THE SPIRIT OF INDIA LAMENTS
The soul’s candle is quenched in the lamp of India:
Indians are strangers to India’s fair repute,
its manikins not intimate with their self’s secrets,
their plectrum plucks but rarely at their strings.
They fasten their eyes upon the past,
their hearts would glow from an extinguished fire.
Because of them I am bound hand and foot,
they are the reason for my unavailing laments;
they have estranged themselves from their selfhood,
they have made a prison of ancient customs.
Humanity is pained by their existence:
the new age is outraged by their ‘clean’ and ‘unclean’.
Have done with the poverty that bestows nakedness;
blessed is the poverty which bestows true power.
Beware of constraint and of the habit of patience;
constraint is poison to both constrainer and constrained—
the latter becomes habituated to patience,
the former becomes habituated to constraint;
for both the pleasure of oppression increases
and I can only repeat, Ah, would that my people knew!
When shall India’s night give place to day?
Jaafar is dead, but his spirit is living still;
as soon as it escapes from the chains of one body
at once it makes its nest in another flesh.
Now it makes concord with the church,
anon it turns entreating to the templars;
its creed, its cult are nothing but commerce,
an Antar got up in the robes of Hyder.
As the world changes in scent and colour,
even so its customs and usages change;
In former times it bowed before other gods,
in our days its idol is the fatherland.
Outwardly it is anguished for the Faith,
inwardly it wears the thread like the templars.
Jaafar, in whatever body, murders the nation;
this ‘good old Muslim’ murders the nation.
He is always smiling, and is friends with none;
let a snake smile, it is still a snake.
His treachery divided the people’s unity;
his nation is demeaned by the fact of his being.
Whenever a nation is devastated
the root of its ruin is a Sadiq or a Jaafar.
God save me from the spirit of Jaafar,
save me from the Jaafars of the present time!