|(5) A masnawi satirizing a Kotwal, or Chief Police Officer|
|[meter: = - = = / = - = = / = - = ]|
|*old Urdu page 1*; *modern Urdu page 1*; *critical edition page 1*|
|1) O friends! alas, where has that good government gone,
Which used to cut off the hand of a thief who stole a lime,
|2) And under which a thief who stole wood, used to be tied up,
And a thief who stole a cucumber, was put to death.
|3) The kotwal then had nothing to do with bribery,
And, in the world, one never heard the name of a thief;
|4) What safety and security was there not then in the city,
And how happily people used to pass their time;
|5) But now, wherever you look, there is a congregation of bad characracters,*
And you see thieves, robbers, and uchakkas.
|== "Jhamakka" is not given in Dr. Forbes' Dictionary;
it means "a gathering of ruffians, or a congregation of bad characters."
== "Uchakka" is given in Dr. Forbes' as a pickpocket, but this is not correct; it is derived from the verb "uchakna," "to snatch a thing, or take away a thing by force," and .it therefore means "a thief that snatches a thing, aud runs off with it."
|6) When I look at the roads of Chaori,
The highway robbery of Talaori becomes nothing;
|== Chaori is a bazaar in Delhi, near the Phul-ki-Mundi, or flower-market; and Talaori is the name of a place about ten miles from Kurnal, and is also called Azeemabad; it was formerly a jungle, till Azeem Shah, son of Alamgeer, populated it after his victory over the Sikh Guru, Gobind Singh. Both these places were celebrated for their robberies.|
|*critical edition page 2*|
|7) If you will listen to an account of the Faiz bazaar,
I will tell you, it has surpassed* Nardak (in robbery);
|== The Faiz Bazaar is also in Delhi.
== Lit, "It has cut off the ears of." The idiom "kisi ka kan katna" means "to beat or conquer any one or thing."
== Nardak is the name of a place, but where situated, I have not been able to ascertain
|8) One, who goes there for a brass farthing's worth of traffic,
Returns losing his pugrie, and beating his head;
|9) How can this help being the rule of the city,
When the kotwal is a Sedi kafur;
|== Sedi is an Abyssinian, and the title kafur (white)
is ironically applied to them, as in the Persian saying,
"Bar aks nihand nam-i zangi kafur"
"By contrariety they give the name of kafur (white) to a negro."
|10) How then will a thief mind his power,
When he regards him as a good for nothing creature;
|11) If he were a kotwal, then they would mind him,
But he is a petty pilferer;
|== Lit, "he is the thief of a mosquito's covering." It means that the kotwal does not hesitate at taking even the smallest bribe.|
|12) He has taken bribes from them already,
And malice has taken possession of his heart;
|13) And he is a strength to the arm of rebels;
He is a brother of thieves, and a pickpocket;
|*critical edition page 3*|
|14) Keeping blackguards at his door,
He has laid waste many houses;
|15) Not only are the Thugs subject to him,
But he is in confederacy with pickpockets too.
|== "Ant charhna" means "to come under the hand, or be subject to."|
|*old Urdu page 2*|
|16) On whosesoever head he sees a good shawl,
He regards it as the property of his own father.
|17) When his patrol goes round,
The player on the horn plays the following words,
|18) "O Thieves! listen to this brief story,
In the morning you must send me my share."
|19) His cunning companion, who is artful--
If you look well, you will see he is a pickpocket;
|*modern Urdu page 2*|
|20) And all those servants, who are his attendants,
Are each expert in the science of thieving;
|21) Pickpocketing is the profession of some,
Whilst some of these ruffians are shoplifters;
|22) To whosesoever house their master goes,
Then this calamity falls on the owner,
|*critical edition page 4*|
|23) That before the head of the house is on the alert,
They do away with his four-partitioned box and pan box.
|24) In short, they are so expert in cleptomania,
That they throw dust before his eyes,
|== That is to say, they deceive and take him in.|
|25) If for one instant he falls off his guard with them,
Then they take the clothes off his body, and cause him to weep.
|26) One day ironically he, to them all,
Thus said, "You are my sincere wellwishers,
|27) Therefore now whatever you steal from me,
Do not go to the market to sell it,
|28) But whatever the price of it may be settled,
Give it back to me for that."
|29) One of them, hearing this speech,
Began to say, "What can be better than this?
|30) When you have acted thus justly,
I also will make my petition, which you must pardon;
|31) This turban, which is on your head,
Two purchasers are anxious to (buy) it;
|*critical edition page 5*|
|32) They have offered me ten rupees for it,
Now be pleased to say what your Honour is going to give for it."
|33) Another said, "I that slave
Am not, who could do such a thing,
|34) That the master should not yet have taken the pugree off his head,
And there be a dispute about the price.
|== Meaning that he preferred waiting till the owner became
careless, and took the pugrie off his head, when he would walk off with
it, and it would then be high time to
settle the price.
|35) Having laid an ambush for the double shawl,
Last night I remained awake all night thinking of it.
|36) Take my labour somewhat into consideration,
And afterwards whatever you approve, that please give me."
|37) In short, this is the result of this conversation,
(That I (the poet) say), "Bravo -- Bravo! a wonderful kotwal."
|== Said ironically, meaning that he was a worthless fellow.|
|38) What shall I now say of the (state of affairs) in the city?
For every night there is a noise like that of the resurrection day;
|*old Urdu page 3*|
|39) At nights, the horn players play so uproariously,
That one would say, the angel Israfil had sounded his trumpet.
|== Israfil is the name of the angel who, it is said, will blow his trumpet three times at the end of the world; the first time, all will die; the second, all will be raised from their graves; and the third, all will be assembled on the resurrection plain.|
|*critical edition page 6*|
|40) The dogs, from the noise of footsteps, bark to such a degree,
That the dead awake up from their slumber of non-existence;
|41) There is no sleep even for the heavens,
And the eye of the moon always remains open;
|*modern Urdu page 3*|
|42) Then what mortal can possibly close his eyes?
For, from fear of thieves, sedition is ever wide awake;
|== The play here is. that things had got to such a pass, that sedition even, which should not be awake, was ever on the alert.|
|43) At night, thousands of guns are fired,
Or else the house of the banker would be broken into.
|== Iwould here draw attention to the play on the word "kothi," which means "a banker's house," and also "the breech of a gun." A breech-loader is called a "kothi dar banduk."|
|44) These ruffians are so hot on stealing,
That the reservoir of the bath even is broken into.
|== It means that it is broken into, simply because its name is "khizana," a treasury.|
|45) In the assemblies, of an evening, all old and young men
Sit with the apparatus of war by their sides.
|46) Nevertheless such is the case, that, for the sake of (robbing) the
golden turban ends,
Thieves are lying in wait standing by the candles."
|== The poet's meaning here is very difficult to understand; he intends to say that the thieves had become so avaricious and intent on stealing, that they wished to carry off the turban, or flame, of the candle, hoping that, as it was like the golden end of a turban, it might turn out valuable. The candle is also used metaphorically for a man.|
|*critical edition page 7*|
|47) O friends! lay aside the turban ends (flames) of the candles,
For, at night, the turban (disc) of the sun also is robbed, and not to be seen.
|== The poet here makes the assertion that the thieves rob the sun of his pugrie, or disc, which is like a turban, as the sun is hidden at night and cannot be seen. This fact being a certainty, he imagines the idea is rather clever, and cannot be contradicted.|
|48) From evening to morning, there is this clamour,
"Run, the thief is going off with my bundle."
|49) In the morning, when the dew falls on the rose,
It weeps for the bundles of buds (that have been stolen).
|== The poet's idea is that the dew, which is a comparison for tears, is weeping for the loss the rose has sustained, in the robbery of its buds. "Bukcha" is a bundle or parcel, and, according to the poet's fancy, very like a bud. The lines have been brought in for the play on "shabnam" and "bukcha," and to show that thieving had reached such a climax, that the robbers stole even a worthless thing like a rose-bud. It also means that the roses were weeping for the loss of their buds that had been stolen, or bloomed during the night.|
|50) How then can one keep one's property in one's box,
For thieves have a particular desire for one's clothing.
|51) Now there is no gracefulness in stealing,
For the thieves, having become so rebellious, wander about saying,
|52) " Who can be rough* and keep back (his clothes) from us?
If he will not give us his clothes, then what power has he (to keep them)?"
|== Meaning, "rude or uncivil," i.e., try and oppose them.|
|53) If anyone coughs at night in his house,
The thieves also bawl out thus at the door,
|== The cough is intended to intimate, that the inmates are awake, and the thieves had better go away.|
|54) "O my boy! how long will this caution continue?
Have the thieves gone away; or has the darkness (departed from the world)?"
|== Darkness here means dark night; the thief implies that if he could not get an opportunity that night, he would probably get plenty more.|
|*critical edition page 8*|
|55) Every master of a house nowadays
Is occupied day and night only in watching.
|56) O friend! if thou lookest at the mirror,
Thou wilt see that it also is on the watch in its own house.
|== The mirror's house is its frame, and, as images are reflected in ihe glass, it is said that stealing had reached such a pitch, that the mirror even felt anxious about its frame.|
|57) None remains unconcerned about thieves,
The frequenters of the tavern even cry out about them;
|== This they usually do when drunk, but the poet makes the assertion that they too cry out on account of the thieves.|
|58) Does not the holy man awake to do his penance,
Because he is afraid lest thieves should break into his house?
|59) When the people see this injustice,
They make their complaint to the kotwal;
|60) He says, "I too am helpless,
For brisk traffic takes place in this market of thieves;
|== "Kisi chiz ka bazar garm hona" is a common idiom in Oordoo and Persian; it means that anything is greatly in demand, or has reached to the highest degree of perfection.|
|61) When I go and attack these robbers,
Then I too lose my heart (hesitate) to attack them.
|== The kotwal says that thieving has reached such a climax
that when he goes and attacks the robbers, he himsef even steals, for
he steals his own heart, i.e. he loses it. The words "dil churana" have
only been used for the play on the word "chori," "theft."
[== This verse is not present in the critical edition. --fwp]
|62) Whom shall I beat, or whom shall I abuse?
Who is there that does not steal?
|[== This verse is not present in the critical edition. --fwp]|
|63) They, beating their drum,* with me settle,
Of my pugree the price, whilst on my head.
|== I.e., fearlessly, publicly.|
|*old Urdu page 4*; *modern Urdu page 4*; *critical edition page 9*|
|64) O friends! behold can my power do anything?
Look a little, in what (wonderful) places there are thieves;
|65) Can this wrong be effaced by a poor one like me,
When, in your own nobles' houses, chor mahals you see?
|== Chor Mahal is the secret apartment in a king's palace, or fort, and is reserved for the ladies. In forts there are also secret doors and windows, which are also called "chor darwaza," and "chor khirkee"; "chor maha" lliterally means "the thieves' quarter."|
|66) If you look at the fair ones also, I swear by God,
In their hands you will see "duzd-i-hinna."
|== It is a common practice with Indian women to dye the
palms of their hands with henna or menhdi leaves; they then close thcir
fists, and the menhdi on the lines of the palm of the hand is removed,
and white streaks are apparent in the midst of the red, which is considered
very ornamental; these streaks are called "duzd-i-hinna"
or "menhdi ka chor," "the thief of henna," and this is the wit of these lines. I would here quote two lines bearing on the subject.
"Un ke hathon men hinna rahti nahin do roz bhi
Haif urjane laga ab murgh i dost amoz bhi."
"The henna does not remain even two days on their hands
Alas! that the bird which sat on the hand and was so well taught, should now commence to fly away."
"Murgh i dast amoz" is a name for henna.
|67) Nowadays such mischief is going on,
That, in the house of God even, a gang of thieves* may be found.
|== Mischief here means thefts.
== The people who go to say their prayers, called "namazi," are here referred to, as they have risen early, which is the custom of thieves.
|68) Then how can anyone's things escape,
For the priest of the temple is a subh-i-kheza.
|== Subh-i-kheza means "early riser," and is also a name for a thief, who rises early in the morning.|
|69) Now let young and old men do me justice,
And tell me assuredly, what fault of mine there is in this.
|70) The position of stealing is exalted to such a degree,
That the Milky Way is a scaling ladder to the house of heaven.
|71) In this, that Sauda vainly prattles,
He himself commits the theft of meaning."*
|== The poetical term for stealing another's ideas is "sarka," answering to our"plagiarism"; it must be remembered that the kotwal is still speaking.|
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