tuloo-e fikr – josh malihabadi
Dawn of Reason
This is not a conventional “marsia” mourning the death of Husain but a celebratory composition in the style of a marsia. The celebration is the “birth of reason” equated by Josh to the “birth of Ali” probably because Shia tradition has it that Mohammed called Ali “the door to knowledge/learning”.
The language and the metaphors in this “marsia” are too awesome to pass up even if some of the content is somewhat conventionally religious. I think that the composition can be enjoyed universally.
subah 1-16 and 17-32: Josh describes the dawn of reason, but he uses, the same “regular, everyday dawn” that you and I see and uses it as a metaphor. It is amazing to see the beauty of dawn that he is able to observe that escapes our eyes. He takes 32 stanzas to describe the beauty of dawn. They are simply marvelous for the range of metaphors, vocabulary, musicality and most of all for their sensuality. They are completely secular and one wonders how they belong in a “marsia”. But they are a pleasure to read and to read again and again. You marvel at the many ways in which dawn can be described. I have posted these in two tabs subah 1-16 and subah 17-32 for easy readability.
viladat 33-38: The next five stanzas make a transition. They say that just like this beautiful dawn there was another. A bright sun rose … the climax of this set of stanzas is the birth of Ali described in stanza 38.
mohim 39-52 and 53-64: Stanzas 39 through 64 are purportedly a mission statement for Ali. “rooh-e irteqa” – the spirit of progress is asking Ali to perform this mission. Alternatively “rooh-e irteqa” may be making a prediciton that Ali will do this. I have posted these in two parts for readablity, mohim 39-52 and mohim 53-64.
jashn 65-82 and 83-103: Stanzas 65-103 are an extremely beautiful and powerful description of the good things that happened to this world with the birth of Ali. They represent a powerful celebration and include poetic exaggeration that can be enjoyed for its lovely imagery and metaphors. Josh uses “wine” as a metaphor for the “wine of love of Ali” and describes the celebration in terms of saaqi, Khum, jaam and the like. The content is redolent with Sufi concepts that pleasurable metaphors are necessary to understand/feel spirituality – simple words are not enough. The language and musicality can be enjoyed fully in a secular spirit. I have posted these as jashn 65-82 and jashn 83-103.
tahseen 104-110: Stanzas 104-110 take a turn towards Karbala with a passionate tribute. I have posted these as tahseen 104-110.