Friday, July 6, 2012

The Afghan Nation

Iqbal (center) with King Nadir (2nd from left)
during official visit to Afghanistan in 1933

Stray Reflections (1910) 

The verdict of history is that buffer states have never been able to form themselves into great political units. So was the case with Syria – a buffer state between the Empire of Rome and that of the Persians. It seems difficult to forecast the future of Afghanistan.
Javid Nama (1932)
Translated by A. J. Arberry
Asia is a form cast of water and clay;
in that form the Afghan nation is the heart;
if it is corrupt, all Asia is corrupt,
if it is dilated, all Asia is dilated.
So long as the heart is free, the body is free,
else, the body is a straw in the path of the wind.
Like the body, the heart too is bound by laws—
the heart dies of hatred, lives of faith.
The power of faith derives from unity;
when unity becomes visible, it is a nation.
Imitation of the West seduces the East from itself;
these peoples have need to criticize the West.
The power of the West comes not from lute and rebeck,
not from the dancing of unveiled girls,
not from the magic of tulip cheeked enchantresses,
not from naked legs and bobbed hair;
its solidity springs not from irreligion,
its glory derives not from the Latin script.
The power of the West comes from science and technology,
and with that selfsame flame its lamp is bright.
Wisdom derives not from the cut and trim of clothes;
the turban is no impediment to science and technology.


  1. Greetings,

    Thank you for this. I like this passage from the Javid Nama that speaks of Afghanistan and (as) the heart.

    All good wishes,


  2. As Robert said, me too like this part. especially the opening lines warm my heart.