This pathbreaking work raises several new questions about Urdu literary culture and traces the origins and development of Urdu literary thought from circa 1300 to 1850. Not only does it challenge a number of established myths built around this theme over the past 200 years, but also destroys the myth of Delhi's hegemonic role in the development of Urdu literature. For instance, it successfully questions the notion that Urdu developed as a result of the interaction between Muslim 'invading armies' and the local populace, giving instead due credit to Gujarat, the Deccan, and other areas where Urdu literature developed earlier than in Delhi. In doing so, it restates the Urdu literary canon and puts in their proper place all the groups which had been marginalized by earlier historians.
This book also presents solutions to certain problems which have evaded resolution so far. For example, why did the Ustad-Shagird institution develop in Delhi in the eighteenth century, and not elsewhere at another time? How did the language, whose original names were Hindi, Hindvi, Gujri, Rekhta, and Dakani at various times and places, come to be known as Urdu from around the second half of the eighteenth century?
As an important intervention in the debate on issues relating to the origin and development of Urdu and modern Hindi, this book firmly places the two languages in the Indian context as vital components of the Indian creative mind.
This book will be of value to scholars of modern Indian History, Urdu and Persian literature and literary culture. Students of Indian literature, especially modern Hindi literature, social history and postcolonial literary theory will also find it a useful work.
About the Author:
Shamsur Rahman Faruqi is presently Adjunct Professor, South Asia Regional Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Besides being a full time writer and editor, Faruqi has held the Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan Chair in the Faculty of Humanities at the Jamia Millia University, New Delhi. He has lectured, or given courses, at a large number of universities and institutions in India and abroad. He is an internationally known writer in Urdu. Critic, theorist, poet, editor, lexicographer, translator and fiction writer, Faruqi is widely regarded as the main theorist of Modernism and pre-modern literary thought in Urdu, and is today one of India's leading literary critics. For many years, he was a civil servant in the Indian Post Office and other Departments of the Government of India. He lives in Allahabad.
A Note on Transliteration
Chapter One: History, Faith, Politics: Origin Myths of Urdu and Hindi
Chapter Two: Remarking History, Refashioning Culture
Chapter Three: Beginning, Then Going Away from Home
Chapter Four: The Birth of Literary Theory
Chapter Five: A True Beginning in the North
Chapter Six: A Phenomenon Called Vali
Chapter Seven: The 'New' Literary Culture
Index of Names
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