The Republic of Rumi: A Novel of Reality
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The Republic of Rumi: a Novel of Reality

Chapter 32

The King of Afghanistan


By Khurram Ali Shafique

The enclave has been dedicated to Amanullah Khan, the King of Afghanistan. The dedicatory poem consists of seven stanzas.

1

The thirty-one year old Amanullah, the ruler of Afghanistan since 1919, has cornered the British in the Third Anglo-Afghan War and won independence for his nation by revoking the condition imposed by the British in 1879 that Afghanistan would have “no windows looking on the outside world” except towards British India.

Iqbal appears among those who are offering felicitations. He offers a gift of verses that match the lofty ambition of the youthful king.

2

The Poet comes in contact with the infinitude of Goethe’s mind, discovers the narrow breadth of his own and then discovers himself with the help of Rumi. He mentions Goethe to the Afghan king with due respect while complaining that unlike Germans who made good use of their thinker’s gift, the people of the East have not yet evaluated the message of their poet.

3

Arabs have lost their way in the desert, Egyptians are being drowned in the whirlpool of the Nile and the Middle East has been painted red with Turkish blood. Iran has nothing of its old fire except ashes and the Indian Muslim is indifferent to everything except earning bread by serving foreign rulers.

4

Afghans are the proud sons of mountains, whose instinct is more suited to democracy than any other people in Asia, but they are yet to acquaint themselves with the ways of the modern world.

5

“Knowledge is the virtue that abounds,” God has said. Europe acquired a new life by acquiring the knowledge of things and enslaved the East where souls still do not know the treasures hidden in their lands.

6

Devils roam around disguised as human beings. They are earning respect through noble pretenses.

Rumi, whose city of birth is now in Afghanistan, appears on the scene and says to the king, “The nemesis of every nation that perished in the past was that it mistook stone for incense.”

7

A traveler enters the Persian city of Ctesiphon and finds a porter to carry his luggage. When he tries to pay, the porter refuses and says, “It is my duty to serve. I am the governor of this city.” He is none other than Salman, the Persian companion of the Prophet, who has been made governor of the city after the Arab conquest. At night, he uses a stone instead of a pillow and sleeps more peacefully than most other rulers.

DISCUSS

  • Do you see reconciliation between matter and spirit, or power and love, in these seven stanzas?

  • Which of the ideals of the first enclave are getting closer to reality in the second?


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Since the new type of humanity is likely to be understood first in Asia, the enclave is dedicated to the King of Afghanistan.
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