Monday, November 29, 2004

The graveyard of nostalgia

sab kahaan kuchh lala-o-gul mein numayaan ho gayeen
khaak meN kya soorate hongi ke pinhaaN ho gayiN.
(thanks to Kausar for correcting the sher)

The graveyard of nostalgia

By Shahzad Raza

ISLAMABAD: Many who visit Islamabad graveyard return with strong nostalgic feelings. Several buried there have staged a key role in power politics while others have ruled people’s heart.

A galaxy of poets, writers and bureaucrats sleep in the cemetery, situated in a peaceful corner of the Islamabad metropolis. For over three decades it has accomodated people.

The first grave to the left of the main entrance creates an instant impression for it is the grave of great Urdu poet and scion of Malhiabad State, Josh Malhiabadi. He undoubtedly ruled many a heart with his revolutionary poetry.

His autobiography, Yadoon Ki Baraat, is a masterpiece of Urdu literature. Unfortunately, however, the grave of the poet is hidden behind wild bushes. It appears the late poet is being subject to the same treatment he received during his life.

An official of the Capital Development Authority (CDA), monitoring the graveyard, said there would be no burial in the graveyard from next year. The decision was taken owing to a shortage of space.

After a few minutes walk from the main entrance, one can find the grave of the Urdu short story writer and novelist Mumtaz Mufti. A disciple of Sigmund Freud, the late writer cemented his name in the history of Urdu literature through his accomplished works.

Not far away from Mufti’s grave, lies the body of another Urdu poet, Parveen Shakir. The late poet lost her life after a tragic accident in 1994. Her beautifully designed grave, however, has lost some of her charm. The area surrounding the grave of the late Parveen Shakir is well maintained. However, the land adjacent and graves nearby require considerable maintenance.

Besides poets and writers, people of power including Qudratullah Shahab, Maulana Kausar Niazi, Khurshid Hassan Mir and Altaf Gauhar are also buried in the graveyard. Indeed, the late Shahab was known for his intellectual capacity.

A gravedigger said he has seen more than 10 funerals a day. At times there are not more than one funeral is performed but according to estimates, there are around three burials every day. In order to fulfil local requirements, a new graveyard will be opened from next year, in sector H-11 sector. The authority is in the process of constructing an approach road, fence and other facilities.

The new graveyard covers 80 acres and is expected to meet the requirements of Islamabad residents for more than 20 years. The city’s old graveyard is spread over 50 acres.

There is one deplorable aspect of the old graveyard. In the monsoon season, torrential rain damages more than 300 graves. Indeed, there have been cases where visitors have borne witness to the movement of wild animals and badly damaged graves.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Karobaari Zabaan

I welcome the launch of channel to present Business news in Urdu but the article shows that they lack in creativity in presenting modern day business in a language that a layman can understand.

The proper thing to do would have been to let his matter discussed by Economics and Urdu professors to come to a consensus. I am being neither would suggest "pur-umeed" or "khush-umeed" because that's what a "bull" in business means.


`Bull` is a problem for Pak business channel

Nistula Hebbar / Lahore November 29, 2004

What does one call a stock exchange “bull” in Urdu? This is just one of the many problems which Pakistan’s only business channel Business Plus is facing ever since it was launched in August this year.

The Lahore head-office of the channel also has to constantly justify its area of operation in a city whose stock exchange has a sensitivity index based on only 25 listed companies.

The satellite channel, only the second of its kind in South Asia (Sri Lanka being the other country), is owned by World Corp Multi Media Ltd, headed by telecom czar Salman Tasir.

The company is relying on the fact that it is Pakistan’s largest cable network with a 65 per cent footprint in the country to sell the channel, besides the 33 telecom companies that come under World Corp.

While there has been some poaching from the only fully business paper in the country, The Business Recorder, many of those running the fledgling channel are from the mainstream media.

Irfan Asghar, programmes manager for the channel, moved from an entertainment channel to Business Plus and admits that he has to get used to the jargon. “I too have no business background but we feel the channel has a future,” he said.

The telecast is between 8.30 am to midnight and runs a ticker showing both the Lahore and Karachi stock exchange trades.

Hamid Waleed, anchor person, though insisted that Karachi’s political instability and sectarian violence would make Lahore the preferred destination for business houses. “Already, several old business houses are setting up offices in Lahore, and sending their sons to head this operation because Karachi is no longer safe,” he said.

Among those who have moved is Gauhar Ejaz, son of Ejaz Ahmad, Khurshid Alam son of Ashar Alam of the Alam Textiles group, and Arif Syed son of Ahmad Syed of the Sevris shoe empire.

Banks and other financial institutions are tuning in, with the ticker being followed by most brokers. “We will have a strong investigative content on scams,” Waleed said.

To answer the question of what a stock exchange bull is called in Urdu, well, the channel gave up long ago and prefers to use “pakeng” (a mixture of Urdu and English) in its regular broadcasts

Thursday, November 25, 2004

A creative, restless genius we know as Faiz

Not every creative person need to have a psychological problem, Faiz embodies a succesful persona among the sea of pessimists, read the article and visit

A creative, restless genius we know as Faiz

Twenty years after he moved on to eternity, Faiz still stands head and shoulders above many others, Shamim Ahmed writes

Mutual forgiveness of each vice
Such are the gates of paradise- William Blake
In many a treatise on literature and psychoanalysis one central question concerning the sources of creative inspiration has often been raised. Is there any relationship between neurosis and creativity? As can be expected, the question has not been resolved and, indeed, contrary views have been entertained.

On the one hand, art has been associated with neurosis; on the other, with prophetic wisdom. Without taking sides, one observes that the proponents of neurosis have one fact in their favour: most writers have been quite neurotic, if not mad. Roughly described, a neurosis arises from some unresolved inner conflict. It is admittedly difficult to see how an unresolved conflict can produce that masterful combination of form and content that we call literature. Nevertheless, it is noted that neurotics, at least the gifted ones, do seem to propel in certain significant direction in their thinking and sensibility.

Examples of neurotic geniuses in the world literature abound. Just to name a few: Nietzsche, Kafka, Dostoevsky and even D.H. Lawrence. In my study of some of the notable figures of Urdu literature, I found pronounced presence of one kind of neurosis or the other in many of them. Sahir Ludhyanvi and Manto were victims of Oedipus complex, which resulted in paranoia, hypochondria, misogamy and his inability to marry in the former; and extreme form of alcoholism in the case of the latter.

Yagana Chauzazi suffered from self-love and megalomania. In an article published in 1980s, Dr Ghayan Chand brought to light a number of neuroses with which Friqh Gorakhpuri was affected in addition to his well-known affliction, homosexuality. All such examples led psychologists of this particular school of thought to conclude that the neurotic-artist tries to escape from reality by means of substitute gratification of creativity.

Faiz Ahmad Faiz (1911-84) is one of the very few examples of a creative genius whose life represented the victory of a person’s healthy faculties. As a proponent of the other school, Charles Lamb sees the very act of creation as the assertion of one’s rationality, which by definition is healthy. Faiz is one shining example of such a genius. With the sole exception of lqbal, no Urdu poet of the 20th century scaled the poetic heights reached by Faiz.

The subject matter of this piece, however, is not to evaluate the stature of his poetry, exquisite though it is both in form and content, but to enquire into the circumstances which made him a normal, well-adjusted, tolerant and mild human being, a good friend, a loving father, a successful professional, a devoted husband and a doting grandfather.

Let us start our enquiry at the very beginning, the childhood experience, which, according to Freud, is the key to understanding the development of a personality. Many sketches and vignettes of Faiz (but unfortunately not yet a comprehensive biography) have been written by his friends and admirers. Faiz also recorded his early life experience for the benefit of his grandsons on the tape. I have had the privilege of listening to the recording, courtesy his daughter Saleema Hashmi.
According to all these accounts, Faiz was born into a big, well-established and happy family. His father, Chaudhry Sultan Muhammad Khan, had children from an earlier marriage as well. So, in addition to his two real brothers and one sister, he had a number of step-sisters. His father was already in the middle age when Faiz was born. He recalled him to be a tall person with a robust built. He had classical features, big expressive eyes and shining while teeth. He had an awe-inspiring personality and every one in the family looked up to him for guidance and approval.
Normally, he was genial and gracious, but when on occasions he lost his temper, he was a volcano. As his elder brother, Tufail, was of a stormy nature; and the younger, Inayat, usually fooled around, Faiz gained special affection of his father. He would get up early in the morning to accompany his father to the mosque for morning prayers and take lessons in Quran from Mulvi Ibrahim.

In the evening, his father would call him to his room for dictating letters. He would also read out the newspapers to his father. This exercise, according to Faiz, not only made substantial contribution to his linguistic ability, but also brought him very close to his father. Nowhere in his writings or conversation did Faiz ever convey the slightest resentment against his father or any of his actions.
On the contrary, he loved him deeply. His dear friend, Sher Muhammad Hameed, described in one of his articles on Faiz that he was severely shattered when his father died. His life and even thinking changed. So the first significant feature in Faiz’s psychological development is the complete absence of Oedipal situation which, if it remains unresolved, becomes the main source of neurosis.

Faiz had a solid educational background, both conventional as well as contemporary. As noted earlier, he started learning Qur’an from an early age. Around the age of 10, he joined the Scotch Mission School in Sialkot. His educational pursuit ended with two masters degrees, in English literature and Arabic language. In most of his examinations he secured first division.

All this was accomplished when he was just 23 years of age. Clearly, he did not allow his forays into the realm of poetry, which started when he was barely eighteen, to interfere with the pursuit of his formal education, which, indeed, was an unconventional behaviour for a budding poet.

Immediately on completion of his education, he found gainful employment at M.A.O. College, Amritsar, which not only provided him the financial independence, but also the stimulating company of persons like Mahmood-ul-Zafar and Dr Rasheed Jahan.
Later, he joined the Public Relations Department in the army and was honourably discharged after attaining the rank of colonel. Afterwards, he became the chief editor of Pakistan Times and its allied publications; principal of a college in Karachi; chairman of the National Council of Arts; and, finally, the editor of a periodical, Lotus, during his days in exile.

Such solid educational background and rewarding professional career often combine, but rarely in a person whose primary claim to fame is his poetry. This fact instilled in Faiz a sense of self-confidence which is the mainspring of generosity towards all. Eschewal of pettiness and vindictiveness is another manifestation of this trait of character.

Inferiority complex, according to the Austrian psychologist Alfred Adler, arises out of repressed fear and resentment associated with real or imagined inferiority. Various manifestations of this complex are pugnacity, reprobation for others and general discontentment. Let us examine whether any of these traits existed in Faiz.
According to all accounts, both of his friends and foes, Faiz was a forgiving person. Almost never did he exhibit a fit of anger. He was civilized and decorous, his personality bereft of rough edges. Dr Aftab Ahmad, his friend and my teacher, once hinted to Faiz that he had never seen him angry. Was he ever angry, he enquired? Faiz answered in the affirmative. What happened then, Doctor Sahib persisted. “Nothing, I suppressed my anger,” he answered.

His early upbringing, which was devoid of any conflicts, was responsible for this peace and placidity which remained unruffled even in the face of provocation, though he was a revolutionary on an intellectual plank, and could be expected to be a pugnacious firebrand.

Faiz was once informed that one of his contemporaries was bitterly critical of his person and poetry, to the extent of being insulting. He calmly listened to the details of the invectives and with equal calm answered. “Bha’ee, let him say what he wants to. After all, he is entitled to his views.”

Megalomania is usually a part and parcel of the personality of a creative artist. Hyperbole (Ta’alli) has been used by almost all the poets of Urdu. Not Faiz. On the contrary, he was self-effacing. Once asked what was the inspiration behind his poetry, he dismissed that a divine inspiration was behind it and humorously added that composing poetry was mere addiction for him in the same way as some people are addicted to playing chess or flying kites.

Sensitive soul as Faiz was, he was always conscious of the predicament of human existence. It got augmented with the death of his father who died when Faiz was still a student. The combination of personal adversity and the pain of human suffering can break the back of an ordinary human being. Though he remained cognizant of the pain around him, Faiz kept the flame of hope burning bright, yet another testimony to his solid and happy background which bestowed on him the penchant of not losing sight of the light at the end of the tunnel. His poetry is replete with examples where hope and optimism suddenly arise out of a desperate and hopeless situation.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Txt Msg in Urdu

Thanks to technology now we can see Urdu in places where it was least expected, cell phones. Now the question remains will the text messaging culture have the same impact on Urdu as we are seeing in English and other languages?


Tegic Gets Smarter With Text Messaging
By Tim Gray

Tegic Communications, a subsidiary of America Online (Quote, Chart),
has released the latest version of its T9 smart text message system, which
allows users of wireless devices to type entire words or sentences with a single

The Seattle-based company said the 7.2 version of T9 Text
Input provides a broad linguistic database with thousands of words, emoticons
and punctuation that users activate through standard telephone keypads.

"Everything about the phone customer is reflected in their personality
features," Lisa Nathan, director of product management, told
"It adapts to the end user."

For example, Nathan said that European
teens developed their own "funky, hip" language, or "slanguage," for expediency
purposes while text messaging. The input technology absorbs that language and
recognizes it when the the user next messages with the device.

company has included a dictionary in the software for users to keep pace with
those terms. Business is also driving change in text messaging, and the language
in the boardroom is also recognized as adding to the medium's lexicon.

"Whether or not you are using the Queens English or the Queens Danish,
it can adapt," she said.

And if the program doesn't recognize a word, it
will learn it and recognize it the next time you enter it. The text experience
gets faster every time it is used, according to Nathan.

The software
also simplifies the use of wireless communications services, such as SMS (short
messaging service), wireless Internet access and wireless e-mail by making text
input on a mobile phone easier, she said.

The latest T9 version has
added three South East Asian languages -- Bengali, Tamil and Urdu -- and allows
users to switch among any of the program's 45 languages. The growth of the text
messaging market across the globe, especially in hotbed tech sectors like
Southeast Asia, play a pivotal role in choosing languages for development, said

Although the North American markets have been slow to embrace
mobile text messaging, primarily because of the lack of infrastructure to
support it, its use is on the rise, according to industry experts.

messaging and mobile instant messaging have seen sharp increases, according to a
study released earlier this year by the Yankee Group. In fact, 2.6 billion text
messages were sent and received in the first quarter of 2004, up from 1.2
billion one year earlier.

Tegic has focused on the Asian markets, but
languages with character-based lettering, such as Chinese, Korean and Japanese,
have proved more challenging to Tegic's engineers. The company hopes to roll out
updated versions of those language options within the next year.

According to Tegic, there are nearly 300 mobile phone models available
throughout the world today that include T9 Text Input. The technology has been
licensed to major consumer electronics and communications equipment
manufacturers representing more than 90 percent of annual mobile phone
production worldwide.

Learn about the Tegic Language Databases :

Monday, November 22, 2004

Bollywood minus Urdu is be-zabaan

Voice Over: Bollywood's Journey from Poetic to PragmaticFoeticide


[ SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2004 12:00:00 AM ]

At one of the more critical moments in Mughal-e-Azam when Bahar attempts to incite Akbar against Anarkali all she needs to say is ' Aajkal mahal mein anar ki kaliyon pe bahar aayi hai' . Taking the cue, Akbar responds, ' Humne bhi Anarkali ko bahut dinon se nahin dekha. Use hamare saamne pesh kiya jaaye' . No shrewish speeches, no histrionics, just a simple verbal play weaves the intrigue. The art of dialogue is rhetorical speech, of a verbal effect so sharp and arresting that the visuals are left redundant.

Here is Anarkali's formal thanks to Akbar for his generosity in pardoning her life ' Baadshaah ki in behisaab bakhshishon ke badle yeh kaniz Jalaluddin Mohammed Akbar ko apne khoon maaf karti hai' . The line combines the irony of a kaniz pardoning an emperor with a higher act of generosity — she judges Akbar by mortal and immortal standards and forgives him by both. It puts paid to all the action for the only proper response to it is to applaud. It comes from the orality of our narrative tradition perhaps, this tendency to celebrate the verbal in our cinema. And if dialogue is the most important ingredient of our cinema (the stuff that remains after all else is forgotten — Deewar, Sholay ) then Mughal-e-Azam remains the most complete and stunning Hindi film ever made.

For the first four decades of their existence the Hindi talkies were really Urdu and not Hindi cinema. With good reason too, for the origin of the Bombay talkies lay in Parsi theatre, so called because of the entrepreneurs who controlled it, but written and performed mostly in Urdu. Once they understood the nature and impact of sound, studio managers went overboard in hiring writers who could reproduce the rhetoric, melodrama and rhyming prose of the hugely successful Parsi theatre. Men such as Pandit Narayan Prasad Betaab and Agha Hashr Kashmiri, the leading playwrights of the time, reproduced the language, and the format, of their theatrical past into the films they wrote. For the same reason, dialogue and song, two of Hindi cinema's most crucial ingredients, quickly came to acquire preponderance over all else. For a long time afterward, Hindi cinema remained enchained to the literary moorings of Hindustani/Urdu literature. Villains or vamps, tramps or reformers, debonair rakes or profligate black sheep all spoke a language and employed a vocabulary that was unmistakably literary Urdu. The tradition was strengthened also by the modes of training. Sunil Dutt, acting in B R Chopra's Waqt was given diction classes by Akhtar ul Iman, one of the greatest of modern Urdu poets. Right up to the Bachchan era, in fact, characters, even degenerate ones, who appeared in this cinema spoke in a manner resembling the gentility. When Amitabh tells Iftekhar in Deewar , ' Dawar Saheb, main aaj bhi phenke hue paise nahin uthata hoon' , the urbanity of his vocabulary belies his roughness.

Over the last decade, this robust dialogic tradition has been steadily emasculated. The growth of satellite television, the explosion of the music industry and the arrival of the NRI market have so transformed Hindi cinema that it is now difficult to call it a mass medium in the same way as it had seemed earlier. Music, television and overseas rights now sometimes contribute more than the collections on the box office and therefore there is no compulsion now to make please-all, catch-all films. Concomitantly, dialogue and the careful crafting of language that was once its leitmotif have lost their importance. Even advertising commercials are forced to rely on old classics when they go looking for punchy dialogues. Today, it is the 10-25 years age group which determines a film's trade-value, and the films they champion have even redefined love in Hindi cinema. Instead of the social, sentiments centring on the family have become the chief obstacle or spur for love. On the other hand, Bobby, Aradhana, Guide , Mughal-e-Azam , all the mega love stories of yesteryears posited a wider social issue as the central conflict in love. While the new action films shed the poor this new love cinema sheds society.

Time was when one had to learn Urdu to survive in the Hindi film industry. Now, if one doesn't know English, one would find it difficult to find work of any sort. Most of today's stars can speak only English fluently, if that at all. Hindi film posters and promos rely increasingly on English. Scenarios, screenplays and scripts are written in English and even the dialogues are translations from English. The actors' and the makers' lack of command on written or spoken Hindi seems of no consequence.

With a change in personnel, and time, a change in language was bound to occur. But whether this new language will play the same attention to metaphor, poetry, rhetoric and subtlety, as almost all the Indic poetic and literary traditions are wont to do, is unlikely. All to the good then that legendary Lucknawi tongawallah, who asked a tourist to get off because his horse would revolt at the visitor's language is no longer around. The horse needn't bolt any longer, for to paraphrase Ghalib, 'Rau mein hai Rakhsh-e-zubaan, kahan dekhiye thame' . The horse of language flies away, who knows where it will stop!

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Urdu Radio Program in Hong Kong

Urdu and Nepali radio programmes to launch

The Home Affairs Bureau and Metro Plus AM1044 will jointly launch radio shows Hong Kong-Pak Tonight in Urdu and Harmo Sagarmatha in Nepalese on November 20.

Thirteen episodes of Hong Kong-Pak Tonight will air every Saturday from 8pm to 8.30pm, while Harmo Sagarmatha will air for 13 consecutive Mondays at the same timeslot.

The programmes are mainly entertainment-oriented with music an important element. News, sports, local customs and lifestyles in Hong Kong are also covered while local personalities from the respective ethnic communities are invited to talk about their cultural heritage and social inclusion.

The bureau said the programmes are among the government initiatives to enhance ethnic minorities' sense of belonging to Hong Kong, while retaining their own cultural identities and promoting multi-culturalism.


'Harmo Sagarmatha' literally means 'our Mount Everest' in Nepali. Mount Everest is equally divided between Nepal and China and the border between the two countries runs across Mount Everest right through the summit. Taking this as an analogy, many Nepalese in Hong Kong regard themselves as belonging equally to the local Chinese and Nepalese cultures.

Two experienced presenters, Abid Ali Baig and Pushpa Kumar Rai will host the respective shows. Mr Baig has 30 years of broadcasting experience in Pakistan and is both a poet and a writer, while Mr Rai was with the former British Forces Broadcasting Service for nearly two decades and his voice is familiar to many local Nepalese.

For more information, call the bureau's Race Relations Unit on 2835 1579 during office hours.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Urdu and Bollywood

The tackler of tongue-twisters

Whatever you do, don’t say jara instead of zara. Meet the man trying to clean up Bollywood’s Urdu

Mohammed Wajihuddin

Mumbai, November 14: IF THERE’S one thing that gets on Ibrahim Durwesh’s nerves, it’s actors who mispronounce their lines.

‘‘They pronounce zara as jara and ghazal as gajal,’’ complains the bearded 64-year-old. ‘‘They are hopelessly bad when it comes to delivering Urdu dialogue.’’

It’s not just a pet hate. Durwesh is a phonologist—someone who who studies ‘‘the relationships in speech sounds’’—and a connoisseur of Urdu poetry. For him, slips of the tongue are acts of violence.

‘‘Mispronouncing the words is like denuding the language,’’ he fumes.

So Durwesh has made it his mission to get Indians to speak Urdu properly, starting with the arch tongue-twister: Bollywood.

Last year, Kishore Namit Kapoor, Bollywood’s big daddy for wannabe stars in acting, dance and diction, approached Durwesh for help.

‘‘Teaching students the correct pronunciation was Kishore’s biggest headache,’’ smiles Durwesh, who says he can teach ‘workable’ Urdu in just 12 two-hour sessions.

‘‘I have trained over 500 students,’’ he says. They include playback singers like Mahendra Kapoor, Roopkumar Rathod and Anup Jalota, actor Divya Khosla (she is in Anil Sharma’s Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Sathiyo) and model Reshmi Ghoshal.

At a time when Urdu has disappeared from even some noted Urdu scholars’ homes, Durwesh propagates the language with a missionary zeal.

‘‘I don’t have the bio-data to claim my academic excellence. Mine is a silent job,’’ smiles Durwesh, handing over a visiting card which carries a verse from the Quran: ‘‘Allah taught man intelligent speech.’’

The Quran is his inspiration. As a child in Daman in the 1940s, then under Portuguese rule, Durwesh would often listen to qaaris—speakers trained in reciting the Quran. Migrating to Mumbai in the 1950s, he lived in Memon Mohallah in Central Mumbai where ‘‘Quran recitations became a routine.’’

‘‘I found that seven sounds in Arabic—aerial, guttural, lingual, palatal, dental, labial and nasal—helped in understanding Urdu too,’’ explains Durwesh, who has written several booklets on phonology and has a compilation of Begum Akhtar’s ghazals to his credit.

‘‘I have explained the correct phonetics of ghazals,’’ he says.

Darwesh has long lobbied the state government to include phonetics in college curriculi. ‘‘I have written to several chief ministers and secretaries in the department of education. Nobody even acknowledged my letters,’’ he moans.

But despite his vigorous defence of Urdu, Durwesh remains largely unknown. ‘‘His work is rare and he deserves recognition,’’ says Urdu poet Abdul Ahad Saaz.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Scotland Speaks Urdu

Tongue-twisting Urdu is language of choice
By Gillian Harris, Scotland Correspondent

IN LESS than three months, Thomas Watters has mastered 38 letters of the Urdu alphabet, twisted his tongue around unfamiliar vocabulary and learnt to write in script.
The first-year pupil at Shawlands Academy in Glasgow is one of several non-Asian children in his class who have chosen to study a language that is not part of the mainstream curriculum but is spoken by many of their friends and neighbours.

In Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee, where there are significant Asian populations, there has been a surge of interest in Urdu among Scottish pupils.

In the community where Thomas goes to school, on Glasgow’s multicultural south side, Urdu is spoken by the immigrant population, who come from Pakistan.

Last year a record number of pupils sat the Standard Grade exam. Interest in the subject has encouraged the Scottish Qualifications Authority to consider developing Higher Urdu for fifth-year students.

Reasons for learning Urdu vary, but most pupils cite the influence of Asian classmates. Thomas, 12, from Fernbank, Glasgow, said that he thought it might be useful when he was looking for a job: “I took it mainly because I thought it would be enjoyable,” he said.

“I don’t think it is different from learning any other language. It might be more useful later on because not that many Scottish people speak it.”

Tasneem Karim, head of Urdu at Shawlands Academy, believes that close relationships between children from different communities and a desire to communicate better have made pupils more willing to study an Asian language. “The Scottish children in my classes are doing just as well as the ones from Pakistan because they work hard at it,” she said.

Armed with cards made by pupils to celebrate the Muslim holiday of Eid, Mrs Karim pointed to Urdu script written by one girl who had lived all her in life in Glasgow and insisted that it was as perfectly produced as work by her Pakistani friend who moved to Scotland less than a year ago.

The growing influence of Asian culture is also thought to be a factor in the language’s popularity among teenagers. Bollywood films such as Bride & Prejudice and Monsoon Wedding have captured the imaginations of cinemagoers.

The growing number of pupils taking Urdu goes against a decline in the popularity of other modern languages. Scottish Executive figures show that the number of children studying a foreign language has almost halved in the past 20 years. In 1976, 12,000 pupils sat a language exam compared with 7,500 today.

In Scotland, there are many opportunities open to Urdu-speakers — of which there are 104 million worldwide — including teaching, translating, interpreting and social work.

Mrs Karim said: “These children learning it today will be able to get jobs because they have language skills.”,,2-1358978_1,00.html

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Iqbal : Philospher Poet of Urdu

Ghalib may be most popular Urdu poet, but Iqbal is most widely quoted Poet outside the Urdu realms; I have seen him quoted in Hamas documents to Alia Izetbegovic's book. Read this bfief biography adapted from a book by Ali Miyan Nadvi.

Sir Allama Muhammad Iqbal - an
Ideologist, a Poet-Philosopher and a Spiritualist

Allama Iqbal was born in famous city of Sialkot in the Punjab province of Pakistan on November 9, 1877. His ancestors were Kashmiris. They had embraced Islam two hundred years earlier. Iqbal’s father was a devout Muslim with Sufistic bent of mind.

Primary Education

He received his early education in Sialkot. After passing the entrance
examination, he joined Intermediary [Murray] College. Maulana Mir Hassan, a
great oriental scholar, had a special aptitude for imparting his own
literary taste and to his students. Under his influence, Iqbal was drawn
towards Islamic studies, which he regarded to be an outstanding favor that
he could not forget it all his life.

Higher Education

Passing on to the Government College of Lahore,
Shaikh Noor Muhammad: Father of Allama Muhammad Iqbal (Passed away on August 17, 1930)Iqbal did his graduation with English Literature, Philosophy and Arabic as his subjects. At the college he met Prof. Arnold and Sir Abdul Qadir. Iqbal’s poem, Chand (moon) and other early poems appeared in the journal (which belonged to Sir Abdul Qadir) in 1901 and were acclaimed by critics as cutting a new path in Urdu poetry.

It did not take him long to win recognition as a rising star on the
firmament of Urdu literature. In the mean time he had done his MA in
Philosophy and was appointed as a Lecturer in History, Philosophy and
Political science at Oriental College, Lahore. He then moved to Government
College to teach Philosophy and English Literature. Wherever Iqbal worked or
thought his versatility and scholarship made a deep impression on those
around him.

In Europe

Iqbal proceeded to Europe for higher studies in 1905Imam Bibi: Mother of Allama Muhammad Iqbal (Passed away on November 9, 1914)
and stayed there for three years. He took the Honors Degree in Philosophy
and taught Arabic at the Cambridge University in the absence of Prof.
Arnold. From England, he went to Germany to do his doctorate in Philosophy
from Munich and then returned to London to qualify for the bar. He also
served as a teacher in the London school of Commerce and passed the Honors
Examination in Economics and Political Science. During his stay in Europe
Iqbal not only read voraciously but also wrote and lectured on Islamic
subjects which added to his popularity and fame in literary circles.

Back in India

Iqbal returned to India in 1908. The poet had won allShamsul Ulema Moulvi Syed Mir Hassan: Allama's Teacher & Guide (Passed away in September 1929) these academic laurels by the time he was 32 or 33. He practiced as a lawyer from 1908 to 1934, when ill health compelled him to give up his practice. In fact, his heart was not in it and he devoted more time to philosophy and literature than to legal profession.

He attended the meetings of Anjuman Himayat-I-Islam regularly at Lahore. The epoch making poems, Shikwa and Jawab-e-Shikwa, which he read out in the annual convention of it one year after another, sparkled with the glow of
his genius and made him immensely popular. They became the national songs of Millet.

Iqbal’s other poems Tarana-e-Hind (The Indian anthem) and Tarana-e-Milli
(the Muslim Anthem) also became very popular among masses and used to be
sung as symbols of National or Muslim identity at public meetings.

The spirit of Change

The Balkan wars and the Battle of Tripoli, in 1910, shook
Allama Muhammad Iqbal (1899) A snap after his MastersIqbal powerfully and inflicted a deep wound upon his heart. In his mood of anger and frustration, he wrote a number of stirring poems, which together with portraying the anguish of Muslims were severely critical of the West.

The spirit of change is evident in poems like Bilad-e-Islamia (the lands of
Islam), Wataniat (Nationalism), Muslim, Fatima Bint Abdullah (who was killed
in the siege of Cyrainca, Siddiq, Bilal, Tahzib-e-Hazir (Modern
civilization) and Huzoor-e-Risalat Maab Mein (in the presence of Sacred

In these poems, Iqbal deplores the attitude of Muslim leaders who lay a
claim to Islamic leadership and yet are devoid of a genuine spiritual
attachment to the blessed Prophet.

The turning point in Iqbal’s Life

Iqbal was shaken by the tragic eventsPortrait of the Poet as a Barrister-at-Law
of World War-I and the disaster the Muslims had to face. The genius had
passed through the formative period. He had attained maturity as a poet,
thinker, seer and crusader who could read the signs of tomorrow in the
happenings of today, make predictions, present hard facts and unravel
abstruse truths through the medium of poetry and ignite the flame of faith,
Selfhood and courage by his own intensity of feeling and force of
expression. Khizr-e-Raah (The Guide) occupies the place of pride among the
poems he wrote during this period. Bang-e-Dara (The caravan bell) published
in 1929 has held a place of honor in Urdu poetry and world poetry.

Iqbal preferred Persian for poetic expression because its circle was wider
than that of Urdu in Muslim India. His Persian works, Asrar-e-khudi (Secrets
of the self), Rumuz-e-Bekhudi (Mysteries of Selflessness), Payam-e-Mashriq
(Message of the East), Javed Nama (The Song of Eternity) belong to the same
period of his life. And so is Reconstruction of Religious Thoughts in Islam,
which was extensively appreciated and translated into many
Allama Muhammad Iqbal - 1908 (In London)languages.
Academies were set up in Italy and Germany for the study of Iqbal’s poetry
and philosophy.

In 1927 the poet was elected to the Punjab Legislative assembly. In 1930, he
was elected to preside over at the annual session of Muslim League. In his
presidential address at Allahabad, Iqbal for the first time introduced the
idea of Pakistan. In 1930-31, he attended the Round Table conference, which
met in London to frame a constitution for India.

In Spain

While in England, Iqbal accepted the hospitality of Spain. He also went to
Cordoba and had the distinction of being the first Muslim to offer prayers
at its historical mosque after the exile of Moors. Memories of the past
glory of Arabs and their 800-year rule over Spain were revived in his mind
and his emotions were aroused by what he saw.

Meeting with Mussolini

In Italy Iqbal was received by Mussolini who had read sAllama (1929) The poet with his son, Javed Iqbal ome
of his works and was aquatinted with his philosophy. They had long meetings
and talked freely to each other.

The Universities of Cambridge, Rome and Madrid and the Roman Royal society
organized meetings in his honor. On his way back he also went to Jerusalem
to attend the International Conference of Motamar-i-Isalami.

In Afghanistan
At the invitation of King Nadir Shah, Iqbal visited Afghanistan in 1932. The
king received the poet with great honor and met hi privately, as well during
which he laid bare his heart. The two talked and wept.

Iqbal’s Death
The last phase of Iqbal’s life was embittered with constant illness. But as
regards his creative activities this product was most productive. He kept in
touch with every question of the day and continued composing beautiful

A few minutes before his death he recited these touching lines:

The departed melody may return or not!
The zephyr from Hijaz may blow again or not!
The days of this Faqir has come to an end,
Another seer may come or not!

Although Iqbal’s was long and protracted the endAllama Muhammad Iqbal - 1931 (In London) was sudden and very peaceful. He breathed his last in the early hours of April 21, 1938, in the arms of his old and devoted servant, leaving behind a host of mourners all over the Islamic world.

There was a faint smile playing on his lips, which irresistibly reminded one of the last criterions, which he laid down for a truthful Muslim.

I tell you the sign of a Mumin-When death comes there is smile on his lips.

[Note: The above biography is a summarized version from 'Glory of Iqbal' by
Syed Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi]

Monday, November 08, 2004


Individual Poets
ALI , Agha Shahid
POSTCARD FROM KASHMIR tr. Jagan Nath Azad {Azad, Jagan Nath} Urdu & English texts. Cross-Cultural Communications (NY) C-C Review Chapbook.

AGHA , Wazir (b.1922)
SELECTED POEMS sel. with intros. Jamil Azar {Azar, Jamil} & Mushtaq Qamar {Qamar, Mushtaq} vr.trs. English text only. Maktaba Urdu Zuban (Sargodha) 92pp (intros. 5-14, notes 89-92) 1979 paper only.

WAZIR AGHA'S POETRY ed. Salahuddin Parvez {Parvez, Salahuddin} vr.trs. note Rajinder Singh Verma {Verma, Rajinder Singh} aft. Ghulam Jilani Asghar {Asghar, Ghulam Jilani} English text only. Skylark (Aligarh UP) 56pp (aft. etc. 48-56) 1982 paper only. Special issue of Skylark 46.

HALF A CENTURY LATER tr. with intro. Rajinder Singh Verma {Verma, Rajinder Singh} English text only. West Pakistan Urdu Academy (Lahore) 52pp (intro. 3pp, aft. 51-52) 1989 paper only.

ARIF , Iftikar (b.1943)
THE TWELFTH MAN tr. Brenda Walker {Walker, Brenda} Urdu & English texts. Forest Books (London) 69pp (intros. xi-xxii) 1989 paper only. Cut & paste below. Check 2nd recent title.

AMJAD , Amjad Islam (b.1944)
IN THE LAST DAYS OF AUTUMN tr. Baidar Bakht {Bakht, Baidar} & Leslie Lavigne {Lavigne, Leslie} English text only. Sang-E-Meel Publications (Lahore) 66pp (notes etc. 63-66) 1991 cloth only.

AZMI , Kaifi (b.1924)
THE POETRY OF KAIFI AZMI tr. Pritish Nandy {Nandy, Pritish} English text only. Poet's Press/Arnold Heinemann (Calcutta) approx. 22pp (intro. 3pp) 1975 paper only (stapled).

BUKHARI , Farigh (19[..]-1997)
FARIGH'S POEMS : SONGS OF LOVE AND STRUGGLE tr. Yunus Ahmer {Ahmer, Yunus} English text [only]. Khalid Academy (Lahore) 63pp 1982. Check details.

FAIZ , Faiz Ahmed (1911-1984)
POEMS BY FAIZ tr. with intro. & notes V.G. Kiernan {Kiernan, V.G.} Urdu & English texts. George Allen & Unwin (London) 288pp (intros. 9-44, notes 281-288) 1971 cloth only. Bil. texts & with the Urdu also transliterated.

ELEVEN POEMS And An Introduction ed. Pritish Nandy {Nandy, Pritish} tr. C. M. Naim {Naim, C. M.} & Carlo Coppola {Coppola, Carlo} English text only. Dialogue (Calcutta) [.....................] 1972 paper & cloth. Dialogue Calcutta 19.

POEMS BY FAIZ tr. with intro. & notes V.G. Kiernan {Kiernan, V.G.} Urdu & English texts. Oxford University Press (Karachi etc.) 288pp (intros. 9-44, notes 281 -288) 1973 cloth only. Bil. texts & with the Urdu text also transliterated. Pakistan ed. of '71 above.

POEMS FROM FAIZ tr. Ikran Azam {Azam, Ikran} English text [only]. Nairang-e-Khayal Publications (Rawal-pindi) 59pp 1982. Check details.

SELECTED POEMS OF FAIZ In English tr. Daud Kamal {Kamal, Daud} English text. Pakistan Publishing House (Karachi) 79pp 1984 cloth only. Check details in SPL.

AN ELUSIVE DAWN Selection From The Poetry of Faiz Ahmed Faiz tr. Mahbub Ul Haq {Haq, Mahbub Ul} Urdu & English texts. Pakistan National Commission for Unesco (Islamabad) 87pp (intros. 7-12) 1985 cloth only.

MEMORY tr. Sain Sucha {Sucha, Sain} intro. Basit Meer {Meer, Basit} Urdu & English texts. Vudya Kitaban Forlag (Sollentuna, Sweden) 67pp (intros. I-VII) 1987 paper only.

POEMS BY FAIZ tr. with intro. & notes Victor Kiernan {Kiernan, Victor} Urdu & English texts. Vanguard Books (Lahore) 288pp (intros. 9-44, notes 281-288) 1987 paper only. Bil. texts with the Urdu also transliterated. New ed. of '73 above.

YAQUB'S SELECTION & TRANSLATION OF POEMS BY FAIZ AHMED FAIZ tr. M. Yaqub {Yaqub, M.} Urdu & English texts. Jacobs Newsagents (Nottingham) 139pp (intros. 3-18, comments etc. 133-139) 1987 cloth only. With 3 photos of Faiz.

THE TRUE SUBJECT Selected Poetry of Faiz tr. with intro. Naomi Lazard {Lazard, Naomi} Urdu & English texts. Princeton University Press (Princeton NJ) 133pp (intro. xi-xviii) 1988 paper & cloth. Publ. in Lockert Library of Poetry In Translation Series.

THE UNICORN & THE DANCING GIRL sel. & ed. Khalid Hasan {Hasan, Khalid} tr. Daud Kamal {Kamal, Daud} Urdu & English texts. Independent Publishing Co. (London) 113pp (intros. xi-lxvi) 1988 cloth only. Urdu text en face but with separate pagination.

THE TRUE SUBJECT tr. with intro. Naomi Lazard {Lazard, Naomi} Urdu & English texts. Vanguard Books (Lahore) 133pp (intro. xi-xviii) 1988 cloth only. Pakistan ed. of Princeton ed. '88 above.

THE REBEL'S SILHOUETTE tr. with pref. Agha Shahid Ali {Ali, Agha Shahid} Urdu & English texts. Gibbs-Smith Publishers (Layton, Utah) 101pp (pref. 3pp) 1991 paper only. A Peregrine Smith Book.

THE REBEL'S SILHOUETTE tr. with pref. Agha Shahid Ali {Ali, Agha Shahid} Urdu & English texts. Oxford University Press (Delhi etc.) 101pp (pref. 3pp) 1991 paper only. Oxford Paperback. Indian ed. of above.

FAIZ AHMAD FAIZ 1911-1984 : URDU POET OF SOCIAL REALISM essay study & trs. Estelle Dryland {Dryland, Estelle} Urdu & English texts. Vanguard Books (Lahore) 306pp (pref. ix-xvii, study 1-173, poems & biblio. 176-303) 1993 paper only. Prose study in English only. [...........].

SELECTED POEMS OF FAIZ AHMED FAIZ tr. with intro. Shiv K. Kumar {Kumar, Shiv K.} Urdu & English texts. Viking Penguin Books India (New Delhi etc.) 205pp (intro. etc. xi-xxiv) 1995 cloth only. With a poem by the tr. in memory of the poet.

THE REBEL'S SILHOUETTE Selected Poems tr. with intro. Agha Shahid Ali {Ali, Agha Shahid} Urdu & English texts. University Of Massachusetts Press (Amherst MA) 101pp (intro. ix-xxvi) 1995 paper only. Rev. ed. of '91 with new intro.

POEMS OF FAIZ AHMAD FAIZ A Poet Of The Third World tr. with intro. Mohammed Zakir {Zakir, Mohammed} & M. N. Menai {Menai, M. N.} English text only. MD Publications Ltd. (New Delhi) 83pp (intro. & chron. 7pp) 1995 cloth only. Oriental Literature In Translation 1.

FARAZ , Ahmad (b.1936)
THE BANISHED DREAMS tr. M.H.K. Qureshi {Qureshi, M.H.K.} Urdu & English texts. Shakti Communications (London) 133pp (fore. vii-x) 1985 paper only. Bil. texts with transliterations of the Urdu also.

FAROOQI , Saqi (b.1936)
A LISTENING GAME tr. Frances W. Pritchett {Pritchett, Frances W.} sel. with intro. Shamsur Rahman Faruqi {Faruqi, Shamsur Rahman} English text only. Lokamaya Press (London) 86pp (intros. 1-35) 1987 paper only.

GULZAR (b.1938)
SILENCES Selected Poems tr. with pref. Rina Singh {Singh, Rina} English text only. Rupa & Co. (New Delhi etc.) 124pp (prefs. xv-xix) 1994 cloth only. With illus. by [poet].

HUSSAIN , Ashfaq (b.1951)
THAT DAY WILL DAWN tr. Shehla Burney {Burney, Shehla} & others Urdu & English texts. Pakistan-Canada Amity Forum (Toronto) 144pp (tr. 11-73, orig. 74-144) 1985 paper only. Urdu & English texts not en face.

AKHTAR-UL-IMAN (1915-1996)
TAKING STOCK Selected Poems ed. Baidar Bakht {Bakht, Baidar} tr.ed {Bakht, Baidar}., Leslie Lavigne {Lavigne, Leslie} & Kathleen Grant Jaeger {Jaeger, Kathleen Grant} English text only. Sang-E-Meel Publications (Lahore) 146pp (poet's fore. 3-10, notes 145-146) 1991 paper only.

QUERY OF THE ROAD Selected Poems ed. Baidar Bakht {Bakht, Baidar} tr.ed {Bakht, Baidar}., Leslie Lavigne {Lavigne, Leslie}, Kathleen Grant Jaeger {Jaeger, Kathleen Grant} Urdu & English texts. Rupa & Co. (Calcutta etc) 683pp (poet's fore. 1-13, comm. & notes etc. 575-683) 1996 cloth only.

IQBAL , Muhammed (1877-1938)
THE SECRETS OF THE SELF tr. with intro. & notes Renold A. Nicholson {Nicholson, Renold A.} English text [only]. Sh. Muhammad Ashraf (Lahore) 148pp (intro. vii-xxxi) 1960 with many reprs. (incl.'83). First publ. in this rev. ed. in 1940.

THE PILGRIMAGE OF ETERNITY tr. with intro. Shaikh Mahmud Ahmad {Ahmad, Shaikh Mahmud} English text only. Institute of Islamic Culture (Lahore) 187pp (intros. vii-xxii) 1961 cloth only.

JAVID-NAMA tr. A. J. Arberry {Arberry, A. J.} English text only. George Allen & Unwin (London) 151pp (intro. 9-16) 1966 cloth only.

IQBAL AND HIS POEMS (A Reappraisal) ed. & tr. K. N. Sud {Sud, K. N.} English text only. Sterling Publishers (Jullunder & Delhi) 138pp (fores. i-iv, intro. 19-43) 1969 cloth only. [Check again.]

THE NEW ROSE GARDEN OF MYSTERY And THE BOOK OF SLAVES tr. Hadi Hussain {Hussain, Hadi} intro. S. A. Vahid {Vahid, S. A.} English text only. Sh. Muhammad Ashraf (Lahore) 66pp (intro. iii-xvi) 1969 (repr. '77) paper & cloth.

A MESSAGE FROM THE EAST A Selective Verse Rendering tr. M. Hadi Hussain {Hussain, M. Hadi} English text only. Iqbal Academy Pakistan (Karachi) 127pp (fore. xiii-xv, notes 125-127) 1971 cloth only.

RUBAYIAT OF IQBAL tr. with pref. & notes A.R. Tariq {Tariq, A.R.} English text only. Sh. Ghulam Ali & Sons (Lahore) 220pp (pref. v-xix, index 211-220) 1973 cloth only.

POEMS FROM 1QBAL sel. & tr. Victor G. Kiernan {Kiernan, Victor G.} English text [only]. Kutub Publishers (Bombay) 1974. New ed. of '55. Check in IOL.

A MESSAGE FROM THE EAST tr. M. Hadi Hussain {Hussain, M. Hadi} fore. S.A. Rahman {Rahman, S. A.} English text only. Iqbal Academy Pakistan (Lahore) 189pp (prefs. v-xix, notes 182-189) 1977 cloth only. Exp. from ed. publ. '71.

LONGER POEMS OF IQBAL tr. with notes A. R. Tariq {Tariq, A. R.} English text [only]. Sh. Ghulam Ali & Sons (Lahore) 206pp 1978 cloth only. Check again.

SECRETS OF THE SELF A Philosophical Poem tr. with intro. R. A. Nicholson {Nicholson, R. A.} aft. Mulk Raj Anand {Anand, Mulk Raj} English text only. Arnold-Heinemann (New Delhi) 131pp (intro. 9-25, aft. 113-131) 1978 cloth only.

COMPLAINT AND ANSWER Iqbal's Dialogue With Allah tr. with intro. Khushwant Singh {Singh, Khushwant} fore. Rafiq Zakaria {Zakaria, Rafiq} Urdu & English texts. Oxford University Press (Delhi etc.) 96pp (intros. 9-27) 1981 (rev.'82 & repr.'91) paper only.

THE ROD OF MOSES Versified English Translation tr. with intro. & notes Syed Akbar Ali Shah {Shah, Syed Akbar Ali} English text only. Iqbal Academy Pakistan (Lahore) 170pp (intro. i-xiv, notes 115-170) 1983 cloth only (board).

ARMAGHAN-I-HIJAZ Versified English Translation tr. with notes Q. A. Kabir {Kabir, Q. A.} English text only. Iqbal Academy Pakistan (Lahore) 157pp (pref. v-vi) 1983 cloth only (board).

IQBALIAT A Selection And Translation sel. & tr. M. Yaqub Mirza {Mirza, M. Yaqub} prefs. David Matthews {Matthews, David}, Jagan Nath Azad {Azad, Jagan Nath}& others Urdu & English texts. Iqbal Academy Pakistan (Lahore) 135pp (prefs. 6-33) 1991 cloth only.

A SELECTION OF THE URDU VERSE Text And Translation tr. with intro. & comm. D.J. Matthews {Matthews, D.J.} Urdu & English texts. School Of Oriental & African Studies/University Of London (London) 289pp (pref. vii-x, intro. 1-8, comm. etc. 149-289) 1993 paper only.

A SELECTION OF THE URDU VERSE Text And Translation ed. & tr. with comm. D. J. Matthews {Matthews, D. J.} Urdu & English texts. Heritage Publishers (New Delhi) 289pp (intro. 1-8, comm. etc. 149-289) 1993 paper [only].

BAAL-I-JIBREEL A Verse Translation tr. with intro. & notes Naim Siddiqui {Siddiqui, Naim} English text only. Alhamra Publications (Fremont CA) 156pp (intro. 1-17, notes etc. 143-156) 1996 paper only.

IQBAL Rhymed Translations Of Selected Poems tr. with intro. Khwaja Tariq Mahmood {Mahmood, Khwaja Tariq} Urdu & English texts. Dhan Kahoon Publications (Chakwal) 203pp (intro. i-xvii, notes 201-203) 1996 paper only.

Muhammad Iqbal wrote in both Urdu & Persian: the above titles incl. trs. from across the whole range of this work.

KASHMIRI , Tabassum (b.19[..])
FRAGMENTED VERSES Selected Poems tr. Sandip Tagore {Tagore, Sandip} pref. poet {Kashmiri, Tabassum} English text only. Book Traders (Lahore) 78pp (pref. p.7) 1991 cloth only.

KOMAL , Balraj (b.1928)
SELECTED POEMS OF BALRAJ KOMAL tr. Leslie Lavigne {Lavigne, Leslie} & Baidar Bakht {Bakht, Baidar} intro. Shamsur Rahman Faruqi {Faruqi, Shamsur Rahman} Urdu & English texts. Educational Publishing House (Delhi)/Urdu Publishers (Toronto) 113pp (intro. 1-5) 1989 cloth only. Bil. texts not en face.

A SKY FULL OF BIRDS tr. poet {Komal, Balraj} English text only. Sahitya Akademi (New Delhi etc.) 93pp 1992 cloth only.

LUDHIANVI , Sahir (1921-1980)
SHADOWS SPEAK tr. with intro. Khwaja Ahmad Abbas {Abbas, Khwaja Ahmad} pref. Sajjad Zaheer {Zaheer, Sajjad} English text only. P.P.H. Bookstall (Bombay) 129pp (intro. 7-12) 1958 paper only.

THE BITTER HARVEST tr. Rifat Hassan {Hassan, Rifat} Urdu & English texts. Aziz Publishers (Lahore) 169pp (pref. i-iii) 1977 cloth only.

SORCERY/ (Sahri) tr. with pref. Sain Sucha {Sucha, Sain} Urdu & English texts. Vudya Kitaban Forlag (Sollentuna, Sweden) 114pp (pref. 1-6, essay in Urdu 106-114) 1989 paper only.

NAHEED , Kishwar (b.1940)
THE PRICE OF LOOKING BACK Poems of Kishwar Naheed ed. & tr. Baidar Bakht {Bakht, Baidar} & Derek M. Cohen {Cohen, Derek M.} Urdu & English texts. Book Traders (Lahore) 112pp (fore. p.5, note p.112) 1987 cloth only.

THE SCREAM OF AN ILLEGITIMATE VOICE Selected Poems sel. Baidar Bakht {Bakht, Baidar} tr. Baidar Bakht {Bakht, Baidar}, Leslie Lavigne {Lavigne, Leslie} & Derek M. Cohen {Cohen, Derek M.} English text only. Sang-e-Meel Publications (Lahore) 162pp 1991 paper only (wrs.).

NAZAR , Prem Kumar (b.1936)
THE SILENT KNOT Urdu Ghazals tr. with pref. Bhupinder Parihar {Parihar, Bhupinder} intro. Shamsur Rahman Faruqi {Faruqi, Shamsur Rahman} aft. N.S. Tasneem {Tasneem, N. S.} English text only. Writers Workshop (Calcutta) 72pp (intro. 9-19, aft. 71-72) 1994 paper & cloth (sari-bound).

QASMI , Ahmad Nadeem (b.1916)
Check 1 title.

RAHBAR , Muhammad Daud (b.1927)
THE CUP OF JAMSHID A Collection Of Original Ghazal Poetry tr. poet {Rahbar, Muhammad Daud} English text only. Claude Stark Inc. (Cape Cod MA & Harlford VA) 199pp (intro. 1-19, gl. & notes etc. 189-199) 1974 cloth only.

RAHMATULLAH , Shahabuddin (b.1913)
ANGELIC WHISPERS Selected Love Lyrics tr. with essay poet {Rahmatullah, Shahabuddin} pref. Wafa Rashdi {Rashdi, Wafa} English text with some Urdu. Vantage Press (NY) 165pp (prefs. & essay 4-52) 1990 paper only. With photos & illus. with many paintings by the poet.

RASHED , N. M. (1910-1975)
THE DISSIDENT VOICE Poems Of N.M. Rashed tr. with intro. & notes M.A.R. Habib {Habib, M.A.R.} English text only. Oxford University Press (Delhi etc.) 123pp (pref. vii-xi, intro. 1-30) 1991 paper only. An Oxford Paperback.

POEMS OF N.M. RASHED A Poet Of The Third World tr. with intro. Mohammed Zakir {Zakir, Mohammed} English text only. MD Publications (New Delhi) 165pp (intro. 1-30) 1995 cloth only. Oriental Literature In Translation - 2.

SHAHEDI , Parvez (19[..]-1968)
SELECTED POEMS tr. Aamo Ghani {Ghani, Aamo} English text only. Satyabharata (Calcutta) 16pp 1969. Check if poems were Urdu or Hindi/ & publ. by Dialogue (Calcutta).

SHAHRYAR (b.1936)
THE GATEWAY TO DREAMS IS CLOSED tr. Baidar Bakht {Bakht, Baidar} & Leslie Lavigne {Lavigne, Leslie} English text only. Sahitya Akademi (New Delhi etc.) 120pp 1990 paper only.

SHAIR , Himayat Ali (b.1930)
FLOWER IN FLAMES An Urdu Poem On World Peace tr. Rajinder Singh Verma {Verma, Rajinder Singh} intro. Mohammad Ali Siddiqui {Siddiqui, Mohammad Ali} Urdu & English texts. Al-Musannefeen (Karachi) 120pp (intro. 5-7, two essays 108-120) 1985 cloth only. With essays by Yunus Ahmar & Azhar Qadri.

EVERY WORD AGLOW tr. Rajinder Singh Verma {Verma, Rajinder Singh} English text [only]. Dunya-e-Adab (Karachi) 1993. With articles on the poet by Abdul Q. Zia, Yunus Ahmar & Nasim Nasho Faiz.

SINGH , Darshan (1921-1989)
LOVE AT EVERY STEP My Concept Of Poetry tr. poet {Singh, Darshan} intro. Vinod Sena {Sena, Vinod} aft. Ali Jawad Zaidi {Zaidi, Ali Jawad} English text only. Sawan Kirpal Publication (Bowling Green VA & Delhi) 108pp (intros. 1-19, poet's essays 21-46 & 81-97, poems 48-78, aft. 99-108) 1989 paper only. Incl. 2 essays by poet.

ZAHIR , Ali (b.1947)
SEVEN DAYS, SEVEN HEAVENS tr. poet {Zahir, Ali} with Jane Amphlett {Amphlett, Jane} intro. Hasan Askari {Askari, Hasan} English text only. Seven Mirrors Publishing House (Leeds UK) 38pp (intro. vi-vii) 1991 paper only.

MODERN URDU POEMS FROM PAKISTAN ed. & tr. Anis Nagi {Nagi, Anis} English text only. Swad Noon Publications (Lahore) 220pp (pref. 1-13, notes 213-220) 1974 cloth only. Work of 26 poets incl.

SPECIAL URDU POETRY NUMBER ed. Mirza Baldev {Baldev, Mirza} vr.trs. English text only. Skylark (Aligarh) 1976 paper only (stapled). Special issue of Skylark Vol. 17 No.3 March '76.

AN ANTHOLOGY OF MODERN URDU POETRY ed. & tr. Baidar Bakht {Bakht, Baidar} & Kathleen Grant Jaeger {Jaeger, Kathleen Grant} Urdu & English texts. Educational Publishing House (Delhi) 251pp (fore. xi-xiv,...) 1984 cloth only. Vol.1 incl work of 7 poets. Vol. 2 not seen.

THE PENGUIN BOOK OF MODERN URDU POETRY sel. & tr. Mahmood Jamal {Jamal, Mahmood} English text only. Penguin Books (London) 165pp (intro. 11-20) 1986 paper only. Work of 17 poets incl. [Check a new ed. of this].

AN ANTHOLOGY OF MODERN URDU POETRY ed. & tr. M.H.K. Qureshi {Qureshi, M.H.K.} [Urdu & English texts]. Urdu Society Of Canada (Toronto) 385pp 1988 [paper only]. Check details.

CONTEMPORARY URDU VERSE sel. & tr. Rajinder Singh Verma {Verma, Rajinder Singh} English text only. Atma Ram & Sons (Delhi) 112pp 1989 cloth only. Work by 80 poets most with one poem each.

MASTERPIECES OF URDU GHAZAL From The 17th To The 20th Century tr. with intro. K. C. Kanda {Kanda, K. C.} Urdu & English texts. Sterling Publishers Private Ltd. (New Delhi) 334pp (intro. 1-15, index 331-334) 1990 cloth only. Work by 9 poets, 4 C20th : Mohammed Iqbal, Hasrat Mohani, Raghu-pati Sahai Firaq, Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Each poet with brief intro. & photo.

BEYOND BELIEF Contemporary Feminist Urdu Poetry ed. & tr. Rukhsana Ahmad {Ahmad, Rukhsana} English text only. ASR Publications (Lahore) 78pp 1990 paper only. Poems by 7 women incl. Bil. ed. publ. UK 1991 below.

WE SINFUL WOMEN Contemporary Urdu Feminist Poetry ed. & tr. Rukhsana Ahmad {Ahmad, Rukhsana} Urdu & English texts. The Women's Press (London) 193pp (intro. 1-29) 1991 paper only. Poems of 7 women incl. 1st publ.1990 above.

FIRE AND THE ROSE An Anthology Of Modern Urdu Poetry ed. & tr. Anisur Rahman {Rahman, Anisur} Urdu & English texts. Rupa & Co. (Calcutta etc.) 353pp (intro. xv-xxiv, notes 337-353) 1995 (repr. '97) paper & cloth. Paper ed. '97. With work by 45 poets.

CONTEMPORARY URDU POETRY Contributions Of Poets Of Punjab ed. & tr. S. S. Bhatti {Bhatti, S. S.} fore. Wazir Agha {Agha, Wazir} Urdu & English text. Siddharth Publications (New Delhi) 192pp (intros. 7-31, notes 181-192) 1996 cloth only. Work by 10 poets each with essay intro. Urdu texts translit.

MASTERPIECES OF MODERN URDU POETRY ed. & tr. K. C. Kanda {Kanda, K. C.} Urdu & English texts. Sterling Publishers Pvt. (New Delhi etc.) 357pp (intro. 1-15) 1998 cloth [only]. Work by [..] poets each with photo & brief intro. Check other anths.


Thursday, November 04, 2004

Ghalib : an Introduction


Mirza Asadullah Beg Khan — known to posterity as Ghalib, a `nom de plume' he adopted in the tradition of all clasical Urdu poets, was born in the city of Agra, of parents with Turkish aristocratic ancestry, probably on December 27th, 1797. As to the precise date, Imtiyaz Ali Arshi has conjectured, on the basis of Ghalib's horoscope, that the poet might have been born a month later, in January 1798. Both his father and uncle died while he was still young, and he spent a good part of his early boyhood with his mother's family. This, of course, began a psychology of ambivalences for him.

On the one hand, he grew up relatively free of any oppressive dominance by adult, male-dominant figures. This, it seems to me, accounts for at least some of the independent spirit he showed from very early child- hood. On the other hand, this placed him in the humiliating situation of being socially and economically dependent on maternal grandparents, giving him, one can surmise, a sense that whatever worldly goods he received were a matter of charity and not legitimately his. His pre- occupation in later life with finding secure, legitimate, and comfortable means of livelihood can be perhaps at least partially understood in terms of this early uncertainity. The question of Ghalib's early education has often confused Urdu scholars. Although any record of his formal education that might exist is extremely scanty, it is also true that Ghalib's circle of friends in Delhi included some of the most eminent minds of his time. There is, finally, irrevocably, the evidence of his writings, in verse as well as in prose, which are distinguished not only by creative excellence but also by the great knowledge of philosophy, ethics, theology, classical literature, grammar, and history that they reflect.

I think it is reasonable to believe that Mulla Abdussamad Harmuzd -- the man who was supposedly Ghalib's tutor, whom Ghalib mentions at times with great affection and respect, but whose very existence he denies -- was, in fact, a real person and an actual tutor of Ghalib when Ghalib was a young boy in Agra. Harmuzd was a Zoroastrian from Iran, converted to Islam, and a devoted scholar of literature, language, and religions. He lived in anonymity in Agra while tutoring Ghalib, among others. In or around 1810, two events of great importance occured in Ghalib's life: he was married to a well-to-do, educated family of nobles, and he left for Delhi. One must remember that Ghalib was only thirteen at the time. It is impossible to say when Ghalib started writing poetry. Perhaps it was as early as his seventh or eight years. On the other hand, there is evidence that most of what we know as his complete works were substantially completed by 1816, when he was 19 years old, and six years after he first came to Delhi. We are obviously dealing with a man whose maturation was both early and rapid.

We can safely conjecture that the migration from Agra, which had once been a capital but was now one of the many important but declining cities, to Delhi, its grandeur kept intact by the existence of the moghul court, was an important event in the life of this thirteen year old, newly married poet who desparately needed material security, who was beginning to take his career in letters seriously, and who was soon to be recognized as a genius, if not by the court, at least some of his most important comtemporaries. As for the marriage, in the predomin- antly male-oriented society of Muslim India no one could expect Ghalib to take that event terribly seriously, and he didn't. The period did, however mark the beginnings of concern with material advancement that was to obsess him for the rest of his life. In Delhi Ghalib lived a life of comfort, though he did not find immediate or great success. He wrote first in a style at once detached, obscure , and pedantic, but soon thereafter he adopted the fastidious, personal, complexly moral idiom which we now know as his mature style. It is astonishing that he should have gone from sheer precocity to the extremes of verbal ingenuity and obscurity, to a style which, next to Meer's, is the most important and comprehensive styles of the ghazal in the Urdu language before he was even twenty. The course of his life from 1821 onward is easier to trace. His interest began to shift decisively away from Urdu poetry to Persian during the 1820's, and he soon abandoned writing in Urdu almost altogether, except whenever a new edition of his works was forthcoming and he was inclined to make changes, deletions, or additions to his already existing opus. This remained the pattern of his work until 1847, the year in which he gained direct access to the Moghul court.

I think it is safe to say that throughout these years Ghalib was mainly occupied with the composition of the Persian verse, with the preparation of occasional editions of his Urdu works which remained essentially the same in content, and with various intricate and exhausting proceedings undertaken with a view to improving his financial situation, these last consisting mainly of petitions to patrons and government, including the British. Although very different in style and procedure, Ghalib's obsession with material means, and the accompanying sense of personal insecurity which seems to threaten the very basis of selfhood, reminds one of Bauldeaire. There is, through the years, the same self-absorption, the same overpowering sense of terror which comes from the necessities of one's own creativity and intelligence, the same illusion -- never really believed viscerrally -- that if one could be released from need one could perhaps become a better artist. There is same flood of complaints, and finally the same triumph of a self which is at once morbid, elegant, highly creative, and almost doomed to realize the terms not only of its desperation but also its distinction. Ghalib was never really a part of the court except in its very last years, and even then with ambivalence on both sides . There was no love lost between Ghalib himself and Zauq, the king's tutor in the writing of poetry; and if their mutual dislike was not often openly expressed, it was a matter of prudence only. There is reason to believe that Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Moghul king, and himself a poet of considerable merit, did not much care for Ghalib's style of poetry or life. There is also reason to believe that Ghalib not only regarded his own necessary subservient conduct in relation to the king as humiliating but he also considered the Moghul court as a redundant institution. Nor was he well-known for admiring the king's verses. However, after Zauq's death Ghalib did gain an appiontment as the king's advisor on matters of versifiaction. He was also appointed, by royal order, to write the official history of the Moghul dynasty, a project which was to be titled "Partavistan" and to fill two volumes. The one volume "Mehr-e-NeemRoz", which Ghalib completed is an indifferent work, and the second volume was never completed, supposedly because of the great disturbances caused by the Revolt of 1857 and the consequent termination of the Moghul rule. Possibly Ghalib's own lack of interest in the later Moghul kings had something to do with it. The only favouarble result of his connection with the court between 1847 and 1857 was that he resumed writing in Urdu with a frequency not experienced since the early 1820's. Many of these new poems are not panegyrics, or occasional verses to celebrate this or that. He did, however, write many ghazals which are of the same excellence and temper as his early great work. Infact, it is astonis- hing that a man who had more or less given up writing in Urdu thirty years before should, in a totally different time and circumstance, produce work that is, on the whole, neither worse nor better than his earlier work. One wonders just how many great poems were permanently lost to Urdu when Ghalib chose to turn to Persian instead. In its material dimensions, Ghalib's life never really took root and remained always curiously unfinished. In a society where almost everybody seems to have a house of his own, Ghalib never had one and always rented one or accepted the use of one from a patron. He never had books of his own, usually reading borrowed ones. He had no children; the ones he had, died in infancy, and he later adopted the two children of Arif, his wife's nephew who died young in 1852. Ghalib's one wish, perhaps as strong as the wish to be a great poet, that he should have a regular, secure income, never materialized.

His brother Yusuf, went mad in 1826, and died, still mad, in that year of all misfortunes, 1857. His relations with his wife were, at best, tentative, obscure and indifferent. Given the social structure of mid-nineteenth-century Muslim India, it is, of course, inconceivable that *any* marriage could have even begun to satisfy the moral and intellectual intensities that Ghalib required from his relationships; given that social order, however, he could not conceive that his marriage could serve that function. And one has to confront the fact that the child never died who, deprived of the security of having a father in a male-oriented society, had had looked for material but also moral certainities -- not certitudes, but certainities, something that he can stake his life on. So, when reading his poetry it must be remembered that it is the poetry of more than usually vulnerable existence. It is difficult to say precisely what Ghalib's attitude was toward the British conquest of India. The evidence is not only contradictory but also incomplete. First of all, one has to realize that nationalism as we know it today was simply non-existent in nineteenth-century India. Second --one has to remember -- no matter how offensive it is to some -- that even prior to the British, India had a long history of invaders who created empires which were eventu- ally considered legitimate. The Moghuls themselves were such invaders. Given these two facts, it would be unreasonable to expect Ghalib to have a clear ideological response to the British invasion. There is also evidence, quite clearly deducible from his letters, that Ghalib was aware, on the one hand, of the redundancy, the intrigues, the sheer poverty of sophistication and intellectual potential, and the lack of humane responses from the Moghul court, and, on the other, of the powers of rationalism and scientific progress of the West. Ghalib had many attitudes toward the British, most of them complicated and quite contradictory. His diary of 1857, the "Dast-Ambooh" is a pro-British document, criticizing the British here and there for excessively harsh rule but expressing, on the whole, horror at the tactics of the resistance forces. His letters, however, are some of the most graphic and vivid accounts of British violence that we possess. We also know that "Dast-Ambooh" was always meant to be a document that Ghalib would make public, not only to the Indian Press but specifically to the British authorities. And he even wanted to send a copy of it to Queen Victoria. His letters, are to the contr- ary, written to people he trusted very much, people who were his friends and would not divulge their contents to the British authori- ties. As Imtiyaz Ali Arshi has shown (at least to my satisfaction), whenever Ghalib feared the intimate, anti-British contents of his letters might not remain private, he requested their destruction, as he did in th case of the Nawab of Rampur. I think it is reasonable to conjecture that the diary, the "Dast-Ambooh", is a document put together by a frightened man who was looking for avenues of safety and forging versions of his own experience in order to please his oppr- essors, whereas the letters, those private documents of one-to-one intimacy, are more real in the expression of what Ghalib was in fact feeling at the time. And what he was feeling, according to the letters, was horror at the wholesale violence practised by the British. Yet, matters are not so simple as that either. We cannot explain things away in terms of altogether honest letters and an altogether dishonest diary. Human and intellectual responses are more complex. The fact that Ghalib, like many other Indians at the time, admired British, and therfore Western, rationalism as expressed in constitutional law, city planning and more. His trip to Calcutta (1828-29) had done much to convince him of the immediate values of Western pragmatism. This immensely curious and human man from the narrow streets of a decaying Delhi, had suddenly been flung into the broad, well-planned avenues of 1828 Calcutta -- from the aging Moghul capital to the new, prosperous and clean capital of the rising British power, and , given the preco- ciousness of his mind, he had not only walked on clean streets, but had also asked the fundamental questions about the sort of mind that planned that sort of city. In short, he was impressed by much that was British. In Calcutta he saw cleanliness, good city planning, prosperity. He was fascinated by the quality of the Western mind which was rational and could conceive of constitutional government, republicanism, skepticism. The Western mind was attractive particularly to one who, although fully imbued with his feudal and Muslim background, was also attracted by wider intelligence like the one that Western scientific thought offered: good rationalism promised to be good government. The sense that this very rationalism, the very mind that had planned the first modern city in India, was also in the service of a brutral and brutalizing mercantile ethic which was to produce not a humane society but an empire, began to come to Ghalib only when the onslaught of 1857 caught up with the Delhi of his own friends. Whatever admiration he had ever felt for the British was seriously brought into question by the events of that year, more particularly by the merciless-ness of the British in their dealings with those who participated in or sympathized with the Revolt. This is no place to go into the details of the massacre; I will refer here only to the recent researches of Dr. Ashraf (Ashraf, K.M., "Ghalib & The Revolt of 1857", in Rebellion 1857, ed., P.C. Joshi, 1957), in India, which prove that at least 27,000 persons were hanged during the summer of that one year, and Ghalib witnessed it all. It was obviously impossible for him to reconcile this conduct with whatever humanity and progressive ideals he had ever expected the Briish to have possessed. His letters tell of his terrible dissatisfaction. Ghalib's ambivalence toward the British possibly represents a characteristic dilemma of the Indian --- indeed, the Asian -- people. Whereas they are fascinated by the liberalism of the Western mind and virtually seduced by the possibility that Western science and technology might be the answer to poverty and other problems of their material existence, they feel a very deep repugnance for forms and intensities of violence which are also peculiarly Western. Ghalib was probably not as fully aware of his dilemma as the intellectuals of today might be; to assign such awareness to a mid-nineteenth-century mind would be to violate it by denying the very terms -- which means limitations --, as well -- of its existence. His bewilderment at the extent of the destruction caused by the very people of whose humanity he had been convinced can , however, be understood in terms of this basic ambivalence. The years between 1857 and 1869 were neither happy nor very eventful ones for Ghalib. During the revolt itself, Ghalib remained pretty much confined to his house, undoubtedly frightened by the wholesale masacres in the city.

Many of his friends were hanged, deprived of their fortunes, exiled from the city, or detained in jails. By October 1858, he had completed his diary of the Revolt, the "Dast-Ambooh", published it, and presented copies of it to the British authorities, mainly with the purpose of proving that he had not supported the insurrections. Although his life and immediate possesions were spared, little value was attached to his writings; he was flatly told that he was still suspected of having had loyalties toward the Moghul king. During the ensuing years, his main source of income continued to be the stipend he got from the Nawab of Rampur. "Ud-i-Hindi", the first collection of his letters, was published in October 1868. Ghalib died a few months later, on February 15th, 1869.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Urdu : Coming to Mobile Phones Near You

Psiloc will launch Arabic, Urdu and Farsi localizations for Nokia communicators 9500, 9300 during Nokia Mobility Conference, 3-4 November in Monaco.

Tuesday, 26th of October 2004

Psiloc Mobile Solutions will officially launch localizations during the Nokia Mobility Conference, 3-4 November in Monaco.

Psiloc will showcase Arabic, Farsi (Persian), Urdu and Hebrew localizations packages on Series 80 devices Nokia 9500, Nokia 9300 and the proto versions of the Arabic, Farsi, Urdu and Hebrew localizations for Series 60 devices.

The localization package includes proper fonts, keyboard drivers and localization library. End user will be able to enter any information in his / her native language in any application on the device.

From the end user point of view it is very important to use the device with the NATIVE language inside and with the possibility to read and write sms, e-mail messages, online services, PIM, etc. using the native language.

Psiloc representatives will showcase the localization solutions in the developers area at the Grimaldi Forum Conference Center in Monaco.