Recently, Sahitya Akademi Award winner for Urdu, Rahman Abbas, journeyed to the Institut National Des Langues et Civilasations Oriesntales (INALCO) in Paris to deliver a lecture. Translated Urdu novels are gaining in popularity and getting translated into multiple European languages, like German and French, he surmised. Novels in Urdu evolved around the 1940s-1950s with writers like Intezar Hussain and Quartulain Haidar and books like Do gaz Zameen by Abdus Samad and Makaan by Paigam Afaqui. Makaan is said to have been a major influence even on novelist Vikram Seth.
Farhan Ahmad, Urdu lecturer, INALCO, Paris tells us about the talk given by Rahman Abbas in France.
On 5 November 2019, INALCO, invited Sahitya Akademi Awardee, Urdu Novelist Rahman Abbas, to deliver a lecture on the topic “The Contemporary Indian Urdu Novels” in France.
The co-director of the department of South Asia and Himalaya studies and research scholar, Shahzaman Haque, introduced Abbas to faculty members and the students and said that Rahman Abbas was one of the major contemporary Urdu novelists of India. He thanked his department and his laboratory PLIDAM (Pluralité des langues et des identités) for financing the travel and accommodation of the Urdu author.
He said that Rahman Abbas’s novel Rohzin had already been translated into German and would soon be available in English, French and Hindi too. There is a growing demand for translation of Rohzin and other novels of Rahman Abbas in France. Rahman is known for his unique style of narration and his dealing with human sensibilities.
Rahman Abbas started his speech by exploring the genre of novel writing and how it is different from other forms of narrative fiction. He spoke about the art that goes into the making of a novel and how every person has a different perception of this genre. The beauty of the novel is that it is an evolving genre and has no fixed definition, he suggested. The aesthetics of the novel is important, which one can only realize by reading great novelists like Victor Hugo or Flaubert.
Later, Rahman spoke in detail about some of the important contemporary Urdu novelists including Shaista Fhakari, Tarrum Riaz, Sadiqa Nawab Saher, Shamoil Ahmed, Yaqoob Yawar, Musharraf Alam Zauqui, Shamsur Rehman Farooqui, Paigham Aafaqui, Noorul Hasnain, Hussainul Haq, Khalid Javed, Fayyaz Riffat, Abdus Samad, Anis Ashfaq, Saghir Rahmani, Sajid Rashid and Salman Abdus Samad.
After his talk, students of INALCO asked Rahman Abbas about his journey as a novelist and his books. Shahzaman Haque concluded the event by thanking the author and the participants and added that such gatherings would definitely help French students understand the scenario of contemporary writing in Urdu.
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