The Naval Kishore Press established in Lucknow by Pandit Naval Kishore in 1858 was once the largest publishing initiative in South Asia and second only to the Alpine Press of France. Before it was closed in 1950, it had published Urdu translations of over 500 Hindi, Arabic and Persian texts, and 124 Sanskrit texts, including the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Bhagavad Gita and Manusmriti. In keeping with the legacy of Naval Kishore Press, popular Urdu poet Anwar Jalalpuri has translated The Bhagavad Gita into Urdu shayari. Former chairman of Uttar Pradesh Madarsa Board and former member of the Urdu Akademi (UP), Jalalpuri had earlier translated Rabindranath Tagore’s Geetanjali and Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat into Urdu poetry. Jalalpuri tells Aishwarya Gupta that through his latest book, Urdu Shayari mein Gita, he aims at an interaction of Hindu and Islamic worldviews.
Edited excerpts from an interview: