Pakistani-Canadian writer and translator, Musharraf Ali Farooqi is the author of Between Clay And Dust (2012) which was shortlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize. His translation of Dastaan-e-Amir Hamza is highly acclaimed and he is also a noted children’s author.
How did the Partition impact you and your family?
The Partition called into question a whole set of values, and the societal consensus among our elders that we could live together and have a normal relationship with people of another faith; a consensus that Hindus and Muslims and people of other religions had for a long time. Once you unlearn the idea on which you formulated society, many other ideas also fall apart. We are paying the price for that in Pakistan today. Its impact will be felt for decades to come.
Tell us something about your Urdu Project.
The Urdu Project is an online project. It is an effort to build basic resources like dictionaries and a thesaurus for proverbs, dictions and idioms in the Urdu language and linking them with classical texts like Dastaan-e-Amir Hamzaor Tilism-e-Hoshruba or classical poetry. Parts of Urdu literature have become inaccessible because we cannot understand the language. If you link each word or phrase with a reference link, then it becomes easier to read the text.