Taking Issue & Allah’s Answer
(Shikwa & Jawaab-e-Shikwa)
Penguin Modern Classics
Advance information about an an elegant contemporary translation of Iqbal’s
two most important and controversial poems 'Shikwa and Jawaab-e-Shikwa'.
‘His couplets urge us to live dangerously.
We are to be stone, not glass;
diamonds, not dewdrops;
tigers, not sheep...’
E. M. Forster
When Muhammad Iqbal first recited Shikwa (Taking Issue) in 1909, his audience was enraged by his effrontery. Iqbal, in his lament, took issue with Allah directly, audaciously implicating Him for the sorry state of Muslims worldwide and ruing the lost glory of Islam.
In recompense, Iqbal composed Jawaab-e-Shikwa (Allah's Answer) in 1913. Here, Allah responds to the poet, first berating his community, then offering hope for Islam in the world. Iqbal's mellifluous words greatly assuaged those angered earlier.
Over time, the poems have found their place in the canon of South Asian literature, and throough recitation, repetition and selective use, have forwarded a variety of agendas in the subcontinent.
In this elegant translation by Mustansir Dalvi, these classics by the most influential poet of his generation come alive once again in a language that is contemporary and immediate.
Muhammad Iqbal(1877-1938) is best remembered in India for ‘Saare jahaan se achchha’, recited to this day as an alternate anthem. A preeminent poet of India in the early twentieth century, he eulogised the land and its peoples with his mellifluous verse.
He published several collections, including Bang-e-dara (1924), Javed-nama (1932) and Baale-Jibreel (1935). In his later years he became the voice of Islam in India, advocating its causes through his writings, particularly ‘The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam' (1930), his poetry and public speeches.
Mustansir Dalvi is a poet and architect based in Bombay.
The Urdu text is present along the English translation in Roman transliteration
Category: Modern Classics/ Poetry
Scheduled date of Publication: May 2012