Source: The text was provided for this website by the translator, August 2006; updated by him with revisions, July 2014

Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib

Ghalib's Taqriz on Syed Ahmad Khan Arif Jang's edition of A'in-e Akbari
(not accepted by Syed Ahmad Khan for publication) (1855-56)

Translated from the Persian by Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, August 2006

Good news my friends, this ancient book's door
Is now open, because of the Syed's grace and fortune,


The eye began to see, the arm found strength
That which was wrapped in ancient clothes, now put on a new dress.


And this idea of his, to establish its text and edit the A'in
Puts to shame his exalted capability and potential,


He put his heart to a task and pleased himself
But did something like freeing a servant who was already free.


One who isn't capable of admiring his quality
Would no doubt praise him for this task,


For such a task, of which this book is the basis
Only an hypocrite can offer praise.


I, who am the enemy of pretence
And have a sense of my own truthfulness,


If I don't give him praise for this task
It's proper that I find occasion to praise.

  I have nothing to say to the perverse
None know what I know of arts and letters,


In the whole world, this merchandise has no buyer.
What profit could my Master hope from it?


It should be said, it's an excellent inventory
So what's there to see that's worth seeing?


And if you talk with me of Laws and Rules
Open your eyes, and in this ancient halting-place


Look at the Sahibs of England.
Look at the style and practice of these,


See what Laws and Rules they have made for all to see
What none ever saw, they have produced.


Science and skills grew at the hands of these skilled ones
Their efforts overtook the efforts of the forebears.


This is the people that owns the right to Laws and Rules
None knows to rule a land better than they,


Justice and Wisdom they've made as one
They have given hundreds of laws to India.


The fire that one brought out of stone
How well these skilled ones bring out from straw!


What a spell have they struck on water
That a vapour drives the boat in water!


Sometimes the vapour takes the boat down the sea
Sometimes the vapour brings down the sky to the plains.


Vapour makes the sky-wheel go round and round
Vapour is now like bullocks, or horses.


Vapour makes the ship speed
Making wind and wave redundant.


Their instruments make music without the bow
They make words fly high like birds:


Oh don't you see that these wise people
Get news from thousands of miles in a couple of breaths?


They inject fire into air
And the air glows like embers,


Go to London, for in that shining garden
The city is bright in the night, without candles.


Look at the businesses of the knowledgeable ones
In every discipline, a hundred innovators!


Before the Laws and Rules that the times now have
All others have become things of yesteryears,


Wise and sensitive and prudent one, does your book
Have such good and elegant Laws?


When one sees such a treasure house of gems
Why should one glean corn from that other harvest?


Well, if you speak of its style, it's good
No, it's much better than all else that you seek


But every good always has a better too
If there's a head, there's also a crown for it.


Don't regard that Generous Source as niggardly
It's a Date-Palm whose fruit drops like sweet light,


Worshipping the Dead is not an auspicious thing
And wouldn't you too think that it's no more than just words?


The Rule of silence pleases my heart, Ghalib
You spoke well doubtless, not speaking is well too.


Here in this world your creed is to worship all the Prophet's children,
Go past praising, your Law asks you to pray:


For Sd Ahmad Khan-e Arif Jang
Who is made up entirely of wisdom and splendour


Let there be from God all that he might wish for
Let an auspicious star lead all his affairs.


/1/ Kulliyat-e Ghalib Farsi, Vol. I, ed. Sayyid Murtaza Husain Fazil Lakhnavi. Lahore: Majlis Taraqqi-e Adab, 1967. Pp.314-318.

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