Category Archives: Urdu Poetry

Kitaab T.V: Urdu poetry # 2 -Yaadein – Written & Recited by Abdullah Khan

Abdullah Khan is an Indian writer, poet and lyricist based in Mumbai, India. He has authored a novel titled, Patna Blues (Juggernaut Books).

Support Independent Bookshop Owners: Urdu Ghar Bookshop

English and Hindi books on Urdu are available at Urdu Ghar bookshop

The Anjuman has been publishing books since early 1930s after shifting to New Delhi for reasons unknown. A well appointed library and a book shop were also established by them during the same. Today, their address since 1977, Urdu Ghar, 212, Rouse Avenue – has been a favourite among booklovers for decades now.

The prices of their books are known to be very pocket-friendly and affordable for they do not include any overheads. After having dealt with Urdu books for years now, they are venturing into publishing of English books on any theme related to Urdu language and literature. This service will be extended to Hindi books as well gradually. As always, it is not possible without the support of its readers and hence they are urging all their readers and book-lovers to extend their support to them, like always in their new venture.

Read more

Remembering Rahat Indori – A people’s poet by Mohd Raghib-ul- Haque

Raghib pays a heartfelt tribute to Rahat Indori (1950-2020)

Not many poets become famous enough to become a part of our day to day lives and  even fewer are frequently quoted to mark protests or dissent in times of social upheaval. His poetic age spans almost five decades where he participated in hundreds of mushairas and wrote several lyrics for Hindi cinema. Indori is very often quoted on social media platforms. Interestingly, he also trended for a while on Twitter too. His couplets are used as placards in several protests in India while he was also quoted many a time in Indian Parliaments and speeches in the public gatherings. All these led to his public popularity, making Urdu poetry  familiar to a wider range of audience who have less or no acquaintance to Urdu as a language. 

Read more

Urdu Poetry #1 – Bol by Faiz Ahmed Faiz (Various Artists)

Bol ke lab azaad hai tere” is a famous poem by legendary Urdu poet, Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Eleven artists from Singapore recited this poem to inspire others and pay homage to Faiz and his spirit of speaking up, and speaking truth to power. The artists shot their own clips at their homes using mobile devices, respecting the social distancing regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more

How much does a writer need to survive?

IMG_0681

Money, money, money!

How much is a writer paid?

In an article in The Guardian, we are told : “Based on a standard 35-hour week, the average full-time writer earns only £5.73 per hour, £2 less than the UK minimum wage for those over 25. As a result, the number of professional writers whose income comes solely from writing has plummeted to just 13%, down from 40% in 2005.”

So, writing does not pay. Then why do writers write?

In a blog  at The Writing Cooperative, money or fame is not listed as a reason for writers to write. And yet, in a real world, writers cannot survive without money. 

But contradictions exist. Read more

Languages Erode with the Passing of an Era

IMG_0506

There are twenty two ‘scheduled’ languages in India and dialects run into many more. The 2001 census put the count of all spoken languages and dialects at 780, second only to Papua and New Guinea which leads with 839 languages. 

With such a huge babel of words at it’s disposal, some languages languish from neglect. Some profess Urdu is one such victim. Recently, much is being written about how Urdu is dying in the bylanes of Old Delhi .

Urdu, a language of the court and poetry, graceful and elegant in its usage, came to be recognised fully around the eighteenth century in India. Before that, Persian was used in the Mughal courts. Urdu evolved as a language that was used by both Hindus and Muslims, perhaps a language of harmony. It used the elegant Nastaliq script.  Read more

The Bookstore That Brought Together Urdu’s Literary Greats

(From The Wire. Link to the interview given below)

For 88-year old Shahid Ali Khan, Urdu literature has been a lifelong passion. His journey with Maktaba Jamia, a publishing house and bookstore, took him from Delhi to Mumbai in 1957, where he befriended renowned Urdu writers and poets like Sahir Ludhianvi, Jan Nisar Akhtar, Meena Kumari and Jagan Nath Azad.

Now running his own small publishing house called ‘Nai Kitab’, which is tucked away in a quiet lane in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar, Khan takes us down memory lane and talks about his contributions to Urdu.

Watch the video at The Wire link here

Spice of life: Introducing Faiz to a classroom of millennials

(From Hindustan Times. The link to the complete article is given below.)

To bring an Urdu text into an English literature classroom, even though in translation, is a task that is at once delightful, difficult and always threatening to burst into the territory of the disastrous.

The curriculum of Masters in English literature is one arena that has undergone such tectonic shifts that for the most part it does not even remotely meet the bare outsider expectations about it. From being preeminently a vehicle of dispersing colonial cultural hegemony to today transforming into a representational space preoccupied with recovering lost and powerless voices, it has indeed come a long way. It is a space built on the constant questioning of the rationale of the canon and further, in its enthusiasm to question the importance of texts, it has come down brutally on its own house. It could be deemed a dynamic and progressive space and to me, it represents what can be called the pulsating heart of humanities.

One can see the inclusion of Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz in this light under the rubric of ‘Texts in Translation’. The paper allows students to have an intimate feel of literature in regional languages such as Bengali (Mahasweta Devi), Oriya (Fakir Mohan Senapati), Urdu (Faiz) and Hindi (Nirala) through translation. It is a space that an English literature student would otherwise never traverse. There is a definite attempt to break the classic elitist mould of an English literature graduate and to give the student a taste of important writings from within the country, ironing out language differences using the tool of translation.

To bring an Urdu text into an English literature classroom, even though in translation, is a task that is at once delightful, difficult and always threatening to burst into the territory of the disastrous.

Read more at the Hindustan Times page here

« Older Entries