AN EARLY PARTISAN OF GHALIB
Below we reproduce from The Muslim (Islamabad) of Feb. 25, 1980, a letter that originally appeared in The Mofussilite (Delhi) in March 1868. Ghalib was then the plaintiff in a libel case which had resulted from Ghalib^ polemics against the author of the famous Persian dictionary Burhan-e Qati'.
To The Editor, The Mofussilite, Delhi.
You have, I observe, in your issue of the 30th Instt., taken notice of the liable [sic] case now under enquiry before the Assistant Commissioner, Delhi, in which Mirza Asadullah Khan alias Mirza Nausha Ghalib, the most celebrated Persian Scholar and the Poet laureate of India, is plaintiff.
The following are some further particulars relating to the same; they will, I hope, be interesting to your readers and expose at the same time the acts of injustice to which people in the Punjab are subject. The small army of Maulavis and Munshis, alluded to in your issue, consists of Lala Piaare Lall, Headmaster Delhi Normal School and secretary Delhi Literary Society; Hakim Latif Husain, first Oriental Master, Delhi Collegiate School, and Maulavi Nasiruddin, first Oriental and Mathematical Master, Delhi Normal School; Hookum Chand, the famous Essayist and Persian scholar of Delhi; Maulavi Ziyauddin, Assistant Professor of Arabic, Delhi College, and several others of less note. The first four gentlemen [are] approved witnesses on the part of the plaintiff, the rest on that of Defendant. The evidence for prosecution was taken on Monday the 20th instant;
of the witnesses for the defence, only one, Maulavi Ziyauddin was examined on Tuesday when a curious instance of partiality was shown him by the court. Some interested party, said to be an "awarda" [sic] of the presiding Magistrate, whispered in his ear that Maulavi Ziyauddin was the most respectable and learned of all the witnesses, and requested the Magistrate to give him a chair on the dais next to himself while taking his evidence. This was done, although a practice followed nowhere but in the court of the Assistant Commissioner, Delhi. As far as my knowledge of law and the practice of Indian courts is, no witness ever so respectable, can be allowed to remain seated while giving his deposition. "Nek Hairanam vo sakht parishan". [sic] What rule does the Assistant Commissioner observe in that respect? The witness, to whom injustice and a gratuitous insult has been offered by this concession to Maulavi Ziyauddin, holds a very respectable position in society, was honoured with a seat at the Durbar of His Honour the Lieutenant Governor of the Punjab and took precedence of the gentlemen [sic] to whom such marked favour has been shown, and although not a very good Persian Scholar, he is in every other respect deserving of greater consideration.