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)/1/
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
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
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
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.