Glossaries of Hindi Texts

The texts on this site were taught starting in Autumn 2007 as part of "Readings in Hindi Literature I & II" (MDES W4610 and W4611) at Columbia University. The minimum prerequisite for taking these courses is two years of Hindi-Urdu, but many advanced students also join the seminar. Thus, the texts on offer here are pitched at a range of levels. The courses were conceived and taught by Allison Busch, Associate Professor in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies. The original material for this website was prepared by Arthur Dudney in 2008. Additional materials continue to be added. A combined Hindi-Urdu course taught in Autumn 2009 generated units available both in Devanagari and Nastaliq script, an effort coordinated by Nabila Pirani and Zahra Sabri. (The availability of Nastaliq is marked here by the symbol Description: The Old Avadhi glossary page was prepared by Andrew Ollett in 2011. The 'Selections from Braj works' section was prepared by Justin Ben-Hain in 2013.

Students in the courses used a wiki (defined here) to prepare glossaries for the texts collaboratively. Students were assigned pages of the reading to prepare by identifying unfamiliar words, looking up the definitions and entering what they came up with into a wiki, which was typically to be finished two days before the class session in which the text would be read. Students were encouraged to note words or expressions they could not understand or find in a dictionary. As other students viewed the wiki, they could offer corrections and fill in some of the blanks. The instructor would endeavor to do a definitive round of corrections the night before the class session as well as, where appropriate, marking key terms that would appear on quizzes. We believe this approach balances the needs of students and the instructor by providing the benefits of a glossary for uncommonly taught texts in a creative, collaborative manner. Students gain experience typing in the target language and are expected to contribute actively to the wiki, which makes them more attentive to spelling, grammar, and idiomatic usages. At the same time the instructor does not have to take on the heavy burden of preparing all of the glossaries herself. By sharing the labor among all the students in the class, each student would only have to look up all of the unfamiliar words on a page or two each week. Students were thus able to concentrate on the meaning of the texts rather than, as a teacher of mine once said, “mindlessly thumbing the lexicon.” At Columbia, support for wiki-related projects is provided by the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL), and we are grateful to CCNMTL's Michael Cennamo for his help.

Although the entries were corrected by the students themselves with some oversight by Professor Busch, it is possible that inaccuracies will have remained. All materials are provided as is—more or less in the form in which they were originally created by students. As with all wikis, comments and corrections are welcome (these may be sent to Professor Busch at ab2544@columbia[dot]edu). We are placing these materials in the public domain in the hope that they will be useful to both students and teachers. However, we request that any materials used will be credited to this site. We encourage others to contribute to the “glossary fair” housed at this site.

The dictionary consulted by most of the students was the Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary, edited by R.S. McGregor. It is the best all-purpose Hindi-English dictionary available, and can be purchased at one of the major online booksellers for about $30. Other indispensible resources include the Hindi Shabdsagar and Platt's Dictionary of Urdu, Classical Hindi and English, both of which are available online for free through the Digital South Asia Library at the University of Chicago. For further practice with Hindi readings, the student is advised to consider Christopher Shackle and Rupert Snell's Hindi and Urdu Since 1800: A Common Reader (whose full text is now available online) and Usha Jain and Karine Schomer's Intermediate Hindi Reader, some of which is suitable for advanced students despite its title. The Hindi-Urdu Flagship website at the University of Texas is another wonderful resource that includes classical materials.

-Arthur Dudney


Nineteenth-century prose

Chandrakāntā by Devaki Nandan Khatri (selection from the novel)
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 PremchandUrdu
"Urdū, Hindī, aur Hindūstānī" by PremchandUrdu
"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 (selection)Urdu
"Lājwantī" by Rajinder Singh BediUrdu


Two Braj Bhasha poets: Selections from Braj works: The Chayavad movement, with Old Avadhi texts: selections from

Using this Site

All the texts on the site are conveniently available from a "quick menu" at the top of every page. Click it to access any text or to go back to the homepage.

All the vocabulary on this site is encoded in Unicode, which is standard for modern web browsers. If you have an extremely old web browser then this site will not work for you. For more information about fonts for South Asian languages, please see the guidelines set out by the Hindi-Urdu Flagship Program at the University of Texas. For viewing Urdu text, we recommend the font Nafees Nastaliq.

PDFTo view the original text of the stories in the PDF format, you'll need to download the free Acrobat Reader. Wherever the icon to the left appears, there is a link to a PDF file.

Whenever the icon to the right appears, a text is available in Nastaliq. Urdu

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This page last updated by Arthur Dudney on 14 March 2015.