Of Man and God

Mirza Ziauddin Akmal (1875-1965)


A distinguished linguist, Ziauddin Akmal – my grandfather – is seen above as a young man at the Oriental College in London when he wrote articles on Hindu legends, as well as on the origin of the Hungarian nation that were translated from English into Hungarian and published in the Budapest Naplo from time to time.  On his return to India, after spending several years in Europe and South Africa, he settled with his family in Lahore, his ancestral home, and among his many literary activities he wrote a slim volume of Urdu poetry, whence I have chosen this gem, “Of Man and God,” on the 140th anniversary of his birth. My English versification – followed by the Urdu and Roman Urdu versions – is, I hope, the beginning of my writing more about him in some other publishing medium as a multitasking world traveler, India-based industrialist and, in my opinion, a *Renaissance man.

Of Man and God there are Tales of old
That Signs of Mankind’s Ascent unfold:
As Light from the Lamp of Knowledge grows
So Man the Truth of his Being knows.

اِنسان اَور خُدا کی پُرآنی  کہانیاں
ہَیں اِرتقاےُ نوعِ بشرکی نِشانیاں
جُوں جُوں چِراغِ عِلم کی بَڑهتی ہَے روشنی
پَہچانتا ہَے اپنی حَقِیقَت کو آدمی

Insan aur xuda ki purani kahaniyan
Hain irtaqae nav’i basharki nishaniyan
Jun jun chiragh-i-ilm ki barhti hai roshni
pahchanta hai apni haqiqat ko admi.

*Excerpt from the 1938 Edition of Who’s Who In India
From the age of 17 to 39, a globe trotter with a love for adventure. Lived in London during the Sinn Fein outrages, visited Turkey during the Turco-Greek war of 1897; Hungary during students’ riots; Cuba during the rebellion of 1899; and South Africa during the Boer War and the Zulu rebellion. For many years a cigarette manufacturer, abroad and in India. (At the time of this article), he was General Manager and Technology Expert of the Hyderabad Deccan Cigarette Factory. A believer in the militarization of the British Empire as the only safe-guard of world peace, and a writer of pamphlets and books on the subject.

Copyright © Azim Lewis Mayadas 2015

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