Ki, mere qatl ke ba’d, oos ne jafa se toba Ha’e! oos zood-pashemaN ka pashemaN hona

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This is the 8th verse of Ghalib’s 18th ghazal.

Ki,  mere   qatl  ke  ba’d,  oos  ne  jafa  se toba

After killing me, she repented: she will hurt no one no more

Ha’e! oos zood-pashemaN ka pashemaN hona

What a swift repenting! qatl = behead, kill      jafa=cruelty, tyranny       toba= repentance        zood=swift, instant   pasheman=regretful, repenting

Meaning: After spilling my blood, my beloved regretted and promised not to hurt anyone anymore. What a swift repenting it was! How quickly she changed her mind! I wish if she had changed mind before killing me. The word ”Zood PashemaN” —quick repenter is a taunt; it has added a beautiful punch in the verse.

Finer aspects: This is a universally acclaimed and a beautiful verse. Ghalib in his verses avoid using the same word twice. However, in this verse, Ghalib has used word ‘PashemaN’ twice. Nevertheless, ‘Zood pasjhemaN’ is a phrase. Therefore, this repetition is within the rules of Ghazal.

Ghalibologists’ opinions:

Taba Tabai’s opinion: As soon as she saw my blood flowing, she shuddered: “What did I do”, she regretted. It didn’t take much, her be in rage and kill me; nor did it take much her to cool down and repent — the fickle nature of beloved. Possibly Ghalib used word “Zood PashemaN” – swift repenter to lampoon her. When situation went out of control, she thought of repenting and having mercy.

Aasi’s opinion:When she beheaded me, watching blood gushing from my arteries she shuddered and repented from further bloodshed. Thus, my rivals’ turn for beheading never came. What an injustice! Now, my rivals will live to enjoy her. (King Ashok spilled lot of blood, then repented, and became a Buddhist. Spared relatives of then slaughtered people must have wished if he had repented little early)

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