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

Chapter 45

Shakespeare


By Khurram Ali Shafique

Next is a serene monument, emanating an irresistible charm in its simple perfection. It is dedicated to Shakespeare.

A solitary flower stands outside. The Flower Princess must have visited the monument and left a footprint on which the dewdrop fell as the tear of a sufferer. That’s why there is not a bunch of flowers but just a solitary one. The private tribulations of Iqbal’s heart and his agony at not being able to tell the secret have all been transmuted into this flower.

“O Flower! Mend your torn garment before you worry about the nightingale’s bleeding heart,” the voice comes as a flashback. “Detach yourself from the domain of color and perfume if you wish to remain untouched by the autumn.” So, he detached himself from the temporal world for the Garden to be still green when you come here? After all, his Joseph was for your market.

The Shakespeare Monument is a compact structure of seven couplets. The biography of Iqbal’s mind ends here. From this point onward all expression is going to be for the sole purpose of facilitating your discoveries. The purpose of the Garden was not to “hide” Joseph but to “reveal” him, since he is a secret that cannot be learnt except by solving the kind of mystery presented here.

The Shakespeare Monument

“Make thee another self for love of me, that beauty may live in thine or thee,” you hear this but Iqbal didn’t say it. Then you hear another voice, soft as if coming from your heart.

The fourteen lines match the number in a Shakespearean sonnet. They may be read as seven couplets corresponding to the seven steps of the inner child (with which you have become familiar) and also as an impressionistic biography of Shakespeare’s genius:

The river’s flow mirrors the red glow of dawn,
The quiet of the evening mirrors the evening’s song;
The rose leaf mirrors spring’s beautiful cheek;
The chamber of the cup mirrors the coquettish wine;
Beauty mirrors Truth, the heart mirrors Beauty;
The beauty of your speech mirrors the human heart.
Life finds perfection in your sky soaring thought:
Was your luminous nature the goal of Life?

When the eye looked around to see you,
It saw the sun hidden in its own radiance.
You were hidden from the eyes of the world,
But with your own eyes you saw the world exposed and bare.
Nature guards its mysteries so jealously,
It will never again create one who knows so many secrets.

DISCUSS

  • Why has the Shakespeare Monument been chosen as the spot where the biography of Iqbal’s mind should come to end?

  • What significance can be attributed to Shakespeare in the light of the last two lines of the poem?


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The English playwright is recognized as the equivalent of Mawlana Rumi in the Garden.
Urdu text