|(4) A masnawi satirizing an Elephant|
|[meter: - = = = / - = = = / - = = ]|
|*old Urdu page 1*; *modern Urdu page 1*; *critical edition page 1*|
|1) Although the cupbearer has made me dead drunk,
Still do thou, O man of mean spirit! lift thy thoughts on high:
|2) Tell the pen to wax warm in writing,
That, on the pages of the paper, chains (of elephants) may be drawn.
|*old Urdu page 2*|
|3) My speech is more violent than an elephant;
On the tongue of my pen, there is a kujliban.
|== The name of a forest, in which elephants abound.|
|4) If I could make the elephant of poetical ideas,
Then I would show you the best of elephants;
|5) Then, whoever understands it, will shake about
And come and kiss the feet of Mr. Sauda.
|== Meaning that he will be quite surprised; natives, when
taken by surprise, shake abont and utter bravos. There is also a play
on "jhumna," with reference to the motion
of an elephant.
|6) Although any poet may object to this my claim,
Still one who is learned* will believe me,
|== This word means "a good judge of poetry."|
|*critical edition page 2*|
|7) For this is the most becoming form of poetry,
And an the science of speech* is contained in it.
|== Meaning "poetical ideas."|
|8) If I should relate the full particulars of the elephant of meaning,
Then it would be boasting, and it could be said, "Big words are coming from a small mouth."
|9) It always comes and is fastened at my house,
And its place of exercise is (on the plain of) the comprehension of the poets.
|10) If it should escape from tawarud,*
It would require a poet to bring it back and tie it.
|== Tawarud is not given in the Dictionary; it implies
two poets expressing the same ideas in exactly similar words without pre-knowledge
of one another. The following lines from Shaheedi will perhaps give a
good idea of the actual meaning of the word,
"Tawarud ke yih mani jab likha shiar uski madhat men
Mere mazmun se mazmun lar gaya hai nazm Kuran ka."
"(I will tell) the true meaning of tawarud; it is this, that when I wrote poetry in his (Ali's) praise,
The beautiful ideas of the Kuran clashed with my own ideas."
== Meaning, that if he overlooked an idea, some other poet would have to write it.
|11) He is overcome by it, who is crooked in understanding,
For fancy subdues his disposition.
|== Meaning, his opponents.
== Meaning, it makes him unable to take in any ideas. "Wahm" is fancy or fear of evil.
|12) It has been made so pure in its nature,
That it will never place its foot on the earth.
|== Because it walks only on the tongues and hearts of the readers of his verses.|
|13) What can one say regarding its light and rapid motion?
As far as you like to send your fancies regarding it on paper, so far will it go.
|14) The praises, which people utter regarding it, what are they?
They are merely the sounds of the bells for it.
|== Meaning, that it wore no bell, hut people's praises answered the purpose.|
|15) It never allows red lead to be painted on its forehead,
For this would be very unbecoming to its dignified position.
|16) What matters it, if it does not ornament itself,
For the witty still call it flowery, and ornamented.
|*modern Urdu page 2*; *critical edition page 3*|
|17) Although you cannot see its figure,
Still it is loftier than the height of the ninth heaven.
|18) Well! is there an elephant of this grandeur anywhere,
Over which everyone has so much command?
|19) My heart is its driver, my cries its spear bearers,
And the revolving of my spark-emitting sighs its charkhi.
|20) It never eats or drinks anything,
Nor can it ever be seen, though it be so big.
|21) Has any elephant ever such dignity?
But here not a word can be said.
|== Meaning that one is struck dumb with astonishment at its grandeur and greatness, and is unable to utter a single word.|
|22) In short, may God give one an elephant like this,
And not one like that of Rajah Parbut Singh,
|== Rajah Parbut Singh's elephant, as will be seen from the following lines, was notorious for its depravity. There is also a play on the word "parbut," a mountain, to which an elephant is so often compared.|
|23) Whose violence has raised such uproar,
That the whole country from Syria to Turkey, trembles?
|== The word "khatrapa" is not given in the Dictionary; it means "violence, roughness, wildness, tyranuy."|
|*critical edition page 4*|
|24) Is that wretch an elephant, or a dire calamity?
It is prejudicial to the welfare of its driver, and the (bringer of) death to the head of its master.
|25) Pray do not you think, that the stirrups on its neck are rose-coloured,
For that red you see on its neck, is the blood of mankind.
|== Referring to those by which the driver, who is always seated on the neck, rides.|
|*old Urdu page 3*|
|26) Who would call it the young of an elephant?
In the day of battle, it is a blue mark (to its master).
|== This means, that it is a sign of disgrace to its master.|
|27) At that time, taking its chain on its proboscis,
That merciless one rushes on its own army.
|28) If that blood-shedder becomes fixed in its obstinacy,
Although the spear bearers might thrust a thousand spears at it,
|29) And though a hundred thousand wheels and rockets be heaved at it,
Still the temper of that infidel would not leave it;
|30) It grinds the heads (of its victims) under its feet,
In the same way that the mill grinds gram.
|31) What power has the driver to quiet it?
If Sheikh Beena were to come even, it would crush him under its feet.
|== The name of a celebrated elephant driver, noted for the wonderful control he used to exercise over them.|
|32) When anyone sees that creature, who is like a file to one's life,
Then, lifting up his face to heaven, he thus says,
|*critical edition page 5*|
|33) "O Lord! is this a saw, or a proboscis,
With which this tyrant tears to pieces those oppressed by it?"
|34) In short, it was predestined for the rest to escape,
And God had determined to people Kabas and temples,
|== Kaba is the Muhammadan temple at Mecca, and "dair" a Hindoo place of worship; the words are here used to signify Mussulmans and Hindoos.|
|35) Poverty therefore fell on its master,
And that elephant now fasts severely.
|36) It gets its food in this way,
Viz., if it is hired to carry a coffin.
|== Meaning that it had become so worthless, that people would no longer ride on it, but only used it to carry dead bodies.|
|37) Its skin on its body now thus appears,
Like the state of a tent, of which the ropes have been loosely fastened;
|*modern Urdu page 3*|
|38) Every bone of it is so apparent,
That it looks as if every rib of it were a scaling ladder;
|39) It has neither fetters, nor wooden clogs, nor poles, to fasten it
For it is tied down by its own weakness;
|40) That unclean one is a victim to its own evil deeds,
And, night and day, throws dust on its head;
|== The Mussalmans believe the elephant to be an unclean
animal, and one unlawful to eat, as Sadi says in the Gulistan:
"Ash shato latifatun / Wal filo gifatun,"
"The goat is clean, / And the elephant unclean."
== Elephants generally throw straw and water over their heads, but this had become so unclean, that it threw dust.
|41) Its debility has driven away its fatness;
The being an elephant has left it, and its tail only remains.
|== That is to say, you could only tell that it was an elephant from its tail.|
|42) Such is the frailty that has overtaken it,
That its body is a curl of smoke;
|*critical edition page 6*|
|43) Still such fury remains in its heart.
That now it is like a firework-elephant;
|== The elephant.firework creates great havoc, and throws out crackers, squibs, and darts in every direction, so that people have to keep at a respectful distance from it.|
|44) There would be such a scene if it got loose,
For it would set everyone's house on fire.
|45) One day I* said to its keeper,
"If thou art thy master's well wisher,
|== The author has left out the particle "ne"; from this it would appear that formerly they were not so strict about grammar.|
|46) Then tell him to sell this creature;
And, for heaven's sake, let him buy a donkey to ride on in place of it.
|47) Is there any honour in keeping an elephant like this,
From riding which, there is danger to one's life?"
|48) He answered, "O my Lord!
There is not* anyone who will buy this cursed (elephant);
|== This meaning is not given in the Dictionary, although it is frequently so used, as in the Bagh o bahar, "jo lutf sair ka pa piyada chalne men hai, so sawari men ma'lum," "In going about sight-seeing riding, there is not the same pleasnre as on foot."|
|*old Urdu page 4*|
|49) This ill-formed one is now very ugly and unclean,
And its back is raised on high, and its belly hollow:
|[[== In the critical edition, one more verse appears at this point, though with an ellipsis that suggests that some obscenity has been removed. --fwp]]|
|50) There is no chance of selling it,
Unless a Shabbarat fortunately takes place.
|== Because people might then buy it to usc as a firework, which it is customary to let off on the Shabbarat, of which I have given a full acconnt in the Nusr-iBenazeer.|
|51) To regard it as an elephant would be madness,
It is an old balcony of some standing;
|*critical edition page 7*|
|52) Its four legs are the pillars under it (the balcony;)
There remains its two tusks, which are a prop for it in front;
|53) If it should sit down, then it would find it difficult to get up
Unless masons and workmen set to work at it;
|54) It is either a heap of dust or a pile of ashes;
They call it indeed an elephant, but it is an injustice (calumny);
|55) It always thus shakes its ears,
As if one were blowing up a heap of coals with a fan.
|56) This wretch is very heavy in its motions;
It is not an elephant, but a night of calamity.
|== This is a secondary meaning of "bajjar"; its primary sense in Sanskrit is a thunderbolt, but in Oordoo it is also used to mean a heavy stone, or anything heavy.|
|57) When it moves, such is the state of its proboscis,
That it is like a stick in the hand of a blind man.
|== That is to say, it walks very slowly, feeling its way with it, as it goes along.|
|*modern Urdu page 4*|
|58) If anyone call it an elephant, it would be a calumny;
It is a wonderful heap of calamities.
|59) At food time it says, 'I am an elephant,
Give thou me a full maund of malida every day.'
|== Malida, from"malidan," "to rub," is a hard cake of bread, broken into pieces, and mixed with sugar, and sometimes with butter. It is often given to horses to get them into condition, and is then called "ratab."|
|60) If one tie on its howdah, and take it anywhere,
Then it calls itself a turkey.
|== That is to say, it intimates that it is so weak that it cannot carry a howdah.|
|*critical edition page 8*|
|61) It is inauspicious and ill-omened to such a degree,
That Saturn would kiss its feet (as a mark of submission).
|== It is considered very unfortunate to commence any work, or start on a journey, on a Saturday; hence there has arisen the saying, "tumhare upar Sanichar hai," meaning "you are subject to misfortunes and calamities."|
|62) If you were to take and put anyone on its back,
It would be as if you had put him on some gunpowder, and blown him up.
|63) From the day that its post has been fixed in this place,
It has caused destruction to all elephants.
|== The word "halka" is only used with reference to elephants, as "katar" is to camels.|
|64) If it should die of itself, or anyone should kill it,
Then a load and burden would be removed from off the head of the world."
|65) In short, where this talk and conversation was going on,
There happened to be a wise man there listening to it;
|66) Such was the effect of these words on him,
That his circumstances became quite changed;
|== "Circumstances" here means "colour," inasmuch as the other people were able to tell that something had affected him, from. his changing colour.|
|67) I set myself to the unravelling of that (mystery),
And said to him, "Sir! is it all right?"
|68) He turned his face towards me, and began to say,
"What! have you not understood this yet?
|69) That this elephant, of which he (the elephant driver) makes mention,
Though he expects much profit from it,
|*critical edition page 9*|
|70) And (though), if you will reflect according to outward appearance,
You will see, that his existence depends on it in every way,
|*old Urdu page 5*|
|71) Still as its deeds are bad,
He very much wishes it to die;
|72) Whatever faults he has pointed out in that elephant,
Those I have found in my own dark soul;
|73) As much as he wishes it to die,
So much do I wish to cherish it (my evil desires);
|74) When I looked at myself that instant,
Then I saw that my spirit was less than the elephant driver's.
|75) The cause of the change of my colour, O friend!
Was this, that I have related to you.
|76) If you have found out (my mind), then your understanding is praiseworthy,
But if you have failed (to do so), then it is a pity."
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