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

Chapter 62

The Museum of Slavery


By Khurram Ali Shafique

The next landmark is the Museum of Slavery.

On the way is a scorpion-infested marshland whose gale is a fire from hell. It is a corner of perpetual night. A warning sign pointing in that direction reads: “Living a hundred lives in such a dreadful wilderness is better than one moment of slavery.”

The museum itself has been divided into a music hall, an art gallery and a corner of religion.

The music of slaves

Songs devoid of the fire of life storm the walls like a flood in the Music Hall.

Art Gallery

Masterpieces on display are:

  • a monk entrapped in the snare of carnal lust
  • a beloved with a bird in a cage
  • a king sitting before a dervish
  • a highlander with a bundle of wood on shoulders
  • a beautiful maiden on her way to the temple
  • a hermit sitting in the solitude of his cell
  • a puny old man crushed under the burden of old age in whose hands the flame of life has gone out
  • a musician lost in a strange and alien song
  • a nightingale bewailed and a youth torn by the arrows of the beloved’s glance
  • a child on the neck of his aged grandfather

The Corner of Religion

God is being worshipped here but the center of attention is the power of the ruler. The fetters are not on feet but on the heart and the soul.

You can see that the second zone of the Garden ends here. The Corner of Religion is the end marker:

End Marker of the Second Zone

The lord has made lustrous ruby from the blood of the hireling,
The peasants’ fields are desolate from the tyranny of the landlord—
Revolt! Revolt!
O, Revolt!

DISCUSS

  • How would you comment on the Museum of Slavery in the light of the ‘Poetics of the Garden’ (Chapter 11)?


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The reader is shown samples of art, music and religion of the slaves
Persian text