Kalila and Demna
One of the most popular books ever written is “ Kalila wa Dimna”, an old book back to the Abbasid Caliphate but it’s origin is Indian and was called Panchatantra, or “Five Discourses.”
Abduallah Ibn al-Mukaffa’ translated the book from Persian to Arabic in the Abbasid Era exactly in 2nd century AH (719 CE – 816 CE) with his distinctive style in writing, he also added some stories weren’t exist in the original version and amended some of them in his own way of writing. And then he added four more chapters that were not in the Persian book. Yet the Arabic version is considered the most important and remarkable one cause it’s the only one saved and preserved other than the Indian and Persian ones which are lost, so that it was translated into many different languages.
The main characters of the book are animals: a lion as a king, his servant an ox called “shatraba”, kalila & dimna and they are two jackals and many other animals. The events of the story is happening in the forest where the animals are symbolize human beings and tells about the relationship between the ruler and the ruled. And the story is encouraging to adherence the good ethics, and it had a great impact on rulers and people in charge.
The introduction of the book shows that it was written by the Indian philosopher Burduben to the king of Hindustan Diçelem as a guide for him in ruling his kingdom, because he was at the beginning an oppressive and unjust and when the philosopher gave him the advice he got angry and put him in the prison, but after a while he thought maybe that philosopher has some point of view and can help him to control the public, so he gave him a second chance and ask again for his wisdom and advices and then asked him to be his minister to help the public and spread the justice between them. And the king kept following his wisdom minister instructions till his judgment is saved. Then the king asked Burduben to write him a book for the instruction of civil servants, to be as a good memory for him after long time.
Kalila and Dimna, Abbasid Era, Animals, Philosopher, India, Persian, Literature Ibn al-Mukaffa’.
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