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

Chapter 50

The Temple of a New David


By Khurram Ali Shafique

When the Children of Israel left Egypt with Moses, their minds were stained with the effects of slavery. An entire generation had to pass before the newer folks, brought up in freedom, could inherit the Promised Land. This youth were represented by David, who slew the giant Goliath with a slingshot and later received the gift of Psalms from God. The Psalms of David, then, was Divine revelation especially meant for washing away the traces of servitude from souls and empowering them to become rulers on their own lands.

The fourth enclave, which now lies before you, is titled the Persian Psalms, apparently aiming to wash away the effects of modern political slavery.

“At times a straw becomes the screen for my eyes though at times I have seen both worlds with just a look,” says Iqbal as he welcomes you in the new enclave. “The Valley of Love is a long way away and yet, at times, the journey of a hundred years is covered in a sigh. Persist in your search and do not let go of the hem of hope: there is a treasure that, at times, you will find by the roadside.”

The caravan that came to the well where Joseph was hidden found him in this manner, i.e. by the roadside, but the travelers didn’t know his value and sold him away for a trifling price. Iqbal and Rumi do not want this to happen to their Joseph (“Even if the wolves take away our Joseph it is better than his getting sold to the unworthy”). Hence a note of caution has been offered here.

The first structure you see in the present enclave is the Temple of Modern David. It consists of two chambers containing 56 and 75 poems respectively. Iqbal takes you to the first chamber and says, “Passing over outdoor matters, I have spoken of inside matters: how like a Qalandar I have said things that had never been said before!”

DISCUSS

  • This is the first time that Iqbal has called himself a qalandar. What could be the significance?

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The reader enters the fourth enclave, Persian Psalms (1927), the first two parts of which form the Temple of a New David.
Persian text