Culture, Asia - Pacific

Mevlana Rumi’s poetry transcends boundaries, say Indian scholars

Indian professor who translated Rumi’s works into Hindi says Indians feel closer to Sufi poet

Shuriah Niazi   | 30.09.2021
Mevlana Rumi’s poetry transcends boundaries, say Indian scholars


As the world observes the birthday of the 13th century Sufi, scholar, and mystic Mevlana Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi on Thursday, experts in India say his poetry and teachings have touched South Asia.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Balram Shukla, a Sanskrit language professor, who has also earned a degree in Persian said Rumi’s Sufism has brought him closer to India.

"Sufism brings Mevlana Rumi closer to India because Sufism is all-inclusive. Sufism is all-encompassing and it is different from orthodox Islam. That's why Rumi’s works attract Indians,” he said.

Shukla, who has translated Mevlana Rumi's poetry into Hindi from Persian, said Indians do not feel he belonged to any other country. Out of 4,000 poems, he had selected 100 of them for the translation.

“Hindi is closer to Persian. I think the translation from English is not as close as it is from Hindi. I think Rumi’s writing is close to Vedanta (ancient Hindu philosophy). That is why Indians feel Maulana Rumi is very close to them. They don’t feel Rumi belongs to another country,” he said.

Rumi was born in Balkh province in Afghanistan which was once a part of the Indian sub-continent and Buddhism as a religion had to influence in the region at that time.

“The concept of Buddhism is also found in Rumi’s poems because Buddhism is also an Indic religion (religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent),” said the professor.

“In my view, he (Rumi) is not a poet, but he is a kind of magician. His writings attract everyone. That's why he is known all over the world. He may not have come to India but he seems very close to us,” he said.

Shukla said under British colonial rule, the Persian language was wrecked and later Urdu also got marginalized after independence in 1947.

“Many of Rumi’s works was not translated because there were readers in India who understood Persian,” he added.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Umar Kamaluddin, a professor at the Lucknow University, said Rumi has written for the whole world.

“There is no dearth of people who love Mevlana Rumi in India. His specialty is that when we read him, we do not feel that we are reading someone who does not belong to our country. What he wrote is not for any one country but the whole world,” he said.

According to Urdu poet Ali Abbas Ummid, Mevlana Rumi belongs as much to India as to any other country, because he cannot be confined in boundaries.

“People of his level cannot remain confined to any one language or country. His work is recognized and appreciated all over the world. That's why although he wrote in Persian; we see that Indian newspapers keep writing a lot about him. This tells how big his stature is,” he said.

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