Digital Urdu Ghazal ReaderHomeContentsSettingsHelp


The Digital Urdu Ghazal Reader is a digital version of a semester-long Urdu course reader created and used by Frances W. Pritchett at Columbia University. It can be used as the reader for a semester-long advanced Urdu class or as supplementary material for a first or second-year class. The interactive on-line reader aids students in orthography, pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, and cultural and literary context. Printable versions of the ghazals are also available in order to accommodate classroom work.

All the ghazals in this reader are complete, with no verses omitted. The ghazals are presented in roughly chronological order, and have been chosen according to a number of criteria. They are designed (1) to introduce work by as many as possible of the most important poets in the classical North Indian tradition; (2) to represent the full range of the Urdu ghazal, from the simple to the extremely complex and from the sufistic to the erotic; (3) to contain many memorizable verses and to work well in classroom settings. The reader consists of eighteen ghazals by ten poets: Vali, Dard, Mir, Jur'at, Atish, Momin, Zauq, Zafar, Ghalib, and Iqbal. Iqbal was included because of his great importance, and because although he's not part of the classical tradition his ghazals resonate with it in very interesting ways.

This project was funded by a Pedagogical Materials grant 2005-6 from the South Asia Language Resource Center. The texts were edited and prepared by Frances Pritchett and A. Sean Pue. The recitations were provided by Dr. S. Nomanul Haq.

System Requirements

All of the webpages are written in XHTML 1.0 strict and use CSS styles and Javascript. Cookies must be enabled to record font preferences.

Windows XP: This reader displays properly in Firefox (v. 1.5). It does not work properly under Internet Explorer 6, but will work under Internet Explorer 7.

Apple OS X: This reader display properly under Firefox and Safari (using OS X v 10.4).

Linux: This reader displays Urdu properly under Firefox and Konqueror. Under KDE, Urdu font selection may not work in Firefox (at least in SUSE 10). Firefox does work in Gnome (tested using Ubuntu). See the help section for more information.

In order to hear the streamed audio files, the RealPlayer plugin is required. It is available for all major operating systems (Windows, OS X, Linux, and even Solaris).

About the Contributors

Frances W. Pritchett (editor)

Frances Pritchett is Professor of Modern Indic Languages in the Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University. In association with S. R. Faruqi, she has translated Ab-e hayat: Shaping the Canon of Urdu Poetry. Among her published books are Marvelous Encounters: Folk Romance in Urdu and Hindi (Manohar, 1985), The Romance Tradition in Urdu: Adventures from the Dastan of Amir Hamzah (Columbia U. Press, 1991), and Nets of Awareness: Urdu poetry and Its Critics (U.C. Press, 1994). Her work nowadays centers on the classical Urdu ghazal, and especially *Ghalib* and Mir.

A. Sean Pue (editor-programmer)

A. Sean Pue's dissertation from the Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures and Comparative Literature departments at Columbia University focuses on the modernist Urdu poet N. M. Rashed. He is currently a Research Associate at the South Asia Language Resource Center at the University of Chicago.

S. Nomanul Haq (recitations)

Dr. S. Nomanul Haq is currently on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, and is General Editor of Oxford University Press's series Studies in Islamic Philosophy. In the past he has served as Assistant Professor at Brown and earned a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University. Dr. Haq has also been a broadcaster and television journalist, having worked for several years at the BBC in London. The body of his published works include both Urdu and English writings.


We would like to offer our thanks to the South Asian Language Resource Center for funding this project, Udi Halperin and Mohammad Khan for sound editing, the Columbia Language Research center for providing recording facilities, Dan Beeby and CCNMTL for hosting the audio files, the MEALAC department for providing indirect costs and administrative support, and Manan Ahmed for testing the site.

The icons on this site are part of or derivative from the Crystal Clear icon set designed for KDE by Everaldo Coelho. They are released under the LGPL.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.

Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict