12 SOCIAL SCIENTIST
Hafiz Shirazi' (1312-1387-89)
It has taken six hundred years for Hafiz Shirazi to travel from Iran to Bengal. Sultan Ghaysuddin son of Sultan Sikandar of Bengal who ascended the throne in 1366-67 had invited Hafiz to his court. The poet who had declined an earlier invitation from Mahmud Shah Behmani of the Deccan did not care to travel such a long distance, and sent a ghazal to Sultan of Bengal in which the following couplets were included:
All the parrots of India will crack sugar,
Through this Persian Candy which is going to Bengal;
See how poetry travels through time and space,
See this child of one night covering the distance of one year,
Hafiz, be not heedless of enthusiasm of the court of Sultan
For thy affair will be furthered by thy lamentation.
The ghazal was enjoyed by the Sultan and courtiers but did not reach the people of Bengal. And it could not reach them. They spoke Bengali. Now the eminent Bengali poet, Subhash Mukhopadhyay, has translated the Odes of Hafiz from Persian into Bengali. Here the sweetness and the beauty of tlie souls of two distant poets meet defying time and space.
Eminent progressive Urdu poet. P. C. Joshi Memorial Lecture, 1998.
Social Scientist, Vol. 28, Nos. 1 - 2, Jan. - Feb. 2000