book after my dissertation was this one (New York:
Columbia University Press, 1991). While preparing
it for publication, I was asked to shorten it
somewhat; once I got started, I ended up
shortening it by about half, which was painful.
But the result was an improvement in narrative
quality, so I had no real regrets.
of course I kept the files for the longer
translation-- which itself amounted to only about
half of the original 544-page Urdu text. Now, with
no space constraints, I can make available both
the introductory material from the printed edition
(modified and corrected wherever appropriate) and
the longer translation. This translation in its
present form is meant to be a free good; nobody
has permission to do anything commercial with it.
And if you want to delve deeper, here are some *further
on Transliteration* (PDF format)
Medieval Persian Romance Tradition* (PDF
The Persian Hamzah Romance Comes to India*
Hamzah Romance In Urdu* (PDF format)
Dastan of Amir Hamzah in Oral Narration*
The Dastan of Amir Hamzah in Print* (PDF
Dastan-e Amir Hamzah: the Bilgrami Text*
Dastan-e Amir Hamzah: the Narrative* (PDF
*Index of Characters*
*ONE* == Khvajah
Buzurchmihr goes to Mecca and makes inquiries
everywhere about Amir Hamzah's birth.
*TWO* == Amir
Hamzahís cradle goes to the Realm of Qaf, and
takes that sun of perfection to Mount Qaf.
*THREE* == The
dastan of how the Amir and Muqbil and ĎAmar
were given looks of empowerment by the Friends
*FOUR* == The Amir
comes to Mecca the Great, and Naushervanís
letter reaches him.
*FIVE* == [The
Amir kills a lion on the way to Ctesiphon, and
ĎAmar makes use of its skin.]
*SIX* == Gustahm
arrives in the city of Ctesiphon, bringing
Bahram Gurd the Emperor of China, with supreme
grandeur and glory and splendor.
[Gustahm makes a treacherous attack and wounds
Bahram, but ĎAmar cures the wound.]
*EIGHT* == [The
Amir goes with Naushervan to the Garden of
Justice, where ĎAmar contrives to join them.]
*NINE* == [ĎAmar
humiliates Bakhtak, and the Amir is stricken
*TEN* == The
Amirís first meeting with the foremost among
the beautiful ones of the age, that is, with
Princess Mihr Nigar.
*ELEVEN* == [The
Amir sets out for Sarandip to conquer Landhaur
bin Saídan, Emperor of Hindustan.]
*TWELVE* == The
Amirís ships are again storm-tossed, and those
unlucky ones fall into the Whirlpool of
Alexander, then emerge from the hurricane and
arrive in the land of Sarandip.
[ĎAmar plays tricks on the Amirís companions,
but cannot fool the Amir himself.]
Landhaur makes war on the Sahib-qiran, and is
finally subdued by this world-conqueror.
*FIFTEEN* == [The
Amir and Landhaur return to Naushervanís
court, where Landhaur narrowly escapes
Bakhtakís mother Hell-cave Bano spreads a
rumor of Princess Mihr Nigarís death, and the
Amir hears it and is distraught, and ĎAmar
kills Hell-cave Bano and conceals that
worthless one in the leaves.
[The Amir is tricked into setting out to
conquer the kings of the Seven Lands.]
*EIGHTEEN* == The
Amir sets out for Greece, and contracts a
marriage with Nahid Maryam, a charming beauty.
*NINETEEN* == The
pigeonís letter arrives in Ctesiphon, and
plans are made to kill Muqbil, etc., and ĎAmar
*TWENTY* == ĎAmar
sets out for Egypt after the pigeon and kills
it by the city gates and frees the Amir from
captivity, after grief and despair.
The Amir is brought out of the prison of the
Pit of Joseph, and is freed through the help
of Zuhrah of Egypt.
Zhopin mounts a night-attack on the army of
Islam, and the Amir is wounded and cannot be
found at the scene.
ĎAbdur Rahman the Jinn, vazir of the King of
Kings of the Realm of Qaf, comes to bear away
Naushervan discovers that the Amir has gone to
Qaf, and sends an army off to Mecca.
Directing the reins of the steed of the pen
toward writing about the Sahib-qiran, the
World-conqueror, Amir Hamzah of great
magnificence, the possessor of generosity and
Khvajah Nihal sets out toward Mecca to bring
back Mihr Nigar, and dies at ĎAmarís hands.
[Akhzar Elephant-ears besieges the fort, falls
victim to ĎAmarís trickery, and is driven to
Qarin Elephant-neck sets out to chastise
ĎAmar, and dies at the hands of the Veiled
[ĎAmar persuades Zhopin that the Amir is
*THIRTY* == [ĎAmar
pretends that he will give Mihr Nigar to
Zhopin in marriage, and thus acquires from him
fresh provisions for the fort.]
[ĎAmar uses fire and trickery to defeat and
plunder the enemy army.]
ĎIfrit Dev takes refuge in the tilism of the
City of Gold, at the advice of his mother,
[The Amir pursues ĎIfrit into the tilism, and
has strange adventures there.]
[The Amir kills ĎIfrit, and Khizr kills
Dastan about the situation of the Sahib-qiran
of the Age, the Earthquake of Qaf, the Younger
Solomon, Amir Hamzah the glorious.
The dastan of the King of the ĎAyyars of the
Age, the renowned Khvajah ĎAmar, and Hurmuz
[ĎAmar poses as a faqir, and conquers a new
[The Amir tries in vain to return from the
Realm of Qaf to the Realm of the World.]
[The Amirís adventures in the Island of
*FORTY* == [The
Amir is persecuted by Asman Pari, and tricked
by the White Dev.]
*FORTY-ONE* == The
dastan of Khvajah ĎAmar ĎAyyarís going from
his previous fort to the fort of Devdad, with
Princess Mihr Nigar and the army of Islam.
[ĎAmarís fort is treacherously attacked
through a tunnel, but the plot is discovered
and the invaders defeated.]
[The Amir marries Raihan Pari, in an attempt
to reach the World.]
Asman Pari goes with a powerful army to the
fort of Sabz-nigar, lays waste the city, takes
captive Sabz-qaba the Jinn and Raihan Pari,
punishes Sabz-qaba the Jinn, and imprisons
Raihan Pari in the Dungeon of Solomon.
[Zuhrah of Egypt disappears from the roof of
the fort, and comes before Asman Pari.]
[Mihr Nigar runs away in anger and has various
adventures, until ĎAmar placates her and
brings her back.]
[The Amir tries again to leave Qaf, and again
is unwillingly reunited with Asman Pari.]
[The Amir frees the captives of the Dungeon of
Solomon, and is helped by Asifa Basafa to
escape from Asman Pari.]
The Amir arrives at the house of Samandun Dev
the Thousand-armed, and rescues Zuhrah of
Egypt from captivity.
*FIFTY* == [The
Amir is joyfully reunited with Mihr Nigar and
all his old companions.]
[The Amir prepares to marry Mihr Nigar, with
Asman Pari in attendance.]
[The Amir marries Mihr Nigar, and she gives
birth to Qubad.]
[Bahman betrays the Amir, but is put to flight
by the young Qubad.]
[The Amir is wounded by Bahman, but recovers
in a goatherdís hut.]
[The Amir suffers three terrible
Qarun bin Farhad ĎAkkah and Kulliyat bin Gilim
ĎAyyar go to the Amir, capture him, and take
him and Muqbil away.
[The Amir finally learns the identity of the
[The Amir acquires a wife, and discovers a
== [The Amir is carried off by one
woman, and marries another.]
*SIXTY* == The
Amir goes to the Fire-temple of Nimrod in
order to bring Naushervan back.
Dastan of the birth of Prince Badií uz-Zaman
from the womb of Geli Savar daughter of
Ganjal, and the princeís being shut up in a
box and floated down the river, and his rescue
and upbringing by Quraishah daughter of Asman
Pari, at Hazrat Khizrís order.
*SIXTY-TWO* == The
martyrdom of Rustam Pil-tan in the war against
Ahriman Sher-e Gurdan, Ruler of Bakhtar, and
the death of Qunduz Sar-e Shuban and Aljosh at
The Amir sets out toward Nayastan, and kills
Sang-andaz the Bloodthirsty of Nayastan, the
lord of that place.
The Amir sets out for Mecca the Great, and is
martyred at the ever-victorious side of the
Master of the Universe, Godís peace and
blessing be upon him, and the dastan is
*on the Dastan-e Amir Hamzah: