Akbar Hussain Rizvi
popularly known as Akbar Allahabadi (Urdu: اكبر الہ آبادی )
(October 1846 – February 1921)
Akbar was a religious mystic: His was a medieval daemon, who distrusted worldly things, and believed that man should strive for spiritual union with God. And in criticizing materialism he stood out amongst his contemporaries as a noble and heroic figure.
I give below one of his poems (or ruba’i) which I have transcreated from Urdu into English, with the former in its Roman version following the latter:
Let go the selfish lust of this mean world:
And should you be a gatherer of flowers,
Let go the sweepings, then, of thorn and weed.
Without the Lord and Master of the house
The hearth and home are void of life and color:
Let God alone reside within your soul.
Dunyaa-i duni ki yeh havas jaane do
Gulcin ho agar tuu xaat-o-xas jaane do.
Maalik ke bighair ghar ki raunaq nahin kuch:
A—- ko apne dil men bas jaane do.
دُنیاِ دُنی کی یه هوس جانے دو
گُلچِن هو اگار توُ خآت وخَس جآنےدو
مآلِک کے بِغَیر گهَر کی روَنق نَهیں کُچه:
ا…. کو اپنے دِل میں بَس جآنے دو
The opening alliteration in the first hemistich underscores the poet’s revulsion in near-Miltonic terms: thus, the metapoeia “Let go the selfish lust of this mean world” recalls the resounding “Capricious, wanton, bold, and brutal lust is meanly selfish.” As to stanzaic form I opine that the spirit incarnate of the Middle Ages born anachronously in modern times must make do with tercets – and unrhymed at that!
Copyright © 2015 Azim Lewis Mayadas