Posted by: motso | January 29, 2007

HISTORY OF URDU LITERATURE

Copyright (C) Dr Ausaf Sayeed, 2000-2001.
Permission is granted to reprint the following article as long as no
changes are made and the byline, copyright information, and the
resource box is included. Please let me know if you use this article
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Article Title: Jarawa Tribes – Confluence of the Present with the Past
Author: Dr Ausaf Sayeed
Contact Author: webmaster@…
Publishing Guidelines: May be freely published w/bylines
Web Address: http://www.culturopedia.com
======================
About the Author : The author is a Ph.D by qualification. He is
currently the Chief Coordinating Officer of the Indian Culture Centre
(ICC), Doha,Qatar

HISTORY OF URDU LITERATURE
(by Dr Ausaf Sayeed)

Urdu writing in its various primitive forms can be traced to Muhammad
Urfi (Tadhkirah – 1228 AD), Amir Khusro (1259-1325 AD) and Kwaja
Muhammad Husaini (1318-1422 AD). As Urdu started flourishing in the
kingdoms of Golconda and Bijapur, the earliest writings in Urdu are
in the Dakhni (Deccani) dialect. The Sufi saints were the earliest
promoters of the Dakhni Urdu. The Sufi-saint Hazrat Khwaja Banda
Nawaz Gesudaraz is considered to be the first prose writer of Dakhni
Urdu and some treatises like Merajul Ashiqin and Tilawatul Wajud are
attributed to him but his authorship is open to doubt. The first
literary work in Urdu is that of Bidar poet Fakhruddin Nizami’s
mathnavi ‘Kadam Rao Padam Rao’ written between 1421 and 1434 A.D.
Kamal Khan Rustami (Khawar Nama) and Nusrati (Gulshan-e-Ishq, Ali
Nama and Tarikh-e-Iskandari) were two great poets of Bijapur.
Muhammed Quli Qutb Shah, the greatest of Golconda Kings who was a
distinguished poet, is credited with introducing a secular content to
otherwise predominantly religious Urdu poetry. His poetry focused on
love, nature and social life of the day.
Among the other important writers of Dakhni Urdu were Shah Miranji
Shamsul Ushaq (Khush Nama and Khush Naghz), Shah Burhanuddin Janam,
Mullah Wajhi (Qutb Mushtari and Sabras), Ghawasi (Saiful Mulook-O-
Badi-Ul-Jamal and Tuti Nama), Ibn-e-Nishati (Phul Ban) and Tabai
(Bhahram-O-Guldandam). Wajhi’s Sabras is considered to be a
masterpiece of great literary and philosophical merit. Vali Mohammed
or Vali Dakhni (Diwan) was one of the most prolific Dakhni poets of
the medieval period. He developed the form of the ghazal. When his
Diwan (Collection of Ghazals and other poetic genres) reached Delhi,
the poets of Delhi who were engaged in composing poetry in Persian
language, were much impressed and they also started writing poetry in
Urdu, which they named Rekhta.

The medieval Urdu poetry grew under the shadow of Persian poetry.
Unlike the Hindi poetry, which grew out of the Indian soil, Urdu
poetry was initially fed with Persian words and imagery. Sirajuddin
Ali Khan Arzu and Shaikh Sadullah Gulshan were the earliest promoters
of Urdu language in North India. By the beginning of the 18th century
a more sophisticated North Indian variation of the Urdu language
began to evolve through the writings of Shaikh Zahooruddin Hatim
(1699-1781 AD), Mirza Mazhar Jan-e-Janan (1699-1781 AD) Khwaja Mir
Dard (1719- 1785 AD), Mir Taqi Mir (1722-1810 AD), Mir Hasan (1727-
1786 AD) and Mohammed Rafi Sauda (1713-1780 AD). Sauda has been
described as the foremost satirist of Urdu literature during the 18th
Century. His Shahr Ashob and Qasida Tazheek-e-Rozgar are considered
as masterpieces of Urdu literature. Mir Hassan’s mathnavi Sihr-ul-
Bayan and Mir Taqi Mir’s mathnavies provided a distinct Indian touch
to the language. Mir’s works, apart from his six Diwans, include
Nikat-ush-Shora (Tazkira) and Zikr-se-Mir (Autobiography).

Shaik Ghulam Hamdani Mushafi (1750-1824), Insha Allah Khan (Darya-e-
Latafat and Rani Ketaki), Khwaja Haider Ali Atish, Daya Shankar
Naseem (mathnavi: Gulzare-e-Naseem), Nawab Mirza Shauq (Bahr-e-Ishq,
Zahr-e-Ishq and Lazzat-e-Ishq) and Shaik Imam Bakhsh Nasikh were the
early poets of Lucknow. Mir Babar Ali Anees (1802-1874) excelled in
the art of writing marsiyas.
The last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar was a poet with unique
style, typified by difficult rhymes, excessive word play and use of
idiomatic language. He has authored four voluminous Diwans. Before
the national uprising of 1857 the reign of Bahadur Shah Zafar
witnessed the luxurious spring of Urdu poetry immediately followed by
the chilly winds of autumn. Shaik Ibrahim Zauq was the Shah’s mentor
in poetry. Next to Sauda he is considered to be the most outstanding
composer of qasidas (panegyrics). Hakim Momin Khan Momin wrote
ghazals in a style peculiar to him. He used ghazal exclusively for
expressing emotions of love. Any description of Urdu literature can
never be complete without the mention of Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib
(1797-1869), who is considered as the greatest of all the Urdu poets.
With his passion for originality, Ghalib brought in a renaissance in
Urdu poetry. In the post – Ghalib period, Dagh (b. 1831) emerged as
a distinct poet, whose poetry was distinguished by its purity of
idiom and simplicity of language and thought.
Modern Urdu literature covers the time from the last quarter of the
19th century till the present day and can be divided into two
periods: the period of the Aligarh Movement started by Sir Sayyid
Ahmed Khan and the period influenced by Sir Mohammed Iqbal followed
by the Progressive movement and movements of Halqa-e-Arbab-e-Zouq,
Modernism and Post modernism. However, Altaf Hussain Hali (1837-1914)
is the actual innovator of the modern spirit in Urdu poetry. Hali’s
works include Diwan-e-Hali, Madd-o-Jazr-e-Islam or Musaddas-e-Hali
(1879), Shakwa-e-Hind (1887), Munajat-e-Beva (1886) and Chup ki Dad
(1905). Hali showered the art of writing biographies with a critical
approach in his biographies Hayat-e-Sadi and Hayat-e-Jaweed. Hali was
the pioneer of modern criticism.

His Muqaddama-e-Sher-o-Shaeri is the foundation stone of Urdu
criticism. Shibli Nomani (b.1857) is considered as the father of
modern history in Urdu. He has produced several works based on
historical research, especially on Islamic history, like Seerat-un-
Noman (1892) and Al Faruq (1899). Shibli also produced important
works like Swanih Umari Moulana Rum, Ilmul Kalam (1903), Muvazina-e-
Anis-o-Dabir (1907) and Sher-ul-Ajam (1899). Mohammed Hussain Azad
was an important writer and poet of this period. He laid the
foundation of modern poem in Urdu. Ab-e-Hayat, Sukhandan-e-Pars,
Darbar-e-Akbari and Nazm-e-Azad are some of his outstanding literary
works. Other leading poets of modern period include Syyid Akbar
Husain Akbar Allahabadi (1846-1921), who had a flair for extempore
composition of satiric and comic verses, Khushi Mohammed Nazir (1872-
1944), who composed Jogi and Pani Mein, Mohammed Iqbal (1873-1938),
Durga Sahai Suroor (d.1910), Mohammed Ali Jauhar (d.1931) and Hasrat
Mohani (d.1951). Iqbal’s poetry underwent several phases of evolution
from Romanticism (Nala-e-Yateem and Abr-e-Guhar Bar) to Indian
Nationalism (Tasvir-e-Dard, Naya Shivala and Tarana-e-Hindi) and
finally to Pan-Islamism (Shakva, Sham-o-Shair, Jawab-e-Shakva, Khizr-
e-Rah and Tulu-e-Islam). Fani Badayuni (1879-1941), Shad Azimabadi
(1846-1927), Yagana Changezi (1884-1956), Asghar Gondavi (1884-1936),
Jigar Moradabadi (1896-1982), Akhtar Shirani, Faiz Ahmed Faiz (1912-
1985), Miraji (1912-1950), N.M.Rashid (1910-1976), Akhtarul-Iman
(b.1915), Ali Sardar Jafri (b.1913), Makhdoom Mohiuddin (1908 -1969),
Kaifi Azmi (b.1918), Jan Nisar Akhtar (1914-1979), Sahir Ludhianvi
(1922-1980), Majrooh Sultanpuri (1919-2000), Asrarul Haq Majaz (1911-
1955), Nasir Kazmi, Ibn-e-Insha and Dr Kalim Ajiz have taken the Urdu
poetry to new heights.
A new generation of poets emerged around the sixth decade of
twentieth century. The leading poets of this generation include
Khaleelur Rahman Aazmi, Himyat Ali Shair, Balraj Komal, Ameeq Hanafi,
Kumar Pashi, Makhmoor Saidi, Mazhar Imam, Dr Mughni Tabassum, Bani,
Munir Niyazi, Suleman Areeb, Aziz Qaisi, Saqi Faruqi, Iftekhar Arif,
Saleem Ahmed, Qazi Saleem, Shafiq Fatima Shera, Bashar Nawaz, Akbar
Hyderabadi, Waheed Akhter, Shaz Tamkanat, Zubair Razvi, Muztar Majaz,
Mushaf Iqbal Tausifi, Zohra Nigah, Kishwar Naheed, Zahida Zaidi,
Siddiqua Shabnam and others.
The short story in Urdu began with Munshi Premchand’s Soz-e-Vatan
(1908). Premchand’s short stories cover nearly a dozen volumes
including Prem Pachisi, Prem Battisi, Prem Chalisi, Zad-e-Rah,
Vardaat, Akhri Tuhfa and Khak-e-Parvana. Mohammed Hussan Askari and
Khwaja Ahmed Abbas are counted among the leading lights of the Urdu
Short story. The Progressive Movement in Urdu fiction gained momentum
under Sajjad Zaheer (1905-1976), Ahmed Ali (1912-1994), Mahmood-uz-
Zafar (1908-1994) and Rasheed Jahan (1905-1952). Urdu writers like
Rajender Singh Bedi and Krishn Chander (1914-1977) showed commitment
to the Marxist philosophy in their writings. Krishn Chander’s Adhe
Ghante Ka Khuda is one of the most memorable stories in Urdu
literature. His other renowned short stories include Zindagi Ke Mor
Par, Kalu Bhangi and Mahalaxmi Ka Pul. Bedi’s Garm Kot and Lajvanti
are among the masterpieces of Urdu short story. Bedi’s important
works include collections of short stories, Dana-o-Daam Girhen, Kokh
Jali and Apne Dukh Mujhe Dedo etc., collection of plays “Saat Khel”
and a novel Ek Chadar Maili Si (1972). Manto, Ismat Chughtai and
Mumtaz Mufti form a different brand of Urdu writers who concentrated
on the “psychological story” in contrast to the “sociological story”
of Bedi and Krishn Chander. Some of Ismat Chughtai’s leading short
stories are Chauthi Ka Jora, Do Hath, Lehren and Lihaf. Manto dealt
in an artistic way with many unconventional subjects, like sex, which
were considered taboo by the Middle-class. His Thanda Gosht, which
dealt with the subject of necrophilia, shocked the readers. Another
of Manto’s praise-worthy works was Khol Do, which tackled the horrors
of partition. Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi (b.1915) is another leading name in
Urdu short story. His important short stories include Alhamd-o-
Lillah, Savab, Nasib and others. In the post-1936 period, the writers
belonging to the Halqa-e-Arbab-e-Zauq produced several good stories
in Urdu. Upender Nath Ashk (Dachi), Ghulam Abbas (Anandi). Intezar
Hussain, Anwar Sajjad, Balraj Mainra, Surender Parkash and Qurratul-
ain Haider (Sitaroun Se Aage, Mere Sanam Khane) are the other leading
lights of Urdu short story. Several leading fiction writers emerged
from the city of Hyderabad in the contemporary times, which include
Jeelani Bano, Iqbal Mateen, Awaz Sayeed, Kadeer Zaman, Mazhr-uz-Zaman
and others.
 
Novel writing in Urdu can be traced to Nazir Ahmed (1836 – 1912) who
composed several novels like Mirat-ul-Urus (1869), Banat-un-Nash
(1873), Taubat-un-Nasuh (1877), Fasana-e-Mubtala (1885), Ibn-ul-Waqt
(1888), Ayama (1891) and others. Pandit Ratan Nath Sarshar (1845 –
1903)’s Fasana-e-Azad, Abdul Halim Sharar (1860 – 1920)’s Badr-un-
Nisa Ki Musibat and Agha Sadiq ki Shadi, Mirza Muhammed Hadi Ruswa’s
Umrao Jan Ada (1899) are some of the great novels and novelettes
written during the period. Niaz Fatehpuri (1887 – 1966) and Qazi
Abdul Gaffar (1862-1956) were the other eminent early romantic
novelists in the language. However, it was Premchand (1880-1936) who
tried to introduce the trend of realism in Urdu novel. Premchand was
a prolific writer who produced several books. His important novels
include Bazare-e-Husn (1917), Gosha-e-Afiat, Chaugan-e-Hasti, Maidan-
e-Amal and Godan. Premchand’s realism was further strengthened by the
writers of the Indian Progressive Writers’ Association like Sajjad
Zaheer, Krishn Chander and Ismat Chughtai. Krishn Chander’s Jab Khet
Jage (1952), Ek Gadhe Ki Sarguzasht (1957) and Shikast are considered
among the outstanding novels in Urdu literature. Ismat Chughtai’s
novel Terhi Lakir (1947) and Qurratul-ain Haider’s novel Aag Ka Darya
are considered as important works in the history of Urdu novel.
Khwaja Ahmed Abbas, Aziz Ahmed, Balwant Singh, Khadija Mastur,
Intezar Hussain are the other important writers in Urdu in the
contemporary times.
Urdu was not confined to only the Muslim writers. Several writers
from other religions also wrote in Urdu. Prominent among them are
Munshi Premchand, Firaq Gorakhpuri, Pandit Ratan Nath Sarshar (Fasana-
e-Azad) and Brij Narain Chakbast (1882 – 1926), who composed Subh-e-
Watan and Tilok Chand Mahrum (1887-1966), who composed Andhi and Utra
Hua Darya, Krishn Chander, Rajindar Singh Bedi, Kanhaiyalal Kapur,
Upendar Nath Ashk, Jagan Nath Azad, Jogender Pal, Balraj Komal and
Kumar Pashi.
Akbar Allahabadi (1846-1921) was the pioneer among the Urdu humorists
and satirists. Majeed Lahori, Mehdi Ali Khan, Patras Bokhari (1898-
1958), Mirza Farhatullah Beg, Shafiq-ur-Rahman, Azim Baig Chughtai,
Ibn-e-Insha, Mushfiq Khwaja, Mushtaq Ahmed Yousifi, K.L.Kapur, Amjad
Hussain, Mujtaba Hussain, Himayatullah and Talib Khundmeri are the
other leading names in the
field of humour.
Prof. Hafiz Mohammed Sheerani (1888-1945) devoted long years to the
field of literary criticism. Others in this field include Shaikh
Mohammed Ikram (1907-1976), Sayyid Ihtesham Hussain (1912 – 1976),
Mohammed Hasan Askari, Ale-Ahmed Suroor, Mumtaz Husain, Masud Husain,
Shams-ur-Rahman Faruqi, Gopichand Narang, Mughni Tabassum (b.1930)
and others.
Farhang-e-Asifya is the first Urdu dictionary based on principles of
the modern lexicography, which was produced by Maulana Sayyid Ahmed
Dehlvi (1846-1920) in 1892.

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Responses

  1. Good work
    Lets disseminate more.
    Best wishes.

  2. Great post. It’ll take a while to read though.

  3. I am a Long Time Friend of Dr. Kalim Aziz and I have been written about in
    a book he wrote. I have not had a person in my life except for my husband who has effected me the way Kalim Bhai does. I have lost track
    of where he is of today. Whether he is back at his home in Patna or on tour
    in the USA. I would love to know where he is, if anyone knows please let
    me know. Thank You, Sincerely Susan Efa Dr. Kalim knows me by the Name Sophia

  4. please i want khushi muhammad nazir’s poem jogi
    would you send it to me on my mail id

  5. Dear Sir,

    i would like to have the book Jawamf Al Kalim in urdu
    where can i get it

    Expecting your soonest reply
    Regards
    Zia

  6. Dear Sir,
    i am also looking for kushi Muhammad Nazir Poem “Jogi”.If you have it then plz send it to me on my email id.

    Thnkx

  7. hi every1. below is the link of Khushi Muhammad Nazir’s poem “JOGI”, a masterpiece. i was also hungry4it too badly.
    njoy !
    (aapki ilmi pyaas aur tishnagi ki aasoodgi ka samaan)

    http://www.urdupoint.com/poetry/poem.php?author_id=328&book_id=421&poetry_id=6421&page=1&page1=08&searchKeywords=&typeofSearch=

  8. Really good search

  9. The poem Jogi by Khushi Muhammad Nazir has two parts – written about 30 years apart. Both the parts are here in Urdu scripts:
    http://www.prongs.org/urdu/poem.pdf.

    Also there was quite a long discussion on the poem on the group Alt.language.Urdu.poetry. The full poem in Roman script and the discussion are here:
    http://groups.google.com.au/group/alt.language.urdu.poetry/browse_thread/thread/65e59dad5f0e67d3/c7c9daf139471755

  10. This is a good history lesson. Thanks!

  11. Its a very nice account on urdu history

  12. sir, i want the novel “DACHI”, i dont know the writer’s name. plz send me this novel in urdu language at my ID, asifkamal_virgo@yahoo.com. i’ll be very thankfull sir.

  13. i think writer’s name of DACHI novel is Upender Nath Ashk. i need this novel sir. plz send it to my ID

  14. aap chheDen na wafa ka qissa
    baat men baat nikal aati hai
    https://rekhta.org/


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