Urdu_poetrycoverURDU POETRY: AN INTRODUCTION
By Anees Ayesha
(Translated and Introduced by Zafar Anjum)
Kitaab International Ptv. Ltd., 10 Anson Road # 26-04
International Plaza, Singapore – 079903
Year 2013, 247pp, Singaporean Dollar25
Paperback (ISBN 978-981-07-8055-5)

Review by Asif Anwar Alig

While Urdu became victim of prejudices in its birthplace – India, it brimmed in the far off regions. An original Urdu work of Anees Ayesha, Urdu Poetry: An Introduction is an English translation by Singapore based author Zafar Anjum. Presenting the knowhow of Urdu poetry to Singaporean readers, it is a valuable addition to literature on Urdu poetry for those willing to learn Urdu poetry’s distinct features or stages of development.

Prejudices have relentlessly shrunk Urdu in its country of birth. But it has advanced worldwide in many forms, especially by translations to give strong message. Anjum’s translation is an archetypal effort for English readers to learn the richness of Urdu poetry. This book briefs Urdu’s role from its inception to shaping Indian societies and cultures since the 17th century to the colonial British period and its challenges while encouraging nationalistic revolutions and spreading the message of Islam.

This book introduces multiple forms of Urdu poetry through highlighting its pivotal role to nourish cultures – socio-religious and revolutionary movements to Sufism. Contributions of prominent poets in the subcontinent are credible introductions which turn this book into a summarised encyclopaedia.

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Kitaab launched its first ever print title, Urdu Poetry–An Introduction at the Singapore Writers Festival on 8 November. 

Urdubooklaunch

Originally penned by Hyderabad-based Anees Ayesha, the book was translated into English by Kitaab’s editor, Zafar Anjum. Ayesha, 75, who could not attend the event, has taught Urdu language and literature in Hyderabad for over 50 years and is an avid promoter of the learning of Urdu among the new generations. She works closely with the Mehfil-e-Khawateen (A women writer’s collective) and Dabistan-e-Jaleeli (Set up to celebrate the works of Ali Ahmed Jaleeli), two organisations that are deeply involved in promoting the Urdu language and appreciation of its contribution to literature and culture in the sub continent.