D E D I C A T E D ,
TOKEN OF SINCERE ESTEEM AND AFFECTION,
MY DEAR AND AGED GRANDFATHER,
MAJOR M. H. COURT,
MIRZA RAFI-OOS-SAUDA, from whose works these Selections are taken, was originally
an inhabitant of Shahjahanabad, and flourished during the reign of
Muhammad Shah, 1150 A.H. i.e. 1739 A.D. He was a contemporary of Meer
Dard and Meer Takki [Mir], the two most celebrated poets of that age,
and, although the poetical ideas of these. two latter poets may be
considered more elegant and refined than those of Sauda, still in
loftiness of thought, originality, and daring poetical exaggerations,
he by far surpasses them. He was a perfect master of the idioms of
the Oordoo language, and was considered the Poet Laureate, or Malikoosh
Shuara, of his age. Persian he wrote well and idiomatically, but no
poetical work of his in that language has been found.
Khwaja Muhammad Ali Hazeen, (of whom I have given a short account in
one of my notes) greatly admired and praised the readiness with which Sauda
improvised, and the following anecdote of his quickness is given.
"When various poets were wont to recite their verses before
Khwaja Ali Hazeen, his attendants, who were well-educated, sharp, and clever,
would repeat those very verses word by word, and declare they were not
the original compositions of those poets. Sauda was determined that he
should not be treated in this way when introduced to the Sheikh, so when
asked to recite some of his verses, he repeated the following couplet in
Hindee Oordoo, which they did not comprehend and therefore could not repeat:
'Sawan ke badalon ki tarah se bhare hue,
Ye nain wuh hain jin se jangal hare hue.'
'Like as the clouds of the month of Sawan are filled with water,
So are these eyes also those by which the forests have been made green.'
Meaning that his eyes were always full of tears, to such a degree, that
they kept the forests green and verdant.
The attendants were confounded and unable to understand him on account
of the many Oordoo idioms and Sanscrit words that occurred, and could not
repeat them, and therefore were obliged to ask Sauda to explain it."
Shortly after this, Sauda went to Lucknow during the reign of Asaf-ood-daulah,
where he retained his high reputation as Poet Laureate, and there he had
his celebrated dispute with Mirza Fidwi, narrated in the sixth Masnawi
in this Selection. His writings are numerous, but the best are to be found
in what is wrongly called the "Kullyat" or "Complete Works" of Sauda, and
it is from that work these Selections for the High Proficiency Examination
in Oordoo are taken. With the ex:ception of the two last poems they are
all satires; the ninth being a satirical tale of a devotee who returned
after starting on a pilgrimage to Mecca; while the tenth and last is an
elegy on Imam Kasim, of whom I have also given an account in my notes.
In my opinion, this book is by far the most difficult of the four chosen
for this Examination, the allusions being so very obscure, while many of
the idioms have become almost obsolete. I trust, however, the translation
may be of some assistance to students, though owing to great press of work,
I feel it is far from being as perfect as I should have wished it to have
M. H. COURT, CAPT.,
A.D.C. and Officiating Personal Interpreter
to H. E. the Commander-in-Chief.
29th April 1872.