|(2) A masnawi satirizing a Miser|
|[meter: = - = = / - = - = / = = ; with the penultimate long permitted to be replaced at will by two shorts; also, the first syllable may permissibly be short instead of long|
|*old Urdu page 1*; *modern Urdu page 1*; *critical edition page 1*|
|1) A particle of God's light is that (i.e. the sun),
By which the oven(-like dome) of heaven is illuminated.
|2) It does not take Him (God) long to turn
The sun and moon into the shape of bread and cheese;
|3) In an instant He has made
The tray of heaven full of star-like relishes;
|4) He can give ten thousand flavours a relish
To the taste of the tongue of mankind;
|5) With what tongue can one express his thanks?
What delicacies has He not created (for us)?
|6) In the garden of the world are fruits,
For eating and for giving to others to eat;
|7) There is no deficiency of His bounty
But what can He do if we are mean?
|*critical edition page 2*|
|8) Listen friends! I will tell you a tale,
Which one's reason could never credit.
|9) By chance, a friend of mine
Went to the house of a great man;
|10) Scarcely had he arrived, when suddenly
From all sides black clouds arose.
|11) When on his arrival, the clouds began to collect,
The master of the house became much embarrassed;
|*old Urdu page 2*|
|12) He asked (of him) neither his news (health), nor his affairs.
But, on his seating himself, thus questioned him:
|13) "Do you at all observe the wind?
And have you brought with you a cloak, or woollen shawl, or anything?"
|*modern Urdu page 2*|
|14) He replied, "(The coming of) this rain was not known to me,
Otherwise I should have brought something, O Sir."
|15) When he understood not this hint,
He (the miser) immediately made this matter clear to him;
|16) And when the drops began to fall,
He brought, and placed before him, a waterproof,
|*critical edition page 3*|
|17) And then began to say, "Is this indeed my fortune,
That my friend should come after so long a time,
|18) And the sky should pour down rain,
And, getting wet, he should have to return to his home?"
|19) What could that simple poor creature know of this?
And could he understand that hypocrite?
|== It must be remembered that these lines are the poet's interposition.|
|20) From simplicity he answered, "What occasion is there for this?
What! do you think that I will go so far, and (get) a wetting?
|21) May God preserve your Honor!
If it does not clear up, I will remain the night."
|22) As soon as this speech reached his ear,
His life immediately began to leave him;
|23) On hearing it he became so perplexed, that
He had no thought of his own relatives or of strangers;
|24) Towards whichever face he looked,
Heaving a sigh, he thus addressed him,
|25) "Why Sir! have the clouds thus overshadowed the sky,
Tliat the mention of stopping with me has been uttered between us?"
|*critical edition page 4*|
|26) No one would be so agitated by lightning,
As his state was by the clouds;
|27) Sometimes he would say, "Burn oil."
Sometimes, "Make a sheikh dundoo."
|== "Tel jalana" is, I think, the correct reading, not
"neel jalana." Oil is often burnt by simpletons and women, with a view
to cause the rain to cease.
== "Sheikh dundoo banana" is to make an image like a doll, of the shape of a man, either of cloth or straw which is fastened on a stick, and placed in the rain, to make the clouds break, and the rain stop.
|28) Sometimes he would say, "Look above,
Can the sky any where be seen?"
|29) Again, "If the sun could be seen,
What an Eed there would be in my house!"
|30) Presently someone said suddenly,
"It can be seen a little, if you will look"
|31) He replied, "It is true, my dear friend;
Oh! I offer myself a sacrifice to your tongue."
|== That is to say, speech or good tidings.|
|32) But when the gutters began to flow,
Then, storming thus he began to say,
|33) "Why do. you rain thus! O unfortunate one! if you do rain, then
That mountains and trees also may be drowned by it;
|== The miser is here addressing the clouds.|
|*critical edition page 5*|
|34) Look now! neither east nor west remains,
The whole world must certainly be drowned;
|*old Urdu page 3*; *modern Urdu page 3*|
|35) All from the fish to the moon,
Would that it might become a drop (sheet) of water!"
|== The fish on which the earth is supposed to rest, is here referred to.|
|36) In short, he tried his best (to make the rain cease),
But it became night, and the rain still cleared not;
|37) At last, hardening his heart*, he began to say,
"A difficulty has come upon me, and a very severe
|== That is to say, encouraging himself.
== This is a Persian proverb, of which the literal translation is, "A stone has come (in my way), and a very hard one." It means that the affair in hand is a very difficult one, but by patience it may be overcome.
|38) When he had finished laying the ins and outs (of his plans),
He commenced a friendly conversation with his guest;
|39) But there was no other discourse or talk,
In that place, save of the tradition, 'Visit intermittingly!'
|== In the time of Muhammad, there was a friend of his, by name Abu Harera, "the father of the cat," so called because he was very fond of cats, who used to come and visit Muhammad regularly every day; one day, the prophet, having got rather tired of his incessant visits said to him, "Zur ghibban tazdad hubban." Zur is the imperative of ziyarat, to visit, ghibban means intermittingly, or leaving one day between; tazdad is the aorist of ziyitdat, to increase, and hubban the accusative of hubb, affection. The miser in the same way is ironically said to ask his friend, whom he had not seen for a long time, to come less often.|
|40) When the time arrived for him to eat,
Feigning this excuse,
|41) He began to say, "Is anyone present?"
At that time the superintendent of the threshold gave him reply;
|42) On this he said to him, "Fill a waterpot,
And place it in the bathroom of the inner apartments."
|== Aftaba, from aftab, the sun, is a particular kind of ewer, made round, of the shape of the sun. In Hindoostanee it is called a lota.|
|*critical edition page 6*|
|43) In short, when he got up and went from there
He departed, whispering this into the ear of his guest:
|44) "Whatever you want to eat,
Call the superintendent of the kitchen and give him your orders."
|45) Agreeably to his commands, he
Immediately called aloud for the steward;
|46) When, after much entreaty, he came,
The guest asked him, "Is there anything now ready?"
|47) He answered, "There is nothing ready,
But I will go and search if there is anything anywhere;
|48) If there is, then I will bring it for you,
Otherwise eat me, I am at your service."
|49) The guest answered, "If there be nothing ready,
See! my friend will have a grain merchant!
|== A modi is a grain merchant, who supplies various articles of food to a rich man.|
|50) Go to him, and fetch some supplies from him,
And get something at least ready for me."
|*critical edition page 7*|
|51) He began to say, "Do you think he will obey me?
That fool himself sifts the dust;
|== That is to say, he resorts to many mean devices to get paymeut of his account, but still he does not succeed in doing so.|
|52) When his account is taken,
Then he curses the soul of that wretched creature;
|== The word should be "bure" inflected of "bura"; the meaning is, that as the modi gets payment with such delay, he naturally swears well at the miser. This meaning of "kisi ke jan ko rona" is worth special notice.|
|53) And the butcher also, when he comes,
Shows me his knife and cleaver (to frighten me);
|54) When I say anything to the vegetable seller,
Then I remain drinking my own blood;
|55) He thus argues with me face to face,
'Take in place of vegetables a pumpkin.'
|== This is a strong term of abuse amongst blackguards and ruffians; it is only used here for the play on "tarkari."|
|[== Here the critical edition provides an extra verse. --fwp]|
|*modern Urdu page 4*|
|56) The table attendants thus always abuse me, saying,
'Thou dost keep a greasy (bright) face, but an empty stomach;
|*old Urdu page 4*; *critical edition page 8*|
|57) Our master is a fool, who calls him a great man?
He is brother-in-law to the proud and foolish.'
|== Literally "jaws full of wind," meaning, proud and vain-talking.|
|58) The cook also abuses me, and says,
'Hold! we will cook your hash for you.'
|== That is to say, we will pay you off well for your behaviour to us. I have used the word hash for the play on the Oordoo "ash," which really means victuals, stew, or broth.|
|59) What necessity is there for me to say anything of the keeper of
And how he passes his time?
|60) There is no advantage to him from service,
And he too always abuses me.
|== This is a curious idiom; just as in English we say
ironically, "Thank you," so when an unkind thing is said, in Hindoostanee,
the person replies satirically, "You have given me a flower, i.e. abuse."
As for instance in the following line,
"Galiyan deke khud bigarte hain
Wah kya munh se phul jharte hain."
"Abusing me, you are yourself getting angry;
Bravo! what flowers are issuing from your mouth!"
|61) Still the right is with him also;
If he asks something to cook,
|62) Then he gets something to do indeed,
Viz., he has to preserve again the jams and pickles of his (the miser's) ancestors.
|== The miser was so stingy, that he never used them, hut hoarded them up; in consequence they moulded, and had to be re-cooked.|
|63) When I gaze and look after the baker,
Then that stupid ass thus addresses me,
|*critical edition page 9*|
|64) 'I will make interest with the superintendent,
And will contrive thy ruin.'
|== This should be "tikki," a small loaf of bread. The
baker says by giving some loaves to the Police officer, he will make a
friend of him.
== Another MSS. reads "pakaunga," instead of "nikalunga," which makes much better rhyme. "Palethan" is the dry flour laid under and over bread when it is rolled; this idiom is a term of baker's abuse, and arises from part of the flour falling down and being wasted, and made good for nothing; and also from its being beaten in the palm of the hand.
|[=Here the critical edition provides three additional verses, one of them with an ellipsis to show obscenity. --fwp]|
|65) In short, what shall I say to you, O friend!
He has given me this office, and I am dishonored;
|66) I have never obtained a brass farthing,
Without cause I am disgraced with high and low.
|67) If any poet passes by here,
Then he also ridicules me alone;
|68) Who can tell what character he (the miser) bears?
My own heart alone knows what he is.
|*critical edition page 10*|
|69) If his spiritual guide comes at food time,
He eats (receives) in place of food, abuse;
|70) It is not possible for him to be brought under control even by him,
Or that he should give him a particle of anything to eat but deceit.
|71) He will get up and go away in this same way, and take him in;
He will never even give the refuse of his food to a dog.'
|== "Jhute hath se kutta marna" means "to give a piece of bread, or leavings of one's food, to a dog." It is an Oriental custom to throw a little of what remains, after one has eaten, to the dogs; but our friend the miser was so stingy, that he would not do this even.|
|72) From his cook-house, the desire of the hungry will
Not possibly get anything but this,
|73) Let him withdraw from the hope of eating food here,
And even in the hot weather let him sleep his belly-full there (in the kitchen).'
|== The meaning of this is that although the kitchen should be exceedingly hot in the warm season, yet in this miser's house, as nothing was ever cooked, and a fire was never lighted, you would find it beautifully cool; and as this is a requisite for sleep in hot countries, you might sleep there at ease to your heart's content, or as vulgarly expressed here, to your belly-full.|
|74) In short, in his cookhouse, it always remains damp;
The noses of the cooks are always running (with cold).
|75) If, in his cookroom, smoke arises,
The water-caniers, filling their bags, come running (to put it out);
|== This implies that thc water-c:uriers are not only afraid of the house being on fire, but being accustomed to have no fire in the kitchen, from fear of the wrath of the miser, they at once run to put it out.|
|*modern Urdu page 5*|
|76) Some get up and utter the Azan;
Some open and show the Kuran (to the fire);
|== The Azan is the Mussulman call to prayers; it is believed
by them, that by pronouncing the words of the Azan, they will extinguish
== It is a common belief, that by opening the Kuran and holding it out, any calamity may be averted, even to the putting out of a fire.
|*old Urdu page 5*; *critical edition page 11*|
|77) Some cut and pull down the thatch of their houses;
While some run away, canying their cots and beds.
|78) There is no cooking in his house, as there is none to one who goes
to his aunt's,
And, in getting anything, the world is turned topsy turvy
|== An aunt is supposed to show particular affection, being
regarded next to a mother, and if you went to her house, it would be almost
an impossibility to persuade her to let you cook anything. as she would
give you everything you wanted. There is a common saying amongst natives,
"khana pakana khala ka ghar nahin," there is no cooking in one's aunt's
== That is to say, it would be put to great expense.
|79) When the circumstances of his cookhouse
Are considered by the fireplaces of every house,
|80) They throw dust upon their heads from sorrow,
And the wood burns from the fire of grief;
|81) The breasts of the caldrons begin to boil,
And the covers, covering their faces, commence to weep.
|82) Daily the cooks give vent to their complaints saying,
'Pray sometimes give us a command to cook something;
|83) After your death, how shall we be able to do anything to get our
For then we shall have forgotten our profession!'
|84) The scullions have nothing to do with the caldrons;
The palkee-bearers always go to carry away the baskets.
|== The meaning of this is, that the kahars or palkee bearers were never used by the miser to do their own work, that of carrying a palkee, but were forced to do the work of a common labourer or coolie, that of carrying earth in baskets.|
|*critical edition page 12*|
|85) In short, as the guest came at his promised (time),
And got nothing to eat out of them,
|86) From this shame the caldrons, one and all,
Lay upside down on the fireplaces.
|87) From separation from the caldrons, such was the state
Of the breasts of the spoons, that they became turned into sieves.
|== The kafgeer is a kind of flat oval spoon, with holes perforated in it. "Sena ghirbal hona" is an idiomatic expression signifying, to be pierced by the arrows of affliction.|
|88) Although the heavens had tried ten thousand devices,
Still the spoons could not unite with the caldrons;
|89) And though wedding after wedding always took place,
Yet the pestle had never procured an interview with the mortar.
|== For the purpose of pounding the spices.|
|90) Even if the dome of heaven makes a hundred festivals of Eed,
Still the fast of Ramzan departs not from his house.
|== The Eed is a festival of rejoicing, and the Ramzan a month of fasting, amongst the Muhammadans.|
|91) In short the kitchen of that household
Is jealous of the Abdar Khana;
|== The abdar khana is the house in which water, &c., is cooled, or an ice-house.|
|92) (That oven) from which the flood arose,
Was the oven of the house of his maternal grandfather.
|== It is said in the Kuran, that in Noah's time,
when the flood arose, an old woman was lighting a fire to cook her food,
when instead of fire, a fountain of water began jetting out from it; in
like manner, the miser's oven, instead of being warm, was always cold.
== The meaning is, that the custom came down from his ancestor.
|93) What more need I reveal regarding his secret deeds,
For, from even mentioning it, I feel abashed.
|== This is the vulgar meaning of "bharam" nowadays, although it is not given in the dictionary.|
|*critical edition page 13*|
|94) This fool has a son,
Who is the eye and light of his whole house;
|95) One day he committed this folly,
That he gave a feast to a friend of his;
|96) It was not a feast of dancing and pleasure,
For food there was but one dish, and no more;
|*modern Urdu page 6*|
|97) On this even, that accursed one so behaved (towards his son),
That he regretted and was much grieved (that he had given the feast).
|98) He (the miser) wished to disown him,
And also to give his mother her divorce.
|99) At last, people came and expostulated,
On which he thus spoke, addressing his wife,
|100) Oh! why didst thou not give birth to a stone instead of this (son)!
Would that this unworthy one had then been hung and died:
|101) O friends! a childless person is better than me;
He is my son, and yet so worthless.
|*old Urdu page 6*|
|102) His paternal grandfather, although he was a great voluptuary,
Still even he lived in the following manner:
|*critical edition page 14*|
|103) Viz., whoever was servant in his house,
His appointed duty was at night,
|104) To go wandering from house to house, begging scraps,
And, filling his wallet, to bring it to his master;
|105) The good pieces the master used to select and eat,
And, the bad, he placed to the account of his servant's wages.
|106) My ancestors made their money in this way,
And this unfortunate one is scattering every thing to the winds;
|107) I thought myself extravagant,
But he has turned out even more worthless than myself;
|108) He will waste all my buried money,
And selling even the bricks (of the houses) will feed himself,
|109) One day, of his great grandfather,
A very dear travelling acquaintance,
|110) Having cooked a khichri in partnership* (brought it),
And the two began to eat in company;
|== That is to say, dividing the expenses between them.|
|111) But when he had eaten one or two large mouthfuls,
Then my deceased ancestor, immediately becoming angry,
|*critical edition page 15*|
|112) Began to say, 'This partnership is not proper,
That I should eat a hundred mouthfuls and you one!'
|== Meaning that his friend was taking too large mouthfuls.|
|113) This was the conduct of my forefathers,
And in this house, feasts are ruining me.
|114) Well, whatever has been spent from my treasury,
That shall be deducted, from the pay of his private tutor.'
|115) O friend! you have heard the circumstance of this family,
Therefore do not again ask me for food;
|[== The critical edition provides another verse here, with an ellipsis indicating obscenity. --fwp]|
|116) If you are hungry, my dear soul,
Your slave's house is not far from this,
|== A polite way of saying, that although he could get nothing at the miser's, still if the guest would go to his (the steward's) house, he should get plenty.|
|117) Kindly put yourself to a little trouble, and step there,
And then whatever you wish, you can take to eat.'
|*modern Urdu page 7*|
|118) He (the guest) said, "May your house be prosperous!:
Your kindness is greater than this."
|== Than what he had already offered; another polite expression signifying, "Thank you, Ibelieve you would do more than that for me."|
|*critical edition page 16*|
|[== The critical edition provides another verse here. --fwp]|
|119) In short, that acquaintance (the guest) came in the morning,
And related all these circumstances to me;
|120) O friends! on such a worthy person, invoke
The curses of the Creator morning and evening.
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