My dastan work goes back for more than ten years now, and from the start I have had the support of my teacher and friend, C. M. Naim of the University of Chicago.  As the work progressed, M. A. R. Barker of the University of Minnesota most generously lent dastan volumes from his own collection for microfilming, as did Ralph Russell, formerly of the School of Oriental and African Studies, London.  William L. Hanaway of the University of Pennsylvania, to whose work on Persian dastan I am immensely indebted, has also been a most valuable friend and counselor.
        At Columbia, I have been fortunate in my colleagues:  for readings, comments, and general encouragement I particularly thank John S. Hawley, Barbara Stoler Miller, Theodore Riccardi, David Rubin, James Russell, and Ehsan Yarshater.
        In South Asia too, I have had generous help from friends and colleagues.  These have included, in India, Dr. Gopi Chand Narang of Delhi University and Dr. Naiyar Masud of Lucknow University; and in Pakistan, Dr. Farman Fatahpuri of the Urdu Dictionary Board, and Jamiluddin Aali and Dr. Aslam Farrukhi of the Anjuman Taraqqi-e Urdu, in Karachi.  Maulvi Niyaz ud-Din of the Kutubkhanah Anjuman Taraqqi-e Urdu, in Urdu Bazaar in Delhi, has long been the best and most consistent supplier of rare books, and my work would have been much the poorer without his help.  The India International Centre, New Delhi, provided ideal living and working arrangements during several long visits to Delhi; the Centreís support has contributed a great deal to the successful completion of the project.
        Libraries too have been of the greatest help at all stages of the work.  Kenneth Jones and Ismat Jahan of the Library of Congress office in New Delhi not only found things for me, but also made it possible to preserve rare dastan texts in microform versions.  In London, the India Office Library and Records, the Oriental Reading Room, and other parts of the British Library maintain unparalleled collections, and have an altogether cooperative and helpful group of staff members; I am especially indebted to Qazi Mahmud ul-Haq.  Dastan microfilming in the United States was made possible by the good offices of Maureen L. P. Patterson of Regenstein Library at the University of Chicago, and of Henry Scholberg of the Ames Library at the University of Minnesota.  First Cecelia Shores, and then Ray Boylan, arranged for the forty-six-volume microfilm version to find a safe home at the Center for Research Libraries in Chicago.  In New York, the Columbia University libraries and the New York Public Library have been most helpful.
        Iíve also had the benefit of several research grants for dastan-related projects:  a short-term Senior Research Fellowship from the American Institute of Indian Studies (1984), and two successive summer grants (1985, 1986) from the Council for Research in the Humanities, Columbia University.
Jennifer Crewe, John Director, and Leslie Bialler of Columbia University Press have been extremely helpful, and a pleasure to work with.  Iíve had a truly magical companion as well:  my faithful and intelligent computer, equipped with the astonishing brainpower of Nota Bene.
        In fact my dastan work all along has had a magical quality, like the Water-flask of Khizr.  As the work has progressed, as its demands have become clear, unexpected resources have always appeared, and they have always been just sufficient for the needs of the moment.  The dastan world has proved to be the ultimate tilism:  its wonders keep changing, but they never diminish.
        First, last, and always, Iíve had the invaluable help of Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, my best collaborator and friend.  This project, like so many others weíve worked on during the past twelve years, really belongs to us both.

Frances W. Pritchett
New York, 1990


The Hamzah project was the reason I bought a computer in the first place, in 1985. I knew I'd have to do a lot of paragraphing and re-paragraphing, since the original Urdu text had no paragraph breaks at all. It made no sense not to do that on a computer (with WordStar, which at the time was state-of-the-art). So, anxiously but with desperate resolve, I took the plunge. No more cutting, pasting, re-xeroxing!

I'd like to celebrate Nota Bene (again), the simplicities of Netscape Composer 4.7, the elaborations of DreamWeaver, and all my lovely computers over the years. What a long way we've all come, and how the possibilities keep expanding!

And I'd like to renew my thanks to Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, whose own work on the dastan world, now so much deeper and more extensive than mine, began when he helped me with these very enjoyable translations in the early 1980's.

Fran Pritchett
New York, January 2004

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