FRAN'S FAVORITES
some special "study sites"


 
These "study sites" (a term I just invented) are based on particular texts of unusual importance and interest. They can be used by Urdu language-learners and language-knowers at all levels; many can be used by Devanagari-readers too. They include not only texts but also literal (very literal!) translations and suitable background material, so they can be of some help to other readers as well. They're "study sites" for me too-- I'll keep on enriching and improving them as opportunity offers. These are some of the best of the best, and it's a pleasure to share them with other Urdu-lovers around the world.

They are listed here in roughly chronological order. For beginners, the easiest verse one is "Two Taranahs"; the easiest prose one is "Toba Tek Singh."

NOTE: There are still some display glitches, because of the quirks of the various available browsers and fonts, as well as some remaining adjustments to be made to our transliteration system. And of course there will be some typos. Please bear with me-- if you can't read some word in Urdu script or Devanagari, check it in the transliteration-with-diacritics mode; viewing choices can be made with the "script bar" at the bottom of most pages. If you have radical trouble and you're using Internet Explorer, try using Firefox instead.

*Selections from Sauda*: masnavis, qasidahs, etc. by Mirza Muhammad Rafi' Sauda (1706?-1781), chosen, translated, and annotated by Major Henry Court (1825) and FWP; difficult early Urdu.

*A Garden of Kashmir*, on the ghazals of Mir Taqi 'Mir' (1723-1810), a very large project that's now just getting started (first-verse index completed, commentary begun). Devanagari transliteration available.

*The Masnavi of Mir Hasan*, officially named "Sihr ul-bayan," is by far the most popular narrative love poem in Urdu, and has come to overshadow all of the other work of Mir Hasan (1736/7-1786). For comparison, Mirza Shauq's "Zahr-e 'ishq" is also presented.

*Bagh-o-bahar (Tales of the Four Darweshes)* (1804), by Mir Amman Dihlavi (1750-1837), with the annotated translation of Duncan Forbes (1857), and much else besides. This Fort William work is one of the great early classics of Urdu prose. Also included is the Fort William "Twenty-five Tales of the Vampire" in Hindi, Urdu, and English versions.

*A Desertful of Roses*, my commentary on the ghazals of the whole Urdu Divan-e Ghalib, by Mirza Asadullah Khan 'Ghalib' (1797-1869). I'll probably be working on it for the rest of my life. Devanagari transliteration available.

*A Marsiyah of Mir Anis*, the most famous work of the brilliant poet Mir Babr 'Ali Anis (1802-1874). Glossary, annotated translation, related material.

*The Causes of the Indian Revolt* (1859), by Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan (1817-1898), including the famous English translation of 1873 and my own morbidly literal translation and much related material, including his "History of the Bijnor Rebellion."

*Nazir Ahmad's Best-sellers* (1870's)-- Maulvi Nazir Ahmad (1831-1912) wrote "The Bride's Mirror" (1869) and others of the first Urdu best-sellers, but were they really novels?

*Ab-e hayat* (1880), by Muhammad Husain Azad (1830-1910). A seriously literal translation of the single great canon-forming history of Urdu literature, translated by FWP and S. R. Faruqi, online through DSAL and hyperlinked page by page to the Urdu text. Useful for students of both language and literature.  

*Umrao Jan Ada* (1899), by Mirza Muhammad Hadi 'Rusva' (1857-1931). This dramatic account of the world of the courtesans of old Lucknow is possibly the first real Urdu novel, and has proved to be a persistent Bollywood favorite; it begins with a detailed account of a mushairah. The whole text of the first edition is online, hooked up to a detailed serial glossary.

*Hali's "Justice for the Silent"* (1905), and other work of the literary and cultural reformer Altaf Husain Hali (1837-1914). This famous poem evokes the lives and sufferings of ordinary women in South Asia, and makes a plea for women's education; Devanagari transliteration is available. Also available: his "Musaddas" and much more.

*"Two Taranahs"* (1904 and 1910), a comparative look at two short, simple, but very significant early ghazals written for schoolchildren by Sir Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938); Devanagari transliteration is available.

*Iqbal: some of his best Urdu poems* (from his three main collections, 1924, 1935, 1936). A small selection of my own favorites by Iqbal (1877-1938). Devanagari transliteration is available.

*"Kafan" (The Shroud)* (1935), by Premchand (1880-1936). The last and greatest (and bleakest) short story, by the founder of the genre in Urdu and Hindi. Devanagari transliteration is available.

*"Toba Tek Singh"* (1955), by Saadat Hasan Manto (1912-1955); the single best short story that has come out of the terrible experiences of Partition. Devanagari transliteration is available.

*Ismat Chughtai* (1915-1991); a presentation of "Chauthi ka jora," one of her two most famous stories, along with a Devanagari version and much background material.

*Three modern poets: Faiz, Rashid, Miraji*: the founders of modern Urdu poetry, from the generation after Iqbal. Texts, detailed glossaries, and scholarly transliterations; some access to translations.


 
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