by breath' or 'moment by moment', like an army on the march; it does exactly as it chooses. And might it not choose to remain on terrain as utterly desirable as the warm, white, soft skin of the beloved's neck? After all, perhaps that's what it's been seeking all along. Maybe the murderer is right to be afraid.

The casual throwing in of 'like this' [yuu;N] also makes it clear that the evidence is at hand: even as we speak, the blood-drops can be seen to be dripping along, like a column of ants, with every breath/moment. For more on yuu;N , see {30,1}. Moreover, the rhythm and sound effects in the second line add to our sense of the blood's regular, relentless movement: from kyuu;N to the rhyming yuu;N , from tar to the rhyming bhar , then from dam to the repeated dam . In Arabic-- and officially though rarely in Urdu (see Platts p.525)-- dam means 'blood', which adds one more excellent fillip to the wordplay.