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Nineteenth-century prose

Chandrakāntā by Devaki Nandan Khatri (selection from the novel) Urdu
Premsāgar by Lallulal (selection)
Literary criticism by Bhartendu Harishchandra, “Hindī bhāshā” and “Urdū kā syāpā”

Twentieth-century prose

“Sadgati” by Premchand
“Dudh kā dām” by Premchand Urdu
“Urdū, Hindī, aur Hindūstānī” by Premchand Urdu
“Malbe kā mālik” by Mohan Rakesh
“Tanāv” by Rajendra Yadav
“Dillī mẽ ek maut” by Kamleshwar
“Paccīs caukā deṛh sau” by Omprakash Valmiki
Apne-apne pinjare by Mohandas Naimishray Urdu
“Lājwantī” by Rajinder Singh Bedi Urdu


Two Braj Bhasha poets:
  • Kabir Urdu
  • Rahim Urdu
Selections from Braj works: The Chayavad movement, with
  • Selection from the critical essay “Kalpnā ke kānan kī rānī” in Chāyāvād by Namwar Singh
  • “Vishva chavi” by Sumitranand Pant
  • Nīrajā by Mahadevi Varma (selection)
Old Avadhi texts: selections from
  • the Rāmcaritmānas of Tulsīdās
  • the Madhumālatī of Manjhan

“Dillī mẽ ek maut”
by Kamleshwar

“A Death in Delhi” is a classic of the Nayī Kahānī (or “New Story”) style of the post-Independence period. Short story writers like Kamleshwar (1932 - 2007) turned their attention from the lives of the rural poor, a subject so beloved by Premchand, to the ennui of the urban middle class. There was a new interest in the psychological lives of characters, as is evident in this story where there is very little action but quite a lot of description of the atmosphere (it is a foggy and bitterly cold Delhi winter) and a great deal of introspection. The narrator obsesses over what the neighbors will think about him if he does not join in a funeral procession. The style is marked by a heavy use of English words and so reflects the actual linguistic environment of the Indian urban middle class. (The glossary below only provides some of this English words so the student is advised to sound out unfamiliar words to see if they might just be English written in Hindi.)

-Arthur Dudney

Stories by two other great writers of the Nayī Kahānī movement have been included on this site:

On this page

PDF availableThe Hindi text of the story is available as a PDF with pages corresponding to the page numbers below.

If the Hindi words below appear as boxes or nonsense, please see the introduction page for help.


p. 384

कुहरा (m.) or धुंध (f.) mist, haze, fog
लिपटना x में or x से - to stick to x, cling to x
नम (adj) moist, damp, humid (derived from Persian)
सनसनाहट (f.) whistling sound सनसनाना to whistle, whizz
पार (m.) far bank, side, opposite side/reverse
अतुल lit. 'unweighed', i.e., immeasurable, incomparable (here a proper name)
मूंछ (f.) moustache
खनक (f.) ringing, clinking, jingling sound - खनकना to clink, jingle
भारी (adj) heavy
बेतहाशा - recklessly, carelessly
पिछवाड़ा (m) rear part, back garden
सर्दी (f.) coldness, winter
ठिठुरना to be numbed, frozen, chilled
कोहरा same as कुहरा
पटरी (f.) strip of wood/metal; a paved lane so perhaps in the context of Delhi a sidewalk
भटकना to stray, wander
सिकुड़ना to shrink, shrivel
सलीब (f.) cross (derived from Arabic)
लटकना to hang, be hanging
बांह (f.) upper arm
पसार (m.) spreading, stretching out (used here as an adverbial participle from पसारना, to stretch out)
कील (m.) nail, spike (Note that in this text the word is used as a feminine. Sometimes the gender of Hindi nouns can be ambiguous.)

p. 385

अरथी - f. a bier
छपना - v.i. to be printed
शव - m. a corpse
कोठी - f. usually a storehouse, but here it must mean some kind of a platform on which a corpse would be transported
पंचकुइयाँ- a proper name
श्मशान-भूमि- cremation ground
दाह -संस्कार - m. cremation rite
बाँधना - v.t. to tie
ख़ामोशी - f. quietness, calm
धीमा - adj. slow, sluggish, lazy
दस्तक - f. knock (at the door)
आयरन- the English word "iron"
तसल्ली - f. consolation, comfort
खटका - m. unease"
बवाल - m. turmoil, furor
निश्चिन्त - adj. free from care, anxiety, at peace
पैण्ट - the English word "pant"
दूतावास - m. embassy
च्क्कर काटना - v.i. to revolve, to wander, to make a round trip
सर्दी - f. cold
परिचित - adj. acquainted with
शरीफ़ - adj. noble, high born
दुनियादार - adj. wordly
भड़भड़ाना - v.i. to crash, to roar
सहारा - m. support, assistance, aid
लपकना, to pounce
मक्शन - apparently just a typo for the word butter
राहत - f. repose, relief, ease, peace of mind
बारजा - m. an upper porch
हलका - adj. light or pale color
मौजूद - adj. present, at hand, ready
जूड़ा - m. the hair tied up or coiled behind
मैयत - f. a corpse; funeral

p. 386

अरथी - f. a bier (for carrying a corpse)
ताकि - conj. so that, in order that
झलक - f. brightness, radiance, glow (used as a verb here, from झलकना )
शेव करना - the English "to shave"
शवयात्रा - f. funeral procession (शव - m. a corpse)
शामिल - here adj. participating in
नैतिक - adj. moral, ethical
बेहूदा - adj. inv. uncouth, coarse, crass
सर्दी - f. cold, coldness
कुहरा - m. haze, fog
बारजा - m. an upper porch
लपेटना - (vt.) to cover, to wrap (here used in compound with लेना)
अदब - m. good manners, politeness
पुकारना - (vi.) to call out
हिदायत - f. guidance, instruction
भूनना - v.i. to be roasted
पाजी - adj. worthless; m. a scoundrel
घना - adj. thick, dense
किरण - f./m. a ray, beam
कुलचा - m. a small bread roll
छोला - m. boiled and spiced chick-peas
रेढ़ी - an obscure word apparently referring to some kind of a stand/cart
सजाना - to arrange, prepare

p. 387

खनखनाहट (f) chinking, jingling
सूली (f) 1. an impaling stake 2. gallows 3. fig. pang, anguish
छूटना (v.i.) to come out or forth; to leave, to depart.
लटकना (v.i.) 1. to hang, to be hanging 2. fig. to be kept waiting
ईसा (m) Jesus
पेशगी (f) an advance (of money)
रेजगारी (f) a small coin, change
खनक (f) a ringing, clinking or jingling sound
वरदी (f) uniform
घुटना (v.i.) to be constricted (the throat, or the breath)
लटकाना (v.t.) to hang (an object)
ताज़गी (f) freshness; refreshment
बारजा (m) an upper porch
नम (adj) moist, damp, humid
निखरना (v.i.) to become clear, or clean; to become composed, serene; to be purified, to be refined.
इशारा (m) sign, nod, wink; इशारा करना to make a sign, to hint
सीटी (f) whistling, whistle; सीटी बजाना (v.t.) to blow a whistle
कुछेक ? related to कुछ meaning "a few"
मशग़ूल (adj) occupied, engaged (in, में)
क्षण (m) a moment
धीमा (adj) slow

p. 388

सरसराना (later appears as सुरसुराना)- to glide, crawl, to make a rustling sound
खिलखिलाना - to laugh out loud, to giggle
कोंचना - to pierce, stab, cause distress
कोठी - f. a large house
कतार - f. line, row
ध्वनि - f. sound, echo
लचक - f. bending, twisting
घुलाना - to be melted, dissolved, mixed
गरूर - m. false pride, vanity
चबूतरा - m. platform, base
शव - m. corpse
महिला - f. a woman

p. 389

अगरबत्ती - (f) incense stick
शव - (m) corpse
सिरहाना - (m) head of a bed (or of a tomb)
निश्चल - (adj) motionless, immobile [from Skt "without + movement"]
सदमा - (m) shock, blow; misfortune
भीड़ - (f) crowd
फाटक - (m) gate, entrance (also the word for guardbooth)
तैनात - (adj) appointed, sent on duty
मातमपुरसी - (f) condolences
कुहरा - (m) mist, fog
घना - (adj) thick, dense, coarse
स्वीकृति - (f) acceptance
चिता - (f) funeral pyre
शव-यात्रा - (f) funeral procession

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This site last updated by Justin Ben-Hain on 5 November 2013.