Tag Archives: Urdu

अपुन का मंटो: पाकदिल, सियाहक़लम, अपूर्व, अप्रतिम, अखंड


मंटो ने रचनात्मक अभिव्यक्ति के लिए कला की कोई भी दिशा चुनी हो, हंगामा किसी न किसी तरह अवश्य हुआ।
– बलराज मेनरा व शरद दत्त


कोई सत्तावन साल पहले महज़ बयालीस की उम्र में तक़सीम-ए-हिन्द और शराबनोशी के मिले-जुले असर से अकालकालकवलित मंटो आज सौ का होने पर भी उतना ही हरदिलअज़ीज़ है, जितना हैरतअंगेज़, उतना ही लुत्फ़अंदोज़ है, जितना तीरेनीमेकश। शा यद आज भी उतना ही मानीख़ेज़। बल्कि यूँ मालूम होता है कि वक़्त के साथ उसके अनपढ़ आलोचकों की तादाद कम होती गई है और पिछले दो-तीन दशकों में मुख़्तलिफ़ विधाओं में पसरे उसके लघु-कथाओं व बड़े अफ़सानों, मज़ामीन, रेडियो नाटकों, मंज़रनामों, ख़तों, फ़िल्मी संस्मरणों और अनुवादों के बारीकतरीन पाठों का सिलसिला थमने की जगह ज़ोर पकड़ने लगा है। और पाठ-पुनर्पाठ की ये धारा सिर्फ़ उर्दू या हिन्दी में ही नहीं, बल्कि अंग्रेज़ी में भी मुसलसल बह निकली है। जिसके बूते दक्षिण एशिया का यह अप्रतिम कहानीकार अब समस्त दुनिया की एक नायाब धरोहर बन गया है। यह वाजिब भी है क्योंकि मंटो के अदब व फ़लसफ़े में पश्चिम व पूर्व का अद्भुत संगम हुआ। मोपासाँ, चेखव व गोर्की वग़ैरह से उसने अगर तुला हुआ, मुख़्तसर अंदाज़े-बयान सीखा तो एशियाई माहिरों से रस बरसाने वाली दास्तानगोई का चमत्कार, और तफ़्सीलात का इज़हार।

Continue reading अपुन का मंटो: पाकदिल, सियाहक़लम, अपूर्व, अप्रतिम, अखंड

The Poet, His Poems and His Tales

Faiz Ahmed Faiz: His Life, His Poems: The Way It Was Once by Ali Madeeh Hashmi/ Shoaib Hashmi; pp 256; Rs 499; Harper Collins Publishers India, 2012

After a decade without a day job, and associating with Dastangoi for over six years, I can safely say that I am a career storyteller. And one of the things I have learned is that resumes don’t make a person, stories do. Often these stories are not our own stories, but stories we’ve heard amongst loved ones, extended families, friends, work places, milieu; stories we’ve grown up with, stories distilled deep enough to become an integral part of our existence. We may not often identify with our resume but with our stories, always – acquaintanceship strikes, the moment our stories resonate. Continue reading The Poet, His Poems and His Tales

A Hundred Years of Manto

31, Laxmi Mansions, Hall Road, Lahore

“Here lies buried Saadat Hasan Manto in whose bosom are enshrined all the secrets and art of short story writing. Buried under mounds of earth, even now he is contemplating whether he is a greater short story writer or God.”

May 2012 will mark the hundredth birth anniversary of the man who wrote that epitaph for himself, Saadat Hasan Manto (1912-1955). One cannot help but compare Manto’s centennial to Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s last year, preparations for which had begun much in advance. There seems to be an odd silence about Manto. Continue reading A Hundred Years of Manto

Rethinking Urdu Nationalism in Pakistan: Raza Rumi

Guest post by RAZA RUMI

Urdu has been a controversial language in Pakistan despite its official and holy status. The Bengalis rejected it way back in the 1940s when Jinnah, advised by a bureaucracy, with imperial moorings declared in that it would be the official language. Subsequently, Sindhis, Baloch and Pashtuns have also resisted the one-size-fits-all Urdu formula. Yet, Urdu has emerged as the functional lingua franca that connects Pakistan’s federating units, and its conflation with Islam and Muslim ‘nationhood’ remains the paramount narrative in Pakistan.

It takes arduous scholarship and infinite courage to author a book like From Hindi to Urdu: A Social and Political History (Oxford University Press, 2011). Dr Tariq Rahman, ironically, has worked as the Director of the National Institute of Pakistan Studies at the Quaid-i-Azam University and therefore his challenge to the mythical dimensions of ‘Pakistan Studies’ comes from within and not as an outsider. Sixty-four years after the creation of Pakistan, we have not arrived at any conclusion about our ‘national’ or cultural identity. Dr Rahman’s book if anything shatters the myths that we have built around Urdu; and therefore presents a valid alternative to Goebbelsian tone of our official history. Continue reading Rethinking Urdu Nationalism in Pakistan: Raza Rumi

Caste in Urdu Prose Literature: Ajmal Kamal

Cover of "The Adventures of Amir Hamza (M...
A cover of 'The Adventures of Amir Hamza'

Guest post by AJMAL KAMAL

The historical division of society in South Asia on caste lines is now an acknowledged sociological, political and economic fact. However, caste as a literary or social discourse does not, for several reasons, form a part of the predominantly Muslim culture of Urdu. Nor has there been much academic exploration of the role caste plays in the life of South Asian Muslim communities as against others. As far as the Urdu literary writing is concerned, it has traditionally focused exclusively on the lives and concerns of conquerors, their cohorts and their descendants, who typically prided themselves on their real or perceived foreign origins. Even after modern, socially committed writing began in Urdu around the 1930s, caste as a variable for social exploration was largely ignored in favour of economic class. Continue reading Caste in Urdu Prose Literature: Ajmal Kamal

The Poet of Romance and Revolution

Pablo Neruda with Faiz Ahmed 'Faiz'

If you met him on the street you would never imagine that he was a poet, and not your run of the mill poet, but  among the most important poets of the 20th century, not only in Urdu, not only in  the subcontinent but in the entire world of the 20th century. I have always wondered how could someone who invariably dressed in rather unimpressively stitched, unromantic terry-cot Safari suits, someone who could at best pass off as a joint secretary in the ministry of shipping or something similar, be such a wizard with words and not only with words but with content and with form?

Continue reading The Poet of Romance and Revolution

A Tribute to Moin Akhtar (1950-2011)

For many of us in India he was Amitabh Bachhan and Dilip Kumar combined in one, although he did no action. His action consisted of something else altogether. He could play any character in the world, sometimes animals too. His impersonations of Dilip Kumar were sometimes better than the thespian’s own act. He could speak well, emote well, mimic brilliantly, parody, caricature, satirize and imitate almost anything and anybody. He could do all of this without appearing crude in the slightest way. His understated demeanour, his timing and his ability to retain a straight face through the most ridiculous of situations was more than a gift, through it he brought class to whatever he did. He has often been described as a comedian but if he was a comedian then he redefined the art of comedy and created a genre which could be performed only by himself. He was a one man entertainment industry and unlike film starts from this side of the border he needed nothing other than himself. He was his own writer, performer, director, presenter. Here was a fusion of an artist and his material that is rarely seen in the performance arenas in the subcontinent. Continue reading A Tribute to Moin Akhtar (1950-2011)

Asrar-ul-Haq MAJAAZ -1911-2011

Asrar-ul-Haq Majaaz was born in Radauli on the 19 October in 1911 or 1910 and died at 44 on 5 December 1955. After his initial education at Agra and Lucknow he came to Aligarh and completed his graduation in 1936. This was the year when Ali Sardar Jafri was expelled from AMU for indulging in political activities and also the year when the Progressive Writers Association (PWA), formed a little earlier in London, held its first conference under the chairmanship of Munshi Prem Chand at Lucknow, the city that Majaaz called his home. Continue reading Asrar-ul-Haq MAJAAZ -1911-2011