Monday, 11 October 2010

'Colonel Mordaunt's Cock Match' by Johann Zoffany, (1788)


Zoffany accompanied Warren Hastings to Lucknow in 1784.
 
It was at such a cockfight that Mir's first meeting with Nawab Asafud Daulah took place.  He wrote in his autobiography:
After 4 or 5 days, it so happened that the Nawab came to the mansion [of Salar Jang] to enjoy a round of cock fights.  I was present there and paid my respects.  He intuitively recognised me and said, 'You must be Mir Mohammad Taqi.'  He then embraced me with utmost kindness, took me with him to where he was to sit and addressing me, recited some of his own verses.  I said, 'Praise be to Allah.  'A king's verse is the king of verses.' '  Out of extreme kindness, he then pressed me to recite some verses too.  That days I merely recited some couplets of a Ghazal.  At the time of the Nawab's departure, Salar Jang said to him, 'Now that Mir has come here at your excellency's command you are his master.  You may assign him a position and send for him to keep you company whenever you wish.'  The Nawab replied, 'I shall fix a salary and let you know.'  After a couple of days,  he sent for me.  I went and presented myself and read the panegyric I had written in his praise.  He listened to it and, with utmost graciousness, accepted me into his service.  And he showers on me such kindness and consideration. 
(Zikr  e  Mir. Mir Mohammad Taqi Mir. 1773.  Translated by C. M. Naim. Oxford University Press, 1999).  118, 119.

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