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

Chapter 5

Enter the Garden

By Khurram Ali Shafique

Iqbal sometimes referred to his work as “bagh-i-sukhan”, which means the garden of poetry. Is it possible to extend this metaphor so that instead of “reading” a poem we treat it like a tree which bears lines and verses instead of leafs and flowers? Can we visit the mountains, deserts, palaces, wells and prisons in these writings as if they were real places, and look for Joseph there?

We live in an age where we regularly “visit” pages, browse through “sites” that are html code rather than sand and stone, and open and exit “windows” that are not the type that could be fixed in the wall of a room. We live in an age of virtual reality, so this book is going to present the writings of Iqbal as a gigantic Garden of Poetry:

  • The nine books of poetry have become nine “enclaves”
  • Iqbal’s work of prose is now a university at the far end of the Garden
  • His political address will be a souvenir that can be kept by the visitor

Iqbal’s Joseph was not for his own age. Was he for our age? Remember the five clues and see if you can find him here.

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Here, the reader is given five clues for finding Joseph in the works of Iqbal (presented here as a virtual reality called the Garden of Poetry.

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