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Posts from the ‘Issue 1/ Beyond Mumbai, 2012’ Category

Contents: Urdu in contemporary India: Predicaments and Promises (Issue 33)

Contents: Urdu in contemporary India: Predicaments and Promises (Issue 33)

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Contributors

Contributors

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Guest-Editorial: Urdu in contemporary India: Predicaments and Promises

By Fahad Hashmi
The fact that the first great novel in Urdu was penned by Pandit Ratan Nath Sarshar, and Pandit Nawal Kishore’s publishing house produced the largest archive of Urdu books is enough to prove that Urdu didn’t ever exclusively belong to Muslims.

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Scripting a Future for Urdu

By Tabish Khair
To transcribe Urdu into Devnagari will give a new lease of life to its literature. The major Urdu writer, Abdus Samad, once told me, when asked about the readership of contemporary Urdu fiction in India, that perhaps the only serious readers left are those who write fiction in Urdu themselves. I am sure this sad situation would change if Urdu literature was made available in Devnagari.

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Looking at the Wrong Side of the Carpet: When Loss is Gain

By Rakhshanda Jalil
Looking back, it seems as though I had tasted blood after translating that one Premchand short story. Within a year, in October 1992 to be precise, I had published a collection of 10 short stories by Premchand with Harper Collins. Called The Temple and the Mosque, it was a slim book with a short, a very short introductory note, called rather self-effacingly, ‘Translator’s Note’.

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The Politics of Imagining (in) Urdu in Contemporary India

By Soheb Niazi
These literary traditions that are informed by a broader Urdu cultural ethos can prove immensely vital in (re)imagining new visions that are democratic, universal, and transformative. The role of takhayyul (imagination) is central to many works which emphasize the creative and transformatory potential of the Urdu literary tradition.

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Urdu Historiography: Trends, Challenges and Prospects

By Ikramul Haque
The last three decades of the nineteenth century were crucial as far as the development of Urdu historiography is concerned. This period was marked by the emergence of a number of socio-religious reform movements as well as the nationalist struggle to free India from the colonial power. The predominant concern of Muslims during this period was to establish Islam as a scientific religion compatible with progress, western notions of liberty and modernity as well as to uplift socio-economic conditions of Muslims. Besides, the assault of Orientalist scholarship on Islam and its intellectual and cultural heritage had increased tremendously during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. These anxieties shaped the nature of Muslim Urdu writers’ engagement with the historical past.

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What does the slogan say? Violence, Language, and Kashmir

By Arif Hayat Nairang
Urdu finds a peculiar location in the socio-political life-world of Kashmiris. It is not the language of mourning but that of engagement with power in its different forms. Thus, we can say that Kashmir has engaged with power on its own terms, on its own ‘surface’ and in its own language. It can’t be localized or restricted to an experimental zone of power. It escapes the condition imposed upon it. It opens the floodgates to excess and a possibility through a haunted mode of subjectivity that finds one more expression as women march out in Delhi to take back the night.

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My First Brush with Urdu Journalism

By Afaque Haider
I also came across the practice of lifafa journalism. This particular term is used for bribing news reporters for getting the coverage of one’s choice. Azizul Hind could not pay enough to its reporters and stringers for their hard work. The paper could not stop this practice given its financial constraints. Though it is a wrong practice in journalism, it cannot be curbed for sure.

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Growing up with Urdu

By Sadia Hashmi
During leisure, we used to play baitbazi in school. Whenever we were asked, “Kitne roze rakhe?” (How many days did you fast?) during the month of Ramazan, we would respond in Ghalib’s words: “Ek na rakha” (which carried the dual meaning that either we did not keep one or we kept all but one). We used to watch a serial on Doordarshan about Ghalib’s life.

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Sir Syed, Urdu, and Tehzeeb-ul-Akhlaq

By Irfanullah Farooqi
There is a full-fledged tradition within Islam called the Akhlaq tradition wherein the focus is on attainment of a virtuous soul that is at complete rest. Tehzeebul Akhlaq, therefore, is an extraordinary construct that can be best translated as The Correction of Dispositions. While one could use refinement instead of correction, the way in which stages of development/progress are understood in refinement does not convey the essence. When we use correction, it implies a very clear assertion on the sheer need of perpetual movement.

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Musings on the current state of Urdu

By Khaled Jawed
There is a difference between writing and reciting. When one writes a creative piece of literature, unconsciously one thinks through the categories of structure and space of that script. This brings a natural and spontaneous flow in writing. Therefore, I am not in favor of the opinion that script of Urdu be replaced by Devnagri. Both these scripts have different characteristics, having their own specific modes and cardinal factors. Urdu will be a dead language without the script.

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C.M. Naim in Conversation

By Fahad Hashmi
Shabkhoon lasted more than four decades, if I’m not mistaken. Its closure was sad, because it was a monthly magazine, a rarity in Urdu literary area for decades. Equally sad was the closure of Kitab (Lucknow), another monthly, much earlier. Then Sha’ir (Bombay) lost its editor and disappeared, sort of. The three were very important, since literary monthlies had more or less stopped in Pakistan.

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Urdu and the political movements

By Anas Aman
Since the coming of Modi government at the centre, we have been witnessing a slew of students’ movements popping up across India. One of the trappings that is new to me in all these uprisings is the emergence of placards, banners, posters, etc. bearing couplets, slogans, and messages written in Urdu script. To be frank, I have not seen such spectacles before. There used to be this stuff earlier; however, they were written in other scripts.

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