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

Chapter 42

The Brotherhood of the Tavern


By Khurram Ali Shafique

Ameer Khusrau, the legendary poet-musician sent by an Indian king to placate the anger of Bu Ali Qalandar, was a disciple of the great Sufi master Nizamuddin Auliya. He is buried in the vicinity of his master’s tomb in Delhi and so is the later poet Mirza Ghalib. A friend, who shall later publish an account of Rumi’s visitation to Iqbal, is the present grand master of this circle.

Iqbal visits the tomb of Auliya and asks him to pray for him. “Pray that no heart may be hurt by the nib of my pen and my own heart remains free of malice against anyone in the whole world.” Then he leaves for Europe for higher education.

The Inconstant Lover

Once again, Iqbal is accused of contradictions. This time, his answer is different to what he said to a neighbor some time ago. He says, “My heart is a diamond capable of reflecting a different shade on each side.”

An Evening
(By the Neckar at Heidelberg)

Nature is meditating. Moonlight, hills, trees and birds are all silent and the caravan of stars moves on without making any noise. The magic of silence has turned the flow of the River Neckar into a calm so deep that Iqbal asks his heart to lay still, embrace its grief and fall asleep like the rest of the creation.

Sicily

The dark night spreads over the ocean and from his ship Iqbal makes out the skyline of Sicily. He thinks about the bygone days when this island was the adopted home of the desert-dwelling Arabs “who brought earth-quakes to the courts of emperors.”

Joseph, Time, emperors, and Iqbal as a Sufi: have the clues come together?

‘March 1907’

The lion that leapt out of the desert and overthrew the Great Roman Empire is about to wake up again. Angels bring this vision to Iqbal and he becomes full of passionate intensity.

“It is now the age of openness,” he declares. “Now Beauty shall be revealed to all and the secret concealed by silence shall come out. O people of the West! Your civilization shall commit suicide with its own dagger, for a nest built on a weak branch cannot last long.”

A Saki mentions this to others in the circle, and the sage of the tavern remarks about Iqbal, “He has a big mouth and shall be disgraced!”

Has the trip to Europe provided him with some missing links in understanding Joseph so that he is now overwhelmed at his discovery? He might have been the greatest living poet of his language and well-acquainted with seven more but the secret he wanted to share had no name in any language of the world.

DISCUSS

  • What connection can you see between the four poems summarized in this chapter?


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By March 1907, the Poet was ready to say everything but the secret he wanted to share had no name in any language of the world.
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