Hearing the speech that lAT naresha delivered from pATaliputra in the campaign to snatch the rAjadaNDa of bhAratavarSha from the dasyus of chAchA’s party, we were struck by his usage of a farsi-laden urdu couplet which he had meant to apply in praise of how India and in particular the plains of Ganga had bravely halted the victory march of the invaders.
Hardly anybody has understood the couplet if we are to go by the commentaries that have been produced for or against the sense of history demonstrated by NaMo; most have ignorantly taken the couplet to be pointing towards the campaign of Alexander the Great, not realizing the true context of the lines.
Therefore this short note on this once well-known couplet from an urdu tome written in 1879 by a comrade of Sir Sayyid Ahmed Khan by latter’s inspiration.
vo dIn-e hijAzI kA be-bAk beDA
nishAn jis kA aqsA-e Alam me pahunchA
mazAhim hu-A ko-I khatrA na jis kA
nA ummAn me ThiThakA na qulzum me jhijhka
ki-e pai sipar jisne sAton samandar
vo DUbA dahAne me Ganga ke A kar
Above lines make for the 113th musaddas in the diwan written by Mawlana Khwaja Altaf Husain ‘Hali’, entitled Madd-o-Jazr-i-Islam (“The Flow and Ebb of Islam”), more commonly known as Musaddas-i-Hali. A musaddas is a monorhymed 6-legged persian meter often employed for reading mersiya, the verses of ritualistic lamentation of the Shi’a-s on Muharram.
The above quoted lines represent a lamentation of the poet over what became of that victorious march of Islam against which no obstacle could withstand anywhere in the world but which simply fizzled out as it reached the shores of India:
That audacious armada of the religion of Hijaz –
Whose insignia reached every corner of the world
Which learnt no obstruction from any fear
Which felt no hesitation in Persian Gulf or faltered in the Red Sea
Which valiantly crossed all the seven oceans
Oh, drwoned was that armada (of Islam), when it reached the mouth of Ganga!
This is the context and literal translation of the lines quoted by the lAT naresha.