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the cinnamon peeler's wife

10.21.2004 at 4:56:00 PM


Sometimes Turanis looted homes
At others Duranis stole the wealth
Sometimes Nadar slaughtered the people
At others Mahmud made them slaves
Finally the game was won
By a refined nation of the west.

i have been accused of being an India-phile. whatever that means is a mystery, but sure i do have a passion for much of the culture and history of india. though i have never lived there for any extended time, i seem to have developed a relationship with this land of my ancestry. my last visit this summer was quite brief, but just rekindled my interests. be it the poetry, classical music, literature, food, or history- something sparks my fancy. anyway the issues of nationalism, identity, and immigrant/minority complexes will have to be the topic of a separate entry. when i have more time i will write about it; some things i learned from living in sri lanka definitely had me re-examining these issues.

the above poem is by one of the masters of Urdu poetry: Hali. also there is a translation- though much of it's power is lost in english; if you want a transliteration, just ask. something about this poem always speaks to me, i enjoy the language a great deal. additionally, his ability to take such complex history and distill it into a few simple lines of poetry is amazing. looking at it as a 'baazi' (game) that was won by a 'shaista quawm' (refined nation) is remarkable- he expressed more of international law in that one stanza than my whole casebook can. thanks to lala2000 for introducing me to the poem (though she currently hates everything to do with india).

Altaf Hussain Hali (1837-1914) is the actual innovator of the modern spirit in Urdu poetry. Hali's works include Diwan-e-Hali, Madd-o-Jazr-e-Islam or Musaddas-e-Hali (1879), Shakwa-e-Hind (1887), Munajat-e-Beva (1886) and Chup ki Dad (1905). Hali expanded the art of writing biographies with a critical approach in his biographies Hayat-e-Sadi and Hayat-e-Jaweed. Hali was the pioneer of modern criticism. His Muqaddama-e-Sher-o-Shaeri is the foundation stone of Urdu criticism. Khwaja Altaf Husain Hali was born in 1837 in Panipat. He was a student of Mirza Ghalib. He died on September 30th, 1914 in Panipat.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

what kind of freak posts a picture taken at some stupid research forum that took place in the hot hot french field house? you have no right pretending like you found that poem, after someone sweated over unintelligible history books for months. you are a sub-par indio-phile. you should put some amir khusrow or dagh up. hali?? i mean come on. i hate early twentieth century india for so many reasons. not that im a self-loathing indian or anything. but can i say pakistan zindabad.  


Blogger wanderer said...

lala i did attribute the poem to you. if you want khusrow or dagh go to urdupoint.com. lots of good poetry there. are you trying to kill me? every muscle in my body is rebelling against me.  


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