|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 or
*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.
Garden of Kashmir*, on the ghazals of
Mir Taqi 'Mir' (1723-1810), a very large project that
is now well launched. Devanagari transliteration
*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.
Desertful of Roses*, my commentary on
the ghazals of the whole Urdu Divan-e Ghalib,
by Mirza Asadullah Khan 'Ghalib' (1797-1869). I'll be
working on it for the rest of my life. Devanagari
Marsiyah of Mir Anis*, the most famous
work of the brilliant poet Mir Babr 'Ali Anis
(1802-1874). Glossary, annotated translation, related
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."
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). One of the last, and definitely the greatest (and bleakest) short story, by a crucial early pioneer 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.
Chughtai* (1915-1991); a presentation
of "Chauthi ka jora," one of her two most famous
stories, along with a Devanagari version and much
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
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