A Persian poem by Bahadur Shah Zafar from Imperial Dehlue

, Hazrat-E-Dilli

A post by Mahindra Vist

A Persian poem written in Bahadur Shah’s hand. It was a sign of friendship to write out a poem in one’s own personal calligraphic style to give to a friend. Thomas Metcalfe’s note above the poem tells us that Bahadur Shah gave him the poem on 29 April 1844. On the opposite page, Metcalfe wrote an English translation of the poem. From ‘Reminiscences of Imperial Delhi’, an album consisting of 89 folios containing approximately 130 paintings of views of the Mughal and pre-Mughal monuments of Delhi, as well as other contemporary material, with an accompanying manuscript text written by Sir Thomas Theophilus Metcalfe (1795-1853), the Governor-General’s Agent at the imperial court.

Dost an bashud ke Gheerud dust-i Dost

Dur Pureshan hali,o-dur mandigee,

Dost mu shoomur an ke dur Neeamut zanud,

Laf yeearee o Biradur khandigee.

Friend is he, who grasps the hand of Friend,

In the midst of trouble and distress,

Not they who in prosperity profess

Themselves friends, nay are brothers by repute.

A Friend is he, who proffers Friendship’s hand

When care or grief our kindred feelings claim

Not he whom prosperous days alone command

And is a Friend or Brother but in name.

Autograph of His Majesty Bahadur Shah of Delhi 29th April 1844.

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