The King of Afghanistan
The enclave has been dedicated to Amanullah Khan,
the King of Afghanistan. The dedicatory poem consists of seven stanzas.
The thirty-one year old Amanullah, the ruler of
Afghanistan since 1919, has cornered the British in the Third
Anglo-Afghan War and won independence for his nation by revoking
the condition imposed by the British in 1879 that Afghanistan
would have “no windows looking on the outside world”
except towards British India.
Iqbal appears among those who are offering felicitations.
He offers a gift of verses that match the lofty ambition of the
The Poet comes in contact with the infinitude of
Goethe’s mind, discovers the narrow breadth of his own and
then discovers himself with the help of Rumi. He mentions Goethe
to the Afghan king with due respect while complaining that unlike
Germans who made good use of their thinker’s gift, the people
of the East have not yet evaluated the message of their poet.
Arabs have lost their way in the desert, Egyptians
are being drowned in the whirlpool of the Nile and the Middle
East has been painted red with Turkish blood. Iran has nothing
of its old fire except ashes and the Indian Muslim is indifferent
to everything except earning bread by serving foreign rulers.
Afghans are the proud sons of mountains, whose instinct
is more suited to democracy than any other people in Asia, but
they are yet to acquaint themselves with the ways of the modern
“Knowledge is the virtue that abounds,”
God has said. Europe acquired a new life by acquiring the knowledge
of things and enslaved the East where souls still do not know
the treasures hidden in their lands.
Devils roam around disguised as human beings. They
are earning respect through noble pretenses.
Rumi, whose city of birth is now in Afghanistan,
appears on the scene and says to the king, “The nemesis
of every nation that perished in the past was that it mistook
stone for incense.”
A traveler enters the Persian city of Ctesiphon
and finds a porter to carry his luggage. When he tries to pay,
the porter refuses and says, “It is my duty to serve. I
am the governor of this city.” He is none other than Salman,
the Persian companion of the Prophet, who has been made governor
of the city after the Arab conquest. At night, he uses a stone
instead of a pillow and sleeps more peacefully than most other
Do you see reconciliation between matter
and spirit, or power and love, in these seven stanzas?
Which of the ideals of the first enclave
are getting closer to reality in the second?