It’s been way more than a century
That defeat, my defeat, came in a cascade;
To lay bare before the whole wide world
My grand pretence and masquerade.
Elijah I am, and Messiah in one;
A cure for all; this flamboyant claim,
Had left enchanted across the world,
Some thousands of men, and many a dame.
In fame I grew, in wealth prospered;
In Illinois, I built a town,
Where men, and trees and birds and streams,
Would bow to me and worship my crown.
Each day a joy, every night a delight;
I thought my bliss was here to stay.
When one fine day, to my dismay,
An epistle arrived from a land far away.
The signatory, an Ahmad, had cautioned me,
That all my sham shall go in vain;
The Messiah, he claimed, was he not me,
And destined for me was shame and pain.
That piece of paper, I tore to shreds;
How dare a man on earth may say,
That gone are my days of glory and pomp,
I screamed, “My sway shall never sway!”
But as days went by, and time flew past,
My splendour began to melt away;
I lost all friends and confidants,
As if my fate had gone astray.
While I lay dying in my despair,
There rose and shone the Indian Messiah;
His song had spread on land and sea,
And echoed the Rockies and Himalaya.
Today I twist and turn in my grave
As the air of Zion is jubilant;
I hear, a son of Ahmad is here,
And crowds around him, exuberant.
What was my throne, is now his mosque;
Where I once reigned, is now his land.
So joyous is he, as his aptronym;
And so he must be, the occasion is grand.
God! Raise me once, from my rotting vault,
So I may stand before this man;
And cry, “O Ahmad, thou art great!
“All thine it is, my land and clan”.
With hand on heart, I swear, O Ahmad!
I wish I could today redeem,
My pomp and pride, for pardon and grace
As yours it is, Triumph Supreme.
(English rendering of Asif Basit’s persona poem Dastan-e-Fath-e-Azeem)