THE PORTRAIT OF ANGUISH
This long poem, in eight parts, each with a different cadence, deals primarily with the slavery of the Indian sub‑continent and the lack of proper efforts to gain independence. The first part shows frustration and disappointment at the helplessness of ordinary men, who are without the warmth of Khudâ. The second part deals with Man's inability to understand his own reality without Divine guidance. In the third part there is a hint to the poetic genius of ‘All«mah Iqb«l with which he resolves to infuse a new life in the inhabitants of India. It also shows disappointment at the political slavery of India and the state of helplessness as well as lack of struggle and planning for gaining independence. This is followed by an eloquent expression of the resolve of ‘All«mah Iqb«l to break the inaction and inertia of the Indian people. In the next two parts he deals exclusively with the ethical decline of Muslims in general and that of those of India in particular. This is followed by corrective measures in the next two parts. These measures consist of strengthening the struggle for independence and gaining strength for the same from the Love of God and ethnic amity among the different people inhabiting the Indian sub‑continent.
My story is not indebted to the patience of being heard
My silence is my talk, my speechlessness is my speech
Why does this custom of silencing exist in your assembly?
My tongue is tantalized to talk in this assembly
Some leaves were picked up by the tulip, some by the narcissus,
some by the rose
My story is scattered around everywhere in the garden
The turtle-doves, parrots, and nightingales pilfered away
The garden's denizens jointly robbed away my plaintive way
O Candle! Drip like tears from the eye of the moth
Head to foot pathos I am, full of longing is my story
O God! What is the pleasure of living so in this world?
Neither the eternal life, nor the sudden death is mine
This is not only my wailing, but is that of the entire garden
I am a rose, to me every rose' autumn is my autumn
"In this grief-stricken land, in life-long spell of the caravan's bell I am
From the palpitating heart's bounties the silent clamor I have "
In the world's garden unaware of pleasant company I am
Whom happiness still mourns, that hapless person I am
Speech itself sheds tears at my ill luck
Silent word, longing for an eager ear I am
I am a mere handful of scattered dust but I do not know
Whether Alexander or a mirror or just dust and scum I am1
Despite all this my existence is the Divine Purpose
Embodiment of light is whose reality, that darkness I am
I am a treasure, concealed in the wilderness dust
No one knows where I am, or whose wealth I am?
My insight is not obligated to the stroll of existence
That small world I am whose sovereign myself I am
Neither wine, nor cup-bearer, nor ecstasy, nor goblet I am
But the truth of everything in the existence' tavern I am
My heart’s mirror shows me both world’s secrets
I relate exactly what I witness before my eyes
I am bestowed with such speech among the elegant speakers
That the birds of the ‘Arsh’s roof are concordant with me
This also is an effect of my tumultuous love
That my heart’s mirrors are Destiny’s confidante
Your spectacle makes me shed tears, O India !
Your tales are admonitory among all the tales
Conferring the wailing on me is like conferring everything
Since eternity Destiny’s pen has put me where all your mourners are
O gardener do not leave even the rose-petals’ trace in this garden !
By your misfortune war preparations are afoot among the gardeners
The sky has kept thunderbolts concealed up its sleeve
Garden’s nightingales should not slumber in their nests
Listen to my call, O imprudent one ! This is something which
The birds in gardens are reciting like the daily prayers
Think of the homeland, O ignorant one !@ Hard times are coming
Conspiracies for your destruction are afoot in the heavens
Pay attention to what is happening and what is going to happen
What good there is in repeating the tales of the old glories ?
How long will you remain silent ? Create taste for complaint !
You should be on the earth, so your cries be in the heavens !
You will be annihilated if you do not understand, O people of India!
Even your tales will disappear from the world’s chronicles
This is the law of Nature, this is the order of Nature
Those who tread dynamism’s path, are the darlings of Nature
I will surely exhibit all my hidden wounds today
I will surely change assembly to a garden with blood-mixed tears
I have to light every heart’s candle with hidden pathos
I will surely create bright illumination in your darkness
So that love-cognizant hearts be created like rose-buds
I will surely scatter around my handful of dust in the garden
If stringing these scattered pearls in a single rosary
Is difficult, I will surely make this difficult task easy
O Companion! Leave me alone in the soul-searching effort
As I will surely exhibit this mark of the ardent Love
I will show the world what my eyes have seen
I will surely make you also bewildered like a mirror
The discerning eye sees every thing covered in veils
It does see the exigencies of the nature of times
You have not acquainted your heart with pleasure of dignity
You have passed your entire life in humility like foot-prints
You always remained entangled inside the assembly, but
Have not acquainted yourself with the world outside the assembly
You have continued loving the charm of material beauties
But you have never seen your own elegance in this mirror
Give up prejudice O imprudent one! In the world's glass house
They are your own pictures which you have taken as evil ones
Become embodiment of the wail of tyranny of life's pathos!
You have concealed sound in your pocket like the rue2 seed
Clarity of heart has nothing to do with external decorations
O imprudent one! You have applied myrtle to mirror's palm
Not only the earth even the sky is bewailing your imprudence
It is outrageous that you have twisted the Qur'«n's lines!
To what purpose is your claim to monotheism!
You have made the idol of self conceit your deity
What did you see even if you saw Yusuf in the well?
O imprudent one! You have made the Absolute confined 3
You are greedy of flowery style even at the pulpit
Your advice also is a form of story telling
Show that universally illuminating Beauty to your weeping eye
Which renders the moth highly agitated, which makes the dew weep like eye
Mere seeing is not its purpose! O greedy one
Some One has made the human eye with some purpose
Even if he viewed the whole world, what did he see?
Jam4 could not see his own reality in the wine cup
Sectarianism is the tree, prejudice is its fruit
This fruit 5 caused expulsion of Ö ÿdam from Paradise
Not even a single rose-petal could rise by sun's attraction
It is the longing for elegance which raises the dew
Those wounded by Love do not wander in search of cure
These wounded ones themselves create their own cure
The heart gets complete illumination by the spark of Love
The ñër's flower bed is raised from the Love's small seed
Every malady's cure is to remain wounded with Longing's sword
Wound's remedy is to remain free from obligation to stitching
With the Bekhudâ's wine up to the celestial world is my flight
From disappearance of color I have learnt to remain fragrance
How can the weeping eye refrain from homeland's lamentation?
The ‘ib«dah for the poet's eye is to remain 6 constantly with ablution
To what purpose should we make our nest in the rose-branch
Ah ! How can we live with constant disgrace in the garden
If you understand, independence is veiled in Love
Slavery is to remain imprisoned in the net of schism
Contentment is what keeps the cup submerged in water
You should also remain like the bubble in the stream
It is best for you not to remain indifferent to yours own
O apathetic person! If you want to remain alive in the world
Soul-invigorating wine is the Love of the human race
It has taught me to remain ecstatic without the wine cup and the pitcher
Sick nations have been cured only through Love
Nations have warded off their adversity through Love
The expanse of Love is at once foreign land and homeland
This wilderness is the cage, the nest, as well as the garden
Love is the only stage which is the stage as well as the wilderness
It is the bell, the caravan, the leader as well as the robber
Everybody calls it an illness, but it is such an illness
In which the cure for all ills and misfortunes is concealed
The heart's pathos in a way is to become embodiment of Light
If this moth burns it is also the assembly's candle
The Beauty is just one but appears in everything
It is Shârân, the sky, as well as the mountain digger 7
Distinction of sects and governments has destroyed nations
Is there any concern for the homeland in my compatriot's hearts?
Prolonging the tale of my woes calls for silence, otherwise
The tongue in my mouth as well as the ability to speak is
"Take not this meaningful tale as related by me is
The story was endless, but related with silence is"
1. Though the Chinese are credited with the invention of glass and ceramics Alexandar of Greece is reputed to have used a highly polished copper plate as a mirror. This is also used as an allusion to the mirror being represented as being perturbed in Persian and Urdu poetry. The last word is used because glass is made from sand.
2. Rue- This is a perennial evergreen European shrub, (Ruta graveolens, Family Rutaceae) . Its seeds when roasted crack and jump. The metaphor is used for a person who is restless in pursuing a just cause.
3. This is an allusion to the Holy Qur'«n 12:19. The traveller in the caravan who saw S. Yësuf. A.S. saw him as a man, perhaps as a source of profit by sale on account of being extraordinarily handsome. However, he failed to recognize his greatness as a prophet of God, which is the highest stage to which a human being can rise. By extending the analogy ‘All«mah Iqb«l means that we see only the ritual part in religion and do not comprehend religion's higher values, and by doing so we have reduced the absolute Truth of the Holy Qur’«n to mere rituals.
4. J«m- This is the abbreviation for the name of a famous Persian monarch, Jamshid who is believed to have possessed a wine cup in which he could see the whole world.
5. This is an allusion to the Holy Qur'«n 2:35‑39. Iblâs misguided S. ÿdam A.S. to eat the forbidden fruit on account of his jealousy and prejudice against him. This prejudice of Iblâs brought about the descent of S.ÿdam A.S. from Paradise to earth, which is sometimes described as a punishment, based on the biblical story.
6. This is the metaphor for the eye perpetually full of tears in the love of something sacred like God, or homeland, as in this verse.
7. Farh«d is called here the mountain digger. See Appendix II for Farh«d.