Ghazals of Ghalib
by Aijaz Ahmad

This imaginative approach to the work of the Urdu poet Ghalib (1797-1869) presents highly original renderings, made by seven well-known American poets, of Ghalib’s ghazals. The ghazals (poems consisting of at least five unrelated couplets) show a time when old values were breaking down with no new ones to take their place. Aijaz Ahmad began by selecting thirty-seven of the ghazals for literal translation. These versions were then given to the American poets who made poetic interpretations of those ghazals which interested them. The resulting variety of interpretation is remarkable, and indicates the evocativeness of Ghalib’s poetry. The complete volume, which offers a fascinating insight into poetic creation as well as the work of this unfamiliar poet, consists of Aijaz Ahmad’s introduction to Ghalib poetry, the ghazals in Urdu, the literal versions, with explanatory notes and the poems written by the American poets in response to the ghazals.

by Azra Raza

Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib (1797 1869) Lived At A Time Of Historic Change In India A Period When The British Conquest Of India Was In Its Ascendancy And The Mughal Empire Was Coming To An End. He Was Witness To The Ravagement Of Delhi And Its Courtly Culture, Culminating In The Catastrophe Of The Uprising Of 1857. This Trauma, Accompanied By His Personal Losses, Informs His Poetry, Evidenced In Divan-E-Ghalib Containing 235 Ghazals In Urdu, Ghazals Redolent With A Sense Of Loss, Grief And A Plangent Longing For A Vanished Way Of Life. Yet, What Sets His Poetry Apart Is An Irrepressible Sense Of Humour, Energy And Linguistic Delight That Drive His Darkest Lamentations.

In Ghalib: Epistemologies Of Elegance, Sara Suleri Goodyear And Azra Raza Select Twenty-One Ghazals That Illustrate The Astonishing Range Of Ghalib S Many Voices And The Ideas That Populate His Poetry. Every Ghazal Is Accompanied By An Introduction, A Literal Translation And A Detailed Commentary That Elucidate The Complexities Of The Individual Sher And The Ghazal As A Whole. The Result Is An Erudite Introduction To The Work Of The Greatest Urdu Poet Of All Time, Which Will Be Invaluable Not Only To The Ghalib Aficionado But Also The Lay Reader Spellbound By The Intricate Imagery And The Dazzling Scope Of This Extraordinary Poet.

Persian poetry of Mirza Ghalib
by Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib

Includes a brief biographical sketch.

by Veena Talwar Oldenburg

In 1528 the Mughal Sultanate conquered and formally incorporated Awadh as one of its constituent provinces. With the decline of Mughal power the nawab-vazirs of Awadh began to assert their independence. After the East India Company appropriated half of Awadh as ‘indenmity’, the then nawab, Asaf’ud Daulah, moved his capital to Lucknow in 1775. A move that resulted in the growth of the city and its distinctive culture known as’Lakhnavi tehzeeb’. Since then, nawabi Lucknow has undergone enormous changes. The refinement of ‘pehle aap’ has all but disappeared. Originally built to support a hundred thousand people, amid palaces, gardens and orchards, the city now staggers under the burden of fifty times that number. Its unchecked growth and collapsed civic amenities are slowly draining the life and beauty of this once vibrant city. The rich and flamboyant culture has faded amidst the decay that has eaten into the fabric of the city and the corruption and treachery that permeate the government. In separate pieces William Dalrymple and Barry Bearak trace the decline of Lucknow—the city, its architecture, people, politics, governance—and the sad end of the havelis and their once grandiose occupants. The elegiac Marsia tradition of the Shias strives to be heard over angry chants of ‘Hulla Bol’ of political rallies in Mrinal Pande’s account of her visit to the city. And, in his hyperbolic saga of seven generations of the fictional Anglo-Indian Trotter family, I. Allan Sealy meanders through two hundred years of Lucknow’s chequered history. However, despite the apparent disintegration, Lucknow’s ineffable spirit can still be found—in the tantalizing flavours of Lakhnavi cuisine; the delicate artistry of chikankari; the legendary courtesans and the defiant voice of the rekhti; the melodious notes of the ghazaI and the thumri … Engaging and thoughtful, Shaam-e-Awadh: Writings on Lucknow celebrates the unique character of this city of carnivals and calamities.

Nets of Awareness
by Frances W. Pritchett

Frances Pritchett’s lively, compassionate book joins literary criticism with history to explain how Urdu poetry—long the pride of Indo-Muslim culture—became devalued in the second half of the nineteenth century.

This abrupt shift, Pritchett argues, was part of the backlash following the violent Indian Mutiny of 1857. She uses the lives and writings of the distinguished poets and critics Azad and Hali to show the disastrous consequences—culturally and politically—of British rule. The British had science, urban planning—and Wordsworth. Azad and Hali had a discredited culture and a metaphysical, sexually ambiguous poetry that differed radically from English lyric forms.

Pritchett’s beautiful reconstruction of the classical Urdu poetic vision allows us to understand one of the world’s richest literary traditions and also highlights the damaging potential of colonialism.

The Famous Ghalib
by Ralph Russell

 ‘Easily the best Urdu scholar in the West.’ Shamsur Rehman Farouqi

‘Marion Molteno has mined a substantial corpus of Russell’s writings to string together his most valuable insights into the genre of ghazal… to prepare the uninitiated reader for the final feast of Ghalib’s ghazals in English translation. And what a magnificent feast it is!’ M. Asaduddin, Jamia Millia Islamia

The second edition of Ralph Russell’s critically acclaimed The Famous Ghalib has been put together according to guidance left by the author/translator before his death in 2008.

This book introduces Ghalib to anyone who wants to find out why his poetry has inspired generations of Urdu speakers and many others besides. It explains the form of poetry in which Ghalib wrote, and how he used its symbolism to express his response both to the universal experiences of life and to the times that he himself lived through. With over 200 couplets in Ralph Russell’s translations, alongside the original Urdu – and also transcribed using both English and Hindi scripts, this is a must have for all poetry lovers.

The translations are as concise as the original, matching Ghalib’s intensity with words chosen to convey precise meaning; and they do this in English which flows naturally and with unobtrusive poetic metre.

Indian Literature and Popular Cinema
by Heidi R.M. Pauwels

This book is about the popular cinema of North India (“Bollywood”) and how it recasts literary classics. It addresses questions about the interface of film and literature, such as how Bollywood movies rework literary themes, offer different (broader or narrower) interpretations, shift plots, stories, and characters to accommodate the medium and the economics of the genre, sometimes even changing the way literature is read. This book addresses the socio-political implications of popular reinterpretations of “elite culture”, exploring gender issues and the perceived “sexism” of the North Indian popular film and how that plays out when literature is reworked into film. Written by an international group of experts on Indian literature and film, the chapters in this book focus on these central questions, but also cover a wide range of literary works that have been adapted in film. Each part of the book discusses how a particular genre of literature has been “recast” into film. The individual chapters focus on comparisons and close studies of individual films or film songs inspired by “classics” of literature. The book will be of interest to those studying Indian film and literature and South Asian popular culture more generally.

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