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Urdu literature"Urdu Adab" has a long and colorful history that is inextricably tied to the development of that very language, in which it is written. While it tends to be heavily dominated by, the range of expression achieved in the voluminous library of a few major verse forms, especially the and has led to its continued development and expansion into other styles of writing, including that of the short story, or afsana. Being the national language, Urdu literature is mostly popular in Additionally, it enjoys substantial popularity in and is widely understood in Afghanistan. Urdu is finding interest in foreign countries primarily through
The beginnings Dastaan/ (??????)
short Story / Afsanah
Urdu Literary Criticism
Progressive Writers Movement/ ( ???? ???? ?????)
Urdu literature may be said to find its provenance some time around the 14th century in North India amongst the sophisticated gentry of Persian courts. The presence of the Muslim gentry in a largely Hindu India, while clearly acknowledged, did not so nearly dominate the consciousness of the Urdu poet as much as did the continuing traditions of Islam and Persia. The very color of the Urdu language, with a vocabulary almost evenly split between Sanskrit-derived Prakrit and Arabo-Persian words, was a reflection of the newness of cultural amalgamation and yet the insistence on retaining what was best and most beautiful about the lands of Afghanistan and Persia.
A man who exercised great influence on the initial growth of not only Urdu literature, but the language itself (which only truly took shape as distinguished from both Persian and proto-Hindi around the 14th century) was the famous Amir Khusro. Credited, indeed, with the very systematization of northern Indian classical music, known as Hindustani, he wrote works in both Persian and Hindavi, frequently engaging in ingenious mixes of the two. While the couplets that come down from him in are representative of a latter-Prakrit Hindi bereft of Arabo-Persian vocabulary, his influence on court viziers and writers must have been mighty, for but a century after his passing Quli Qutub Shah was seen to take to a language that may be safely said to be Urdu.
Urdu literature was generally composed more of poetry than of prose. The prose component of Urdu literature was mainly restricted to the ancient form of long-epic stories called Dastaan (??????) often originally written in Persian. These long-epic stories would deal with magical and otherwise fantastic creatures and events in a very complicated plot.
Dastan, as a genre, originated in Iran and was disseminated by folk storytellers. It was assimilated by individual authors. Dastan's plots are based both on folklore and classical literary subjects. Dastan was particularly popular in *Urdu literature, typologically close to other narrative genres in Eastern literatures, such as Persian masnawi, Punjabi qissa, Sindhi waqayati bait, etc., and also reminiscent of the European novel. The oldest known Urdu dastans are Dastan-i-Amir Hamra, recorded in the early seventeenth century, and the extinct Bustan-iKhayal ('The Garden of Imagination' or 'The Garden of Khayal') by Mir Taqi Khayal (d. 1760). Most of the narrative dastans were recorded in the early nineteenth century, representing contaminations of 'wandering', motifs borrowed from the folklore of the Middle East, central Asia and northern India. These include Bagh-oBahar ('The Garden and Spring') by Mir Amman, Mazhab-i-Lshq (The Religion of Love) by Nihalchand Lahori, Araish-i-Mahfil ('The Adornment of the Assembly') by Hyderbakhsh Hyderi, Gulzar-i-Chin ('The Flower Bed of Chin') by Khalil Ali Khan Ashq, and the smaller dastans.
Examples of famous dastans in Urdu include:
Nau tarz-i murassa‘ - Husain ‘Ata Khan Tahsin
Nau a'in-i hindi (Qissa-i Malik Mahmud Giti-Afroz) - Mihr Chand Khatri
Jazb-i ‘ishq - Shah Husain Haqiqat
Nau tarz-i murassa‘ - Muhammad Hadi a.k.a. Mirza Mughal Ghafil
Ara'ish-i mahfil (Qissa-i Hatim Ta'i) - Haidar Bakhsh Haidari
Bagh o bahar(Qissa-i chahar darwesh) - Mir Amman
Dastan-i Amir Hamza - Khalil ‘Ali Khan Ashk
Talism Hoshruba - Muhammad Husain Jah
Tazkiras, are compilation of literary memoirts that include verses and maxims of the great poets along with biographical information and commentary on their styles. This is often a mere collection of names with a line or two of information about each poet, followed by specimen of his composition. On the other hand it may be the history of Urdu poetry with copious illustrative extracts. There are really no good tazkiras. The best give biographical details, but fail in literary criticism, and we get little idea of style or poetical power, still less of contents of poems. Even the large anthologies do not systematically review an author's work. Most of them have the names in alphabetical order, but one or two prefer historical order. The majority quote only lyrics, and the quotations, usually chosen at random, do not illustrate poetry
Main article: Urdu poetry
Urdu poetry reached is peak in the 19th century. The most well-developed vessel of poetry has turned out to be the ghazal, which has by far exceeded all other forms of Urdu poetry by its quality and quantity within the cosmos of Urdu.
Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah - wrote poetry primarily in Persian, but also in Hindavi
Wali Mohammed Wali Deccani
Mirza Mazhar Jan-e-Janaan
Mir Taqi Mir
Khwaja Mir Dard
Mirza Salaamat Ali Dabeer
Mir Babar Ali Anis
Bahadur Shah II
Mohammad Ibrahim Zauq
Altaf Hussain Maulana Hali
Mehr Lal Soni Zia Fatehabadi
Noon Meem Rashid
Faiz Ahmad Faiz
Jan Nisar Akhtar
Jagan Nath Azad
Asrarul Haq Majaz
Syed Mahmood Khundmiri
Mirat-al-Urus (The Bride's Mirror)-1868–1869-is regarded as the first novel of Urdu by Deputy Nazeer Ahmed. After its release in 1869, within twenty years it was reprinted in editions totalling over 100,000 copies; and was also translated into Bengali, Braj, Kashmiri, Punjabi, and Gujarati.It has never been out of print in Urdu from that day of its first publication. In 1903 an English translation was published in London by G. E. Ward.
Bina-tul-Nash- (The Daughters of the Bier, a name for the constellation Ursa Major),is another great Novel by Deputy Nazeer Ahmed. It was his 2nd novel after Mirat-tul-uroos. Like Mira-tul-Uroos, this novel is also on education of women and their character building.
Taubat-un-Nasuh (Repentance of Nasuh)1873-1874- Deputy Nazeer Ahmed earned a good name in writing novels for developing moral values and guidance of young generation. His entire work is full of teachings of moral values.
Fasaana-e-Mubtalaa(1885)- another novel for developing moral values and guidance of young generation
Umrao Jaan Ada
Khuda Ki Basti (novel)
Dil, Diya, Dehleez
19th Century Urdu Novelists:
Deputy Nazir Ahmad
Pandit Ratan Nath Sarshar
Maulana Abdul Halim Sharar
Mirza Hadi Ruswa
Qazi Abdul Gaffar
20th Century Urdu Novelists:
Fatima Surayya Bajia
Mustansar Hussein Tarar
Muhammad Asim Butt
In respect of themes the Urdu novel initially undertook social life, followed by widening its scope with rural social life. It also covered the changing times under progressive writing movement under inspiration by Sajjad Zaheer.However the horror of partition had great impact and the novel remained under serious grip of questions of identity and migration as can be seen in the major works of Abdullah Hussain & Quratul Ain Haider. towards the end of the last century the novel took a serious turn towards the contemporary life and realities and the aspiring young generations of India.The most significant novels of the current generation of Indian novelists in Urdu demonstrating a new confidence in contemporary life are MAKAAN by Paigham Afaqui, Do Gaz Zameen by Abdus Samad, PANI by Ghazanfer. These Urdu novels, specially Makaan brought the Urdu novel out of the prevailing themes of partition and identity issues and took it into the realm of modern day realities and issues of life in India. In fact the impact of Makaan was so much roaring that many writers in English like Vikram Seth turned to novel writing. These Urdu novels impacted the writing of Urdu novels in such a way that a large number of novels have been written ever since some of which like Andhere Pag by Sarwat Khan, Numberdar Ka Neela by S M Ashraf and Fire Area by Ilyas Ahmed Gaddi have come to significantly contribute to urdu fiction. MAKAAN translated in English is a widely known novel for pre-eminence of a female character in novel and considered to be the best feminist novel in Urdu and probably the first one.
Short Story / Afsanah
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Urdu literature has included the short story form for slightly more than one hundred years. During this period it has passed through some major phases like early romantic period, progressive writings, modernist writings and current phase. Although a number of writers, both men and women, contributed to the Urdu short story literature in the first phase (including both romantic stories and social criticisms), the short story crystallized as a regular part of Urdu literature in the growth of writings of Munshi Premchand. His notable short stories are, among many others, "Kafan" and "Poos Ki Raat". The Urdu short story gained momentum with the phenomenal publication of Angare, a collection of many writers towards the end of the life of Premchand. Writers like Ghulam Abbas, Manto, Rajinder Singh Bedi, Krishan Chander, and Ismat Chughtai, to name but a few, turned the short story into a major genre of Urdu literature.
The next generation was Urdu short story writers included Qurratulain Hyder, Qazi Abdul Sattar, and Joginder Paul. The short story tradition continues with younger generation writers like Zahida Hina and Paigham Afaqui, Syed Mohd Ashraf, and Salam Bin Razzaq.
Urdu short stories have dealt with a wide range of the dimensions of life though the most famous stories belong are about the trauma of the partition of the sub-continent and violence generated out of it. Towards the end of the last century, short stories became grounded in the complexity of daily life which can be seen in the unique collection of short stories in Paigham Afaqui's Mafia. Entirely different in approach is the collection of short stories Taus Chaman Ka Maina by Nayyer Masood.
Notable Urdu Short Fiction (Afsana) writers of 19th and 20th century include:
Saadat hasan manto
Ali Abbas Hussaini
Rajinder Singh Bedi
Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi
Qudrat Ullah Shahab
Khwaja Ahmad Abbas
Syed Qasim Mahmood
Asad Muhammad Khan
Salam Bin Razzaq
Musharaf Alam Zauqi
Muhammad Asim Butt
Urdu Drama evolved from the prevailing dramatic traditions of North India shaping Rahas or Raas as practiced by exponents like Nawab Wajid Ali Shah of Awadh. His dramatic experiments led to the famous Inder Sabha of Amanat and later this tradition took the shape of Parsi Theatre. Agha Hashr Kashmiri is culmination of this tradition.
In some way or other, Urdu theatre tradition has greatly influenced modern Indian theatre. Among all the languages Urdu(which was called Hindi by early writers), along with Gujrati ,Marathi and Bengali theatres have kept flourishing and demand for its writers and artists has not subsided by the drama aficionados. For Urdu drama, no place is better than Bombay Film industry otherwise known as Hindi film industry. All the early gems of Urdu Theatre (performed by Parsi Companies) were made into films. Urdu Dramatic tradition has been a spectator’s delight since 100 years and counting.
Drama as a theme is made up of several elements. It focuses on life and different aspects of it. The thing to be noticed here is that drama on stage imitates drama in life. It has been said that, there has always been a mutual relationship between theatre and real life. Great historical personalities like Shakespeare have influenced Modern Urdu tradition to a large extent when Indian, Iranian, Turkish stories and folk was adapted for stage with heavy doses of Urdu Poetry. In modern times writers like Imtiaz Ali Taj, Rafi Peer, Krishan Chander, Manto, Upender Nath Ashk, Ghulam Rabbani, Prof. Mujeeb and many others shaped this tradition.
While Prof Hasan, Ghulam jeelani, J.N,Kaushal, Shameem Hanfi, Jameel Shaidayi etc. belong to the old generation, contemporary writers like Sayeed Alam, Shahid Anwar and Danish Iqbal are few post modern Play wrights actively contributing in the field of Urdu Drama.
Danish Iqbal’s ‘Dara Shikoh’ is a modern classic which was staged by famous director M S Sathyu. In the words of noted critic Ramesh Chand Charlie ‘Dara Shikoh’ is a turning point of Urdu theatrical sensibilities. Use of Wali Deccani's period poetry provides this Play with a very rare artistic and historical context. Dazzling use of Kathak choreography and authentic costumes ancluding head gear, swords and period art work was a treat for the eyes.
Another notable Drama of Danish Iqbal is ‘Dilli jo ek Shehr Thaa’ depicts the life and times of a Delhi lost during the invasion of Nadir Shah. He was awarded ‘Mohan Rakesh Samman’ for this Play by the Chief Minister of Delhi Sheila Dixit.
Danish also wrote ‘Sahir’ on the life and times of Sahir Ludhyanvi which was staged in Delhi for a packed audience and became a landmark production for the use of old film songs as part of Dramatic Narrative. He also wrote ‘KUCHH ISHQ KIYA KUCHH KAAM’ on the life and work of legendary poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz and ‘SARAH KA SARA AASMAN’ on the poetess Sarah Shagufta, besides the biographical Drama 'Ghalib' which used Ghalib's poetry for the basic narrative and was staged at Dubai for the expatriate Indian Community. Danish has also given the block buster 'Woh Akhiri Hichki' and 'Ek Thi Amrita'(on the life and times of Amrita Preetam) and some other early works. It is a pity that his collected work is not available till now although few versions of 'Dara Shikoh' and 'Ghalib'are available but DARA SHIKOH being a costly hitorical costume Drama it is not easy to stage such a demanding production.
Sayeed Alam is known for his wit and humour and more particularly for Plays like 'Ghalib in New Delhi' 'Big B'and many other gems which are regularly staged for massive turn out of theatre lovers. Maulana Azad is his magnum opus both for its content and style.
Shahid's 'Three B' is also a significant Play. He has been associated with amny groups like 'Natwa'and others. Zaheer Anwar has kept the flag of Urdu Theatre flying in Kolkata. Unlike the writers of previous generartion Sayeed, Shahid, Danish and Zaheer do not write bookish Plays but their work is a product of vigorous performing tradition. Hence this is the only generartion after Amanat and Agha Hashr who actually write for stage and not for libraries.
Urdu Literary Criticism
Muhammad Husain Azad
Altaf Hussain Maulana Hali
Abdur Rahman Bijnori
Allama Niyaz Fatehpuri
Rasheed Ahmad Siddiqi
Syed Abid Ali Abid
Syed Waqar Azeem
Ali Sardar Jafri
Gopi Chand Narang
Shamsur Rahman Faruqi
Gopi Chand Narang
Progressive Writers Movement/ ( ???? ???? ?????)
According to The Dawn, "Progressive Writers Movement" in Urdu literature was the strongest movement after Sir Syed's education movement. The progressives contributed to Urdu literature some of the finest pieces of fiction and poetry. Undoubtedly, they were the trend-setters for the coming generation of writers, and their role cannot be denigrated or denied."  Aamir Sohail(Abbottabad Public School,Abbottabad,Pakistan)
The modernist movement started in Urdu literature near 1960. The two most eminent names in this movement emerged are Shamsur Rehman Farooqui and Gopichand Narang. Eminent poets like Noon Meem Rashid and Meeraji are related to it. Apart from them a number of other poets like Zafer Iqbal, Nasir Kazmi, Bashir Bader and Shahryar are related to this movement. This movement laid more stress on symbolic and other indirect expressions as opposed to direct and clear expressions
The post modernism was introduced in a big way by Gopi Chand Narang. There are many other critics in Urdu literature who are also attached to this approach of criticism. The post modernism does not claim to be a movement and does not demand any writer to adopt a particular style of writing. It generally concentrates on a method of understanding the contemporary literature in the light of its content - mostly to the features like feminism, dalit, regional and other types of literature as opposed to a seeking uniformity in the global literature on the basis of internationally established trends.
By the end of the 1980s the atmosphere in Urdu literature became very depressing.The progressive movement was almost dead and the modernist movement had started showing it's complete infertility. But this was also time for upsurge of new creative forces which was basically rooted in the new life that was metamorphosing the socio-economic and political climate in the sub-continent after the days of partition and freedom. It was under this climate that the a new era of fiction started withthe publication of Paigham Afaqui's novel Makaan. Almost allergic and fed up with the attempts of various literary movements to influence the styles and thoughts of the writers and the literary politics emerging out of the commitments to the movements which created a vicious circle of promoting chosen writers and misuse of resources and awards for promoting their own brands by these movements,Paigham Afaqui and other writers refused to be identified by any movement and displayed complete independence in using personally developed styles and technique for writing novel and explored their own philosophy and vision of life that suited their need.It was a serious departure from the theme of partition which dominated writers like Qurtul Ain haider and Abdullah Hussain and the theme of existentialism which was the benchmark of modernism. Writers like Ghazanfer and Musharraf Alam Zauqi have further widened the horizons of new themes and concerned.
The Persian newspapers of West Bengal were fore-runners of the Urdu press. Two prominent periodicals were Jam-i-Jahan-Numa, founded by Lal Sadasukh Lal in 1822 and Mirat-ul-Akhbar (Mirror of News) by Raja Rammohan Roy. After the decline of Persian as an official language, Urdu gained prominence. There was extensive growth in Urdu jurnalism from the 1850s till Independence in 1947.
On 14 January 1850, Munshi Harsukh Rai started the weekly Kohinoor, which had a remarkably high (for those times) circulation of 350 copies. In 1858, Manbir Kabiruddin started the Urdu Guide, the first Urdu daily, from Calcutta. Another important paper founded that year was Roznamha-e-Punjab from Lahore. Oudh Akhbar by Munshi Nawal Kishore was the first Urdu newspaper from Lucknow, also begun in 1858.
The first Urdu newspapers of Delhi were Fawaid-ul-Nazarin and Kiran-us-Sadai, founded by Rama Chandra in 1852. The Urdu press in Delhi became highly critical of the British government. The best example of them is the Urdu Akhbar, edited by Syed Hasan, which highlighted many civic issues like drainage, sanitation, adulteration of food, and corruption.
In 1877, Maulvi Nasir Ali, one of the founders of Anjuman Islamia- the Islamic intellectual and political movement- founded 3 newspapers- Nusrat-ul-Akhbar, Nusrat-ul-Islam and Mihir-e-Darakhshan. All three focused on current civil and political affairs and were valuable aids of Muslim empowerment. In 1877, Oudh Punch, the first humour magazine in Urdu was started by Sajjid Hussain. The first women’s journal in Urdu was Akhbar-un-Nisa.
Urdu journalism took on a strongly nationalistic note towards the turn of the 20th century. Zameendar, was started in Lahore in 1903. It was the first Urdu newspaper to subscribe to news agencies. Zameendar was intensely nationalistic, which boosted its circulation to over 30,000 copies. In 1902, Maulvi Sanaullah Khan started the weekly Watan, meaning motherland. Watan was intensely nationalistic and continued for 33 years. Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar started Naqeeb-e-Hamdard in 1912. Another powerful political periodical was the Madina, edited by Hamidul Ansari.
The greatest Urdu periodical that time was Al Hilal, started by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. (refer notes).
In 1919, the Pratap was started in Lahore by Mahshe Krishnan. It vigorously supported Gandhi’s policies and the Indian National Congress. It was a victim of government harassment and suspended publication several times. It had great influence among the Urdu reading Hindus of Punjab and Delhi.
In 1923, Swami Shraddhanand founded the Tej with Lala Deshbandhu Gupta as editor. It had a wide circulation in Rajasthan, U.P. and Delhi. It was confiscated several times by the government and banned in a number of princely states. In the same year, 1923, the Arya Samaj started the Milap, a daily in Lahore. It was known for its powerful nationalistic editorials. Jawaharlal Nehru founded Qaumi Awaaz in 1945.
Urdu journalism suffered heavily, during and after Partition. Riots in Lahore lead to mobs raiding the office of Milap and burning machines and newsprint. Its Managing Editor, Ranbir was stabbed and the paper was closed for six weeks. It then shifted to Delhi. Due to the unrest, the Pratap also shifted to Delhi.
Some of the Urdu newspapers after partition in India are Dawat, now a bi-weekly, started by the Jamat-e-Islami Hind. Maulana Abdul Waheed Siddiqui started Nai Duniya, a popular Urdu weekly, now run by his son Shaheed Siddiqui. The Sahara Group started a weekly-Aalmi Sahara.There are more number of urdu newspapers published in hyderabad, IndiaThe Siasat Daily, The Munsif Daily, Indian Etemaad and Rehnuama E Deccan.Bombay now Mumbai also have some good publication of urdu daily The inquilab daily and Urdu Times and from West Bengal Urdu newspapers like The Azad Hind daily, The Akhbaar -e- Mashriq daily, The Aabshaar daily and The rashtriya Sahara daily are also being brougt out from CALCUTTA at present Kolkata
In Pakistan the Daily Jang is one of the most widely circulated newspapers in the country. Other popular news papers are Daily Imroze, Daily Mashriq, Khabrain, Millat and Nawa-i-Waqt.
List of Urdu language poets
List of Urdu writers
Progressive Writers' Movement
Muhammad Husain Azad: Ab-e hayat (Lahore: Naval Kishor Gais Printing Wrks) 1907 [in Urdu]; (Delhi: Oxford University Press) 2001 [In English translation]
Shamsur Rahman Faruqi: Early Urdu Literary Culture and History (Delhi: Oxford University Press) 2001
M.A.R. Habib: An Anthology of Modern Urdu Poetry in English translation with Urdu text. Modern Language Association (2003). ISBN 0873527976
Alamgir Hashmi, The Worlds of Muslim Imagination (1986) ISBN 0-00-500407-1.
Muhammad Sadiq, A History of Urdu Literature (1984).
The Annual of Urdu Studies, 1981-.
“Urdu Afsana : Soorat o Ma'na” (Urdu) by M. Hameed Shahid National Book
Foundation Islamabad Pakistan 2006-1.an eminent poet of moder age akhlaque bandvi.
Biswin Sadi popular literary urdu magazine was started in Lahore in 1937 by Khushtar Girami.He edited the magazine till 1977.It was the most popular urdu magazine in undevided India.After independence it was one of the most popular magazine of India.
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