This is a story of the ancient times related by a saint, when the inhabitants of a city went through a state of misery, torture and punishment for their misdeeds as is happening nowadays in our state too. It is said that once upon a time there was a sudden storm, which caused a heavy flood in the river Shoor passing by the side of a city. The water over flew the banks of the river carrying all the floating objects in to the depressions and also leaving some of these on the elevated ground when the waters receded. A huge whale sized fish got stuck in a depression in a far off land from the city. The news of the landing of the fish spread like wild fire in the city and the people rushed along with the chopping equipment to bring there share of the flesh of the fish to make a grand feast at their homes. Each one cut a piece of flesh from top to bottom without any consideration of the fact that the fish was alive feeling the pain at each cut received by it. No one took pity on the poor soul and there was hardly any one left in the city who did not take his share except one poor potter who could not afford to reach the far off place at the cost of his time and energy. However his wife insisted on him to get their share and one day he left along with his wife on a horse driven cart to the said spot but found only a Skelton left as the fish was big enough to suffice for the six long months. The couple was disappointed, however when the potter went close to its head, he found some portion of flesh still left, as he attempted to remove it with his axe, to his surprise he found the eyes of the fish still rolling and he was moved and took pity on the poor creature that was tortured. The potter explained this to his wife, who also sided with him and called for return empty handed. As they started their return journey, a voice called them back to their surprise, the voice came from the fish; since every one has taken his share why are you leaving empty handed. On this the potter said, ‘ I found still signs of life in you and now you are talking also. How can we be so cruel? A living person must not injure another life.’ The fish told them to wait and opened its mouth vomiting two shining pearls like two suns and told the potter that one pearl is the compensation for the labor you put in the journey this far and the other pearl I entrust you to keep it safely in your possession. The poor potter tied the pearls in a handkerchief and then tied around his forearm under the sleeve of his shirt—the only safe place he could find. The couple returned home fast with the disappointment. ————— After many years a new king got enthroned in the country, who ordered all the citizens and the villagers to meet him along with their presents according to their status as per the prevailing custom. Whoever met him with the presents was a loser of the same as the king kept some rude guards around, who would gag and even chain the person raising his voice against the atrocity. This resulted in to the blaming, counter blaming and even animosity against each other. An innocent person would be hurt for no fault of his with a false blame and he would be arrested and would be tried in the court where the king would pass the judgment and any one passing that side by chance would be hanged then and there. The person called by the king would be asked, ‘Who has made you in this shape and form and given you this figure? The person would reply that our creator is the One who created the Earth and the Sky. Then he would ask, ‘Who is my creator? All would reply– It is He and none else. They would also say,’ It is He who created every thing that our eyes see.’ He is the One who created things after mingling atoms of opposite nature like water, fire, soil, and air. He is the creator of Jinn’s, Angels, and mankind, besides that of diamonds and different kinds of rocks. He is the One who created you and us and whatever is existing between the earth and the sky. With these answers the self made king would get angry and red hot like the sun and would order the executioner to slash the neck of this helpless person with the sword and who could dare to question such a cruelty? With this type of question– answer session the king stopped all means of approach of these people who used to make excuses.’
With his cruelty even the thunder would cry for help and the lightning would shower fire. Even the sky cries for help on the cruelty of cruel people and calls for the refuge of God. This ruler turned the Allah’s creation in to a terrible restlessness and misery. Any one who raised his voice against this cruel behavior; would be removed from the surface of earth as if he never existed . The people were threatened, tortured, grieved and put to innumerable trouble. Some were beheaded by the use of cutting saw; some were axed like a wooden log. Some were burnt alive by immersing them in the hot oil, some were charred with heat. Some were ordered to be drowned; some were roasted alive on fire. In the long run every one whether cruel or wronged one, his blood was sucked and they were destroyed. This chaos continued for a period of six months, which seemed to be as long as six years and th the people got crushed under the cruelty. A year of enjoyment seems to pass in a moment and a day of vexing seems to be as long as a year of the dooms day. Then one day the king of such grandeur ordered to welcome the leader of the people –the potter, who was yet to meet the king. On hearing this the potter and his wife became restless, they wept, draped in to the dust– turned their heart and soul in to a sincere prayer to Allah praying for their safety at the hands of this cruel king. With shivering legs the potter entered the durbar of the king, but the king spoke to him in a soft and friendly manner with great respect and etiquette. A similar question was put to the potter,’ Who is your creator?’ And he replied that my creator is the one who created this earth and the sky. Then came the other question, ‘who is the one who shaped me in this form and made me such a king?’ When the question was heard by the potter, an unknown voice told him to reply like this, ‘O King, We are the people who made you like what you are. Excuse us we are your makers. It is our deeds that come as our rulers. We are ruled by our desires and that which we wish and deserve. Our misdeeds have made the king’s temperament like what we see who is controlling us. The king’s form and behavior is the reflection of our bad deeds. It is a sorry state of affairs that our misdeeds follow and run after us even when we are dead. These misdeeds take the shape of scorpions and snakes in the hell fire and become our companions. It is as you sow so shall you reap. Now he who is saved with the grace of Allah, turns to the good deeds and is blessed by the declaration that his face shall be smiling and shining on the Day of Judgment. With this different answer of the potter the durbaris were stunned. The king was happy on this statement of the potter and all his anger vanished from his face and mind. The king got up and took the potter in to a private room. The potter was fearing for his life. Here the king asked for the return of the thing entrusted to the potter, who was tight lipped due to the fear and with the passage of time he had forgotten the event of the fish and the two pearls. At last he gathered the courage to ask the king. ’You are a king and I am the one who remains drenched in the mud day and night, what business I have with the king?’ The king laughed at this and wiped the face of the potter with kindness and said,’ O fool of a person, Can’t you recognize me? You are just like an animal as if clad in a human skin and I am an eclipse of the moon. I am neither the king nor a man. I am the same fish, now can you recognize me? Return me the shining pearl that I entrusted you with for its safety. Then the potter could recall the event and fast raised his sleeve and presented both the pearls to the king. On this the king told the potter that he has escaped the wrath and punishment due to his own good nature and choosing of mid course. These pearls are yours and are gifted to you. I am neither the fish, nor the king nor the river creature, neither I devour people like wild animals like lion or tiger. I have been dropped from the sky on the orders of the Almighty Allah and am an angel. I was sent to this nation in the form of a fish to test them. I was grounded due to the heavy storm. On hearing about me the people came and overpowered me and cut me in to pieces of their choice, when I was observing all this in a state of helplessness and the people least bothered about the pain I was put to suffer. No one took pity on my torture. When no mercy was left in their hearts and they felt pleasure in torturing me for their benefit, they were caught in the revenge at my hands. Here the author/poet addresses to his own self:-
“O my ignorant heart look upon your condition and learn a lesson according to your understanding. This world is a hot stage for action and its reward depends upon whether one’s actions are good or bad. If you perceive with your own eyes, every moment looks as if like a scene of doomsday portrayed on the screen. Whatever you have done yesterday becomes the burden for today (whether good or bad). The nightingale of Shiraz– Sheikh Saadi has nicely composed a couplet in Persian language, which when translated reads:’ whatever you sow so shall you reap. If you sow thorns you will not get daffodils.’
At last the king asked the potter not to breed any ill will against him, as whatever treatment he met on the hands of this cheat nation was not of his doing but was the compensation they had earned for their misdeeds. They were punished and the scores got balanced and you got your reward. Now you can take as much as you wish from the treasury, having gold, diamonds, pearls etc. Besides I am happy with you and you also be happy with me and go and find a place for a better and comfortable living for yourself. After this discourse the king entered the four walled room in the palace. The next day when the concerned people went that side, they found the king’s place vacant. They searched for him all over but found no trace of him. He seemed to have vanished like a bird, finding the chance to escape. Before this the potter took some of the diamonds, pearls and other costly goods whatever he liked and took leave of the angel and started a new life. From the existing wealth and the one that he got, he donated it to the poor and the needy. During the day time he would distribute and during the night hours he would serve people the eatables. Whole of the night, he would spend in a cave and would remain busy in prayers and thanksgiving till it would be dawn. At last he passed away from this mortal world, but his story of kindness remained to live for ever. Who ever chose a life of the mid course was remembered with good memory after his death. It is the law of nature that if a strong person does not take pity on a weak creature, he too shall meet weakness just like a tiny hair with the passage of time. Similarly if a healthy person does not take pity on a sick one, a time will come that he too shall weep on getting pain and suffering. He whoever became happy over others misery, shall soon suffer meet the same state. O’ the one who has been wronged, don’t get offended by the cruelty, you will surely see that the cruel man’s house gets destroyed. Although the pain and the relief; the justice and the injustice are the twins right from the day one, still who is there to take things lightly? According to Hazrat Moosa (AS) whatever falls on us is nothing but a test for us. The proper thing is to say What Hazrat Adam said while turning his face towards Allah: “ O God I have wronged myself” and say,’ O god forgive our sins. Be compassionate on us and save us from the loss’ The poet then addresses to himself: ‘Run away from the extravagance. A lengthy story does not find acceptability. The excesses of the cruel get increased by our own misdeeds, neither we concentrate in a permanent manner, nor we have a fixed goal i.e. who will be our savior in the waywardness, excepting the one Great Personality, who is the intercessor of the sinners and mercy for all mankind. The like minded should collect from all the corners and collectively pour their heart’s blood like rain, with bear heads and feet, thumping their chests, with their eyes wet and lips dry and pray against this cruelty and invoke his help with heart rendering prayers, so that he becomes our intercessor and we get rid of the calamity. It is firmly hoped that he will intercede us and we get the place of peace and tranquility. He is all intelligent and we are the ignorant lot. We shall continue to pray like that till it is granted.
A similar situation as of today existed in Kashmir when the original book Majmmoa Masmooa containing this story, was written by Pirzada Ghulam Rasool Shiva Zoonimari ( d.1288 AH) ,when people were taken forcibly for beggar (potters to hilly areas) and the farmer had to surrender half of his produce-living hungry for the six months in a year, besides other atrocities. A sincere prayer had come to their rescue with an open letter to Maharaja Ranbir Singh sent By Pirzada Ghulam Hasan Fazili Khoihami—the historian and the son of Pirzada Ghulam Rasool Shiva against the atrocities of Wazir Punnu.
This story has been translated in Urdu and printed in the book “Hamare Aslaf Aur Mashaikh-i-Kashmir” by Er. Mohammad Ashraf Fazili published in 2007 AD by Iqra Publications, Yemberzal Complex Court Road Srinagar.
Er. Mohammad Ashraf Fazili (Retd. Chief Engineer.)