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Bahadur Shah Zafar and His Contemporaries

Bahadur Shah Zafar and His Contemporaries


Item Code: IDJ762

by K.C. Kanda

Paperback (Edition: 2007)

Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd
ISBN 8120732863

Size: 8.4" X 5.4"
Pages: 425
Price: $32.50
Discounted: $24.38   Shipping Free
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About the Book

If the reign of Bahadur Shah Zafar was the time of the decay and decline of the Moghul empire, it was also the golden period of Urdu poetry. The court of Zafar was studded with several poetic jewels such as Ghalib, Zauq, Momin, Shefta and Azurda. And Zafar himself was a poet of ample merit, apart from being a patron of poets and a great patriot.

The book contains the best of the poetry of Zafar and his contemporaries, with their translations in English and transliterations in the Roman script. The transliteration is meant to help those readers who are not familiar with Urdu in the Persian script. The poems (mostly ghazals) have been carefully chosen and thoughtfully translated into simple and appropriate English. The translation is made in rhymed verse so as to retain the flavour of the original. It is a compendious anthology of the poetic masterpieces of the age of Zafar. It is hoped that the lovers of poetry will find the book both useful and delightful.

About the Author

K.C. Kanda holds a doctorate in English and a first-class first Master's degree in Urdu literature. It was this double competence in English and Urdu, and his life-long adoration of Urdu poetry, that prompted him to undertake the translation of the best of Urdu poetry into English. He is a recipient of the Delhi Urdu Academy Award for 'excellence in translation' in 1998. In the special area of translated Urdu poetry, this is his thirteenth title.


I have chosen to call this book, 'Bahadur Shah Zafar and his contemporaries', knowing full well that some of Zafar's contemporaries, Ghalib and Zauq, for well that some of Zafar's contemporaries, Ghalib and Zauq, for instance, are superior to his as poets, in the profundity of their thought, the subtlety of their insights, and in the execution of their craft. In fact, Zafar has been eclipsed by the strength and superiority of his contemporaries, and neglected because of the popular notion that much of Zafar's poetry was written by his poetic mentors such as Zauq and Shah Naseer. Nay, Zafar was an authentic poet, a patron of poets, and a promoter of the convention of mushaira. Moreover he was a symbol of the first war of Indian Independence and had suffered incarceration for the courage of rebellion. Sundered from his family and friends he had to suffer exile, and die in the alien city of Rangoon. Much of his poetry is a long lament for loss and suffering, both personal and general. Some of his lines have become an imperishable part of our literary heritage. Apart from highlighting the literary importance of the age of Zafar, this selection gives us an idea of the versatility, virtuosity, and catholicity of Zafar's mind and art. Reading his poetry, as such is a rich and rewarding experience. This book may also be regarded a means of recompense, though humble and small, for the poet's long and unjust neglect.

I am grateful to my friends, Dr. Gopi Chand Narang, Dr. J.S. Neki, and Mr. Parkash Chandra for giving me constant encouragement during the writing of this book. I am also thankful to Mr. S.K. Ghai, Managing Director, Sterling Publishers, for readily agreeing to publish this selection. Thanks are also due to my katib, Mr. Mohd Salim who has painstakingly typed out the Urdu text of these poems on his computer. Above all, I am beholden to my son, Dr. Arun Kanda, for typing out the manuscript on his computer, and helping me in sundry other ways.

1.Bahadur Shah Zafar (1775-1862)11
2.Mohammed Ibrahim Zauq (1788-1855)169
3.Mirza Ghalib (1797-1869)235
4.Momin Khan Momin (1801-1852)321
5.Mustafa Khan Shefta (1809-1869)383
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