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Thread: The Triumphant Smile

          
   
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    The Triumphant Smile

    Humayun lay in a coma. His father Babar stood
    beside his bed, sad and worried. The Chief
    Vizier and the nobles crowded behind him. The
    queen with tears in her eyes begged of the
    emperor, "Save Humayun's life, my Lord". In
    between sobs she said again, "Save my son from
    the clutches of death."
    Babar stood aghast and moaned in grief. "O
    God, how helpless am I! I can't even save my son.
    I can't save my own flesh, my own blood...."
    The palace herald announced, "Here comes
    Shahi Hakim."*
    The Hakim entered the room and offered his
    respects to the emperor. Babar knelt before him
    pleading, "O life-giver! Save my child." The
    Hakim was taken aback and bent down to raise
    the Emperor to his feet. "O my Lord," he said,
    "I'm just an ordinary servant of yours. I promise I
    won't leave any stone unturned. But to grant life
    is in God's hands. Have faith in Him. He is Rahim.
    He is Karim, the kind and the merciful. Beg His

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    mercy, Sir. I can only examine the patient and
    diagnose the illness."
    The Hakim felt Humayun's pulse. Then he examined the closed eyelids. He tried to open his
    mouth too, but it was shut tight. The Hakim unbuttoned Humayun's shirt and applied a strongsmelling balm to his chest. The prince slowly
    opened his eyes and mouth too, but did not show
    recognition.
    "Asalam walekumPrince," the Hakim
    greeted him. But there was no reply. "Asalam
    ivalekum," he repeated. "Look at me Prince. Look
    at your father. Don't you recognise your mother
    sitting by your side?"
    There was still no response. Humayun's vacant looks were fixed on the ceiling. The queen
    took Humayun in her arms and moaned.
    "O Humayun, my son, won't you call me
    Anuria* * anymore? Here, here look at your
    Abba* * * Say something my son, say a few words!"
    But Humayun didn't utter a sound. Babar stood
    dazed beside the Hakim, while the queen's heartrending cries continued to fill the room.
    The Hakim opened another bottle and poured
    a few drops of nectar into Humayun's parted lips.
    But the drops flowed out. The Hakim mumbled,
    "God bless you (Muslim greeting).
    00 Mother
    """Father

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    "He has not accepted the medicine. I'm sure his
    throat is swollen and clogged." He took a piece
    of paper and wrote down the names of some medicines. "Here my Lord! I can only prescribe these
    potions for the patient. Kindly try them. Howal
    shaft'•!* May God cure him," said the Hakim.
    He handed the slip to the Emperor and left
    the palace in dismay.
    Babar passed the prescription on to the Chief
    Vizier. Meanwhile, one of the court priests had
    entered the chamber. He bowed low and said,
    "My Lord! Kindly offer to God whatever you love
    most. I am sure God will be kind enough to give
    Humayun a lease of life."
    "Should I renounce my wealth and my kingdom?" asked Babar.
    "That's up to you, my Lord. You should offer
    what you love most," the priest replied.
    "What do I love most?" the Emperor muttered.
    "Only you can answer that my Lord."
    "Dearest to my heart is Humayun," Babar
    replied.
    "Surely, to save the Prince, Your Majesty would
    not hesitate to offer something equally dear to
    Allah?" urged the priest.
    "Ah! It is my own life that I love most," said
    Babar with a triumphant smile.
    °God bless you with good health.

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    "Allah-O-AkbarIn the presence of all nobles
    and courtiers of my empire, I, Zaheerud-Din
    Babar, do hereby offer my own life to God Almighty to save Humayun my dearest son. Let his
    malady strike me. Let Humayun recover. May I
    die and may Humayun live for ever and ever."
    As soon as he had finished speaking Babar sat
    down on the mat to offer prayers to the Lord.
    The anguished queen flung herself at Babar's
    feet and cried, "No, no, my Lord. You cannot die.
    Let the Almighty take my life. Humayun must
    live under your patronage."
    "No, Begum.0 My pledge to the Almighty
    must hold good. I must defeat death. I have lived
    a hero's life. Let me die a hero's death for Humayun," muttered Babar as he lay down on the mat
    feeling faint and dizzy from the pain in his chest.
    "Allah-O-Akbar," whispered Babar again with
    the same triumphant smile on his lips, as his eyes
    closed.
    At the same time Humayun regained consciousness and opened his eyes.
    "Allah is the Greatest.
    "Woman of noble rank.

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