Friday, May 09, 2008

"Ten Reasons Why India is a Great Land"
India’s languages and wisdom, according to Amir Khusrau
Excerpts from Mathnavi Nuh-Sipihr (in Persian)
... The Brahmans of India have greater wealth of philosophical thought than what Rumi had revealed to the World.
As nobody has tried to learn from the Brahmans, their learning has not been revealed to the world.
I have done a bit of research in this matter and, after winning their confidence, I have gained some insight into their secrets of learning.... In order that you may not have an iota of doubt, I shall put up ten arguments (in support of my preference to Indian Wisdom and Learning:
My first point is there is inestimable learning (‘Ilm’) in every nook and corner of India.
It is unfortunate that people outside India arc not aware of its arts and sciences.
My second point is that the people of India speak different languages. But the people outside India cannot speak in Indian dialects.The people of Khita (Chinese Turkistan), Mongols, Turks and Arabs are unable to speak Indian languages. But we can speak any language of the world as fluently and effectively as a shepherd tends his sheep. Our mastery over the languages is as assertive as is our capacity to conquer other lands.
But, no country has the courage to look at us aggressively.
My third argument is based on Wisdom. It is irrefutable and wise men will accept it. Scholars come to India front all over the world, to learn its arts and sciences. But the Brahman never went out of India to acquire knowledge. He did not consider it necessary to go out to improve upon his worth of learning or to seek judgment on it.
It is well known that a great scholar like Abu Ma'asir visited India. He was like a star from the Heavens and there was none comparable to him on Earth. He came to India and resided in the ancient city of Banaras for ten years to acquire knowledge from the Brahmans. He learnt Astrology so proficiently that he excelled all others. I believe, there is nobody who could have acquired so much knowledge as he did, though other scholars have also tried it at length. Whatever he has written, it is with the ink of India, that is, it is all due to the knowledge he acquired in India.
Now I shall put up my fifth argument to convince those who challenge me. In the Dimna-Khalila (Panchatantra), which is also an ancient work of India, there is only conversation of animals and birds. Had there not been an excellent flight of imagination in this work, the world would not have acknowledged its merit. Because it is such a marvelous and meaningful work, it has been translated into Persian, Turkish, Arabic and Dari.
This book was written in India and other languages have only borrowed it, in their own way. Can there be a better Book of Wisdom than the Dimna-Khalila? The scholars of the world derive inspiration from it.
My eighth argument is that Indian Music is overwhelmingly moving. We put fire of our heart and soul in it. It is known to everybody in the world that there is nothing like Indian Music (it is par excellence). Truly, musicians have come to India and they introduced some new features to it. They learnt Indian Music and lent tempo to it. In fact, they became proficient in this Art and made their own contribution to it. But this was possible only after they stayed in India for more than 30 or 40 years. However, the foreigners could not add anything to the basic principles of Indian Music.
My ninth argument is that our Music is so sweet that it captivates the wild deer and attracts it even in the face of the hunter's arrow. When (the) wild deer hears the sound of sweet music, it stands hypnotized by its effect. When the Hindu musician finds the deer standing helplessly hypnotized, out of compassion he bids it to move away.
My tenth argument is that no wizard in the art of poetry like Khusrau (himself) exists under the Sun. I have established India's superiority in the sphere of Knowledge and Learning.
Now I will proceed to describe the beauty of Indian languages. These languages are such that I have also learnt and gained something from the common languages of the peasants of India.I know it, I understand it, I can speak it and on inquiry I have been, to some extent, enlightened by it.... one feature is common to all languages, that is, each one has a taste of its own. Somebody claims his language to be the best, while the other thinks his own to be better than others.Everybody is proud of his own language and does not admit superiority of any other one. It shall be improper on my part to talk of Persian, Turkish and Arabic and beguile myself of their virtues. Everybody is proud of his own language and does not admit superiority of any other one. It shall be improper on my part to talk of Persian, Turkish and Arabic and beguile myself of their virtues. One should talk of his own country. As I belong to India, it is only befitting that I also talk of the things Indian.
There is a different language in every corner of this land with its own system and technique.Sindhi, Lahori, Kashmiri, Kubri, Dhur-Samundri, Tilangi, Gujar, Ma'abri, Ghouri, Bengali, Oudhi, Delhi and around it, within the boundaries of this land are the languages of India. All these are Hindwi languages, languages of India since olden times and they are spoken by the people at large. There is yet another language which is the best of all. It is the language of the Brahmans.It is known as the Sanskrit since ancient times. Common people do not know its usage. Only the Brahmans know this language. But every Brahman cannot claim to have mastered it.
Like the Arabic, the Sanskrit also has its grammar, definitions, system, technique and rules, and literature. This language is a pearl among pearls.
(Translated by R. Nath and Faiyaz 'Gwaliari')quoted from Indian Literary Criticism: Theory and Interpretation
By G. N. Devy (Orient Longman)
Also see more excerpts from Nuh Sipihr about nature, flowers and trees of India