One World Poem is written by Safdar Hashmi. This article post gives stanza wise explanation of the poem “One World”. Every stanza is followed by word meanings and a simple explanation. Click here for Question & Answers (Wind Chimes Class 6).
Overview & Theme of ‘One World’ Poem
“One World” by Safdar Hashmi is a reflective poem that portrays the journey of King Akbar from arrogance to humility. The poem starts with Akbar’s prideful claims of having experienced and known everything in the world. However, his wise minister, Birbal, notices that his pride is blinding him. Akbar encounters a sadhu in the palace courtyard and, in a fit of anger, claims ownership over everything.
The sadhu challenges Akbar’s ownership claims, questioning him about his predecessors and the transient nature of rulership. The sadhu’s gentle questioning makes Akbar realize that his predecessors too ruled and left, and nothing truly belongs to one person alone. The sadhu suggests that the world is like an inn, shared by all, and nothing can be exclusively owned.
Birbal reveals his identity as the sadhu, having orchestrated the encounter to teach Akbar humility. Akbar acknowledges the lesson learned, recognizing that the world is shared among all, and his pride was baseless. The poem concludes with Akbar’s gratitude towards Birbal for puncturing his pride and enlightening him about the interconnectedness of all individuals in the world.
In essence, the poem “One World” explores the theme of humility in the face of the vast and interconnected world, teaching us that no individual can claim exclusive ownership over everything. The poem encourages us to recognize our place within the larger context of humanity and to approach the world with a sense of humility and understanding.
Stanza Wise Explanation of ‘One World’ Poem
“One World” by Safdar Hashmi is a thought-provoking poem that delves into themes of arrogance, humility, and the interconnectedness of all individuals within the world. The poem is presented in the form of a conversation between King Akbar and his minister, Birbal, who challenges the king’s perception of ownership and entitlement. Let’s break down the stanzas and their meanings:
You know old Akbar, one-time king
He thought he knew ‘most everything,
Cross his path, at you he threw
A torrent of words on how much he knew.
‘I’ve seen the whole wild world, you bet!
The moon, the stars, sun and set,
Mountains, forests, rivers, streams
Islands, oceans, the wave that gleams,
Town and village, big and small
House and hearth, I’ve seen them all.
Give me the people, give me the crowns,
Success and failure, ups and downs,
Drums and cymbals, playing cards,
Theatre, entertainment, all of the arts,
I’ve watched the wheel of politics turn
Saints and sinners-what’s left to learn?
As far as far as eye can see,
All of this belongs to me.
King of the world am I say I,
This one truth nobody dares deny.’
- Torrent: A fast-flowing stream of water; here, it refers to a large flow of words.
- Gleams: Shines brightly or with a sparkling light.
- Village: A small community or settlement.
- Crowns: Symbols of authority or power.
- Theatre: A place where performances are held.
- Entertainment: Amusement or diversion.
Explanation: In this stanza, King Akbar’s excessive pride is evident as he claims to have witnessed and experienced everything in the world. He boasts about his knowledge of various aspects of life, including nature, human activities, politics, and arts. He asserts his dominance by declaring himself the ruler of the world.
Now Akbar had a minister
Birbal was his name
Slim, slender, slightly built
Ever ready to play the game
He saw the bug his king had caught,
He was sharp, not one to miss,
Pride it was he knew for sure
That made the badshah speak like this.
- Minister: An official who assists a ruler or leader in governance.
- Slim: Thin or slender in form.
- Badshah: A title for a king or emperor.
Explanation: This stanza introduces Birbal, Akbar’s wise minister, who observes that Akbar’s pride has led him to make such grand claims. Birbal recognizes that it’s Akbar’s pride that is driving his boasting and declarations of ownership.
One day a stroll King Akbar took
Across the rambling palace grounds
And right there in the courtyard tripped
On something, someone, that he found.
Red with anger Akbar got, he
Unleashed a mighty jab.
‘Get up, you sadhu!’ Akbar shrieked,
‘Listen to me, don’t gab!’
- Stroll: A leisurely walk.
- Rambling: Wandering or spreading in an irregular manner.
- Tripped: To stumble or fall.
- Jab: A sharp and quick hitting movement
- Sadhu: A wandering ascetic or holy person.
Explanation: Akbar takes a stroll in the palace grounds and encounters a sadhu lying in the courtyard. Enraged by the sadhu’s presence, Akbar angrily orders him to get up and accuses him of talking too much.
‘This courtyard that you make your bed,
Belongs to me, to me!
Each leaf, each blade of grass that grows
Is mine, can’t you see?’
The sadhu raised his neck just so
Scratched his ear, twitched his nose,
Stretched long and lazy arms and legs
Cracked first his knuckles, then his toes;
Eyes half-closed, he spoke with ease:
‘Each blade of grass so fresh and green
Is yours, you say?’ And then to tease,
‘Deluded you have been!’
- Courtyard: An open area within the confines of a building.
- Belongs: To be owned or possessed by.
- Twitched: To make a small, sudden movement.
- Tease: To provoke or make fun of playfully.
- Deluded: Deceived or misled.
Explanation: The sadhu challenges Akbar’s sense of ownership over the palace grounds. He sarcastically acknowledges Akbar’s claim to the grass but then questions the validity of such claims. The sadhu playfully teases Akbar for his misconception.
Akbar growled and growled some more
‘Get up, you-! You make me sore!
The grass, the green, all the leaves
The hives of all the honeybees
Each minaret in Fatehpur, my friend
All the walls from end to end,
Dome, window, every door,
Stone on rock and sand on shore
Every bit of grit and grime
Is mine! All mine! Only mine!’
He opened wide his half-shut eyes-
The sadhu-stroked his beard,
Parted his lips as if to speak
Then pursed them tight as if he feared.
- Growled: Made a low, threatening sound.
- Minaret: A tall tower of a mosque.
- Dome: A rounded roof or ceiling.
- Grit: Small particles of sand or stone.
- Grime: Dirt or filth.
Explanation: Akbar angrily reinforces his ownership claims, listing various elements from the palace and its surroundings. He insists that everything belongs exclusively to him. The sadhu, though silent, hints at his intention to respond.
In a scared and little voice:
‘One question only, Sir,’ he said.
‘How many years have you lived here,
In Fatehpur, King, born and bred?’
‘In this palace,’ Akbar said, ‘in this palace was I born,
‘In this palace,’ Akbar said, ‘I saw my very first morn.’
‘Who was king before you, Badshah?
Trumpets sounded in whose glory?’
‘Oh sadhuji you are so dumb! Don’t you know my Abbaji?’
‘And before your father, Sir, who lived here do you know?’
‘Grandpa Babar, Shahenshah-many called him so.’
- Scared: Frightened or alarmed.
- Shahenshah: A Persian title for a king or emperor.
- Ruins: Remains of something destroyed or decayed.
Explanation: The sadhu begins a line of questioning that leads Akbar to consider the history of rulers before him. The sadhu highlights the transient nature of rulership and how each ruler’s time in power is limited.
‘Who lived here long before them all,
Who ruled long before them all?
And when they died why did they leave
Things in ruins to fall?
Their palaces, their gardens, their fortresses so tall?
Tell me, tell me, Akbarbhai, some history let’s recall.
They spent some moments of their lives
On this earth called home
And then moved on ahead, alone,
Each and every one.’
‘You’re right, you know!’ said Akbar Badshah.
‘Oh sadhu maharaj!
I am not the only one
To have ruled this land so large!’
- Break: A pause or interruption.
- Proof: Evidence or confirmation.
- Simple: Easy to understand or uncomplicated.
Explanation: The sadhu continues his questioning, urging Akbar to reflect on the transient nature of rulers and their legacies. Akbar realizes that previous rulers, including his own ancestors, have also held power and left the world behind.
‘Your fortress is an inn, my friend,’
The sadhu said-he spoke his mind-
‘Where you may sit and rest a while
And when you go, you leave behind.
Not just your palace but this world
An inn it is, some rest to take,
Where people going to and fro
Use as they will just for a break.
What proof do you have to say
All this belongs to only you?
Nothing is yours, not one thing
Not house or palace or shoe.
Not the grass, not the leaves,
Nor the hives of honeybees,
Not minaret or mighty wall,
Domes, windows, doors so tall,
Not one item in this world
Is yours, my Lord, my King,
Think about it for a moment!
It’s a pretty simple thing.’
- Going to and fro: Moving back and forth i.e. keep coming and going
- Belongs: Is the property or possession of.
- Think about it for a moment: Reflect on it briefly.
Explanation: The sadhu shifts his approach and provides a philosophical perspective. He likens the world to an inn where individuals come and go. He emphasizes that nothing truly belongs to any one person and challenges Akbar to consider the shared nature of the world.
Akbar Badshah was dumbfounded
Nothing could he say,
For he at last had understood
The key of life this day:
The world belongs to everyone
Or else to none at all.
This was the secret he did not know,
That made him trip and fall.
- Dumbfounded: Astonished or speechless due to surprise.
- Key of life: A fundamental understanding or insight.
- Trip and fall: Metaphorically refers to being humbled or brought down from arrogance.
Explanation: Akbar is struck by a moment of realization and silence. He comprehends the profound truth that the world is either collectively shared or belongs to no one. His arrogance has been punctured, leading to a humbling understanding.
The King was quiet, the sadhu smiled,
He winked at him and said:
‘I fooled you, King, I’m Birbal’
His disguise he shed.
‘You mean you could not guess, my Lord,
How will you rule?’ He shook his head.
- Winked: blink corner of eye as a signal of something
- Disguise: to change appearance to hide identity
- Shook: turned head from side to side
Explanation: The sadhu reveals his true identity as Birbal, who had orchestrated this encounter to help Akbar see the error of his ways. Birbal playfully chides Akbar for not recognizing him sooner and poses a question about how Akbar will rule with his newfound understanding.
Akbar said to Birbal:
‘You took me for a ride,
The sadhu has my grateful thanks
For puncturing my pride.’
- Ride: A metaphorical term for being led or guided.
- took me for a ride: tricked me, played joke on me
- Puncturing: Piercing or deflating; here, it means breaking down pride.
- Grateful: Thankful or appreciative.
Explanation: Akbar expresses his gratitude to Birbal for guiding him through this humbling experience. He recognizes that the sadhu’s words have humbled him and helped him overcome his pride.
Conclusion (Moral & Message):
In “One World,” Safdar Hashmi beautifully illustrates the journey of Akbar’s arrogance being transformed into humility through the guidance of his minister, Birbal. The poem conveys the message that the world and its resources are not to be owned exclusively but shared among all individuals.