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Showing posts from March, 2007

A Misunderstanding: Manat and Somnath

The story of Muslim conquest of central India may have begun with a misunderstanding: one man’s pronunciation can become another man’s poison. The three most revered pagan goddesses of pre-Islamic Mecca were AL Lat, Al Uzza, and Manat, denounced in the Quran as false deities and the source of the infamous controversy about the alleged ‘Satanic Verses’. According to an old belief, when the prophet smashed the idols at Kaaba, the image of Manat was missing: it had been secreted away, and sent in a trading ship to a port-town in India called Prabhas, which imported Arab horses. According to this belief, idol-worshippers built a temple to Manat , and renamed the place to So-Manat, or somnath.

From, Shade of Swords: Jihad and the conflict between Islam and Christianity By M.J Akbar.

She was one of the goddesses Prophet Muhammed once said could be worshipped, but then retracted, claiming that the assertion was influenced by Satan. The reference to Manat is contained in the so-called Satan…

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question...
Oh, do not ask, `` What is it? ''
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening.
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains.
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chim…