KULDIP SALIL specializes in translating Urdu and Hindi poetry into English and vice-versa. He has won numerous awards, including the SahityaAkademi Award for his sensitive translation of eminent poets such as Mir, Ghalib, lqbal, Faiz and Ahmad Faraz. He has also published five volumes of his own poetry, four of which are ghazal collections. He has also published a collection of his own poems in English. His translation of Dewan-e-Ghalib received immense appreciation. He retired as Associate Professor of English, Hans Raj College, University of Delhi.
`Great Urdu Nazms' is a companion volume to 'Great Urdu Ghazals' and has been prompted by the reception that the latter got. Urdu can perhaps boast of more lovers of its poetry than any other Indian language. It has a couplet for every situation which like a verse from Kabir and Tulsidas or farther shore, from Shakespeare, can act as a clincher. This popularity of Urdu poetry is inspite of the fact that the number of people who can read and write Urdu is steadily declining. This problem is taken care of by Urdu poetry being increasingly published in Hindi and other languages.
While it is not true to say that complex subjects cannot be tackled in ghazal, it cannot be denied that some important Urdu poets have turned to the nazm for doing justice to subjects which demand exhaustive treatment. Iqbal, Faiz and Akhtar-ul-Iman — to name only three — are obvious examples. Before then, even Ghalib who is perhaps the greatest practitioner of the ghazal form, had felt the need of a genre which could give him scope more then ghazal did to express his thoughts. The present-day reality, what with industrialization and now globalisation, is indeed very complex. Accordingly, more and more poets have turned to nazm even though ghazal has in no way lost its sheen or sway. Nazm has a relatively short history. Though nazms were written earlier too — we have wonderful nazms by Nazir Akbarabadi and others — it is perhaps with Mohammad Iqbal that we see the full flowering of the genre in the early twenteeth century.
Translating poetry from one language into another is indeed very difficult. The Challenge here is the challenge of being faithful to the original and at the same time retaining at least some of its charm and beauty. It is not only the idea of the original that is to be conveyed, but its soul, its strength, its poignancy and sweetness and, if possible, its rhythm and resonance should also reach the reader. The task, however has not been so daunting for me because I have been for many years now translating poetry form Urdu and Hindi into English and vice-versa. Also, I have been writing poetry in English, and many of my poems have appeared in national dailies and journal. Although there is no hard and fast rule for it, it helps if the translator happens to be poet too.
For the present anthology, my thanks are first and foremost to Late Shri Prakash Pandit who was a great connoisseur of Urdu poetry and had personal relations with a number of important poets. He has made a wonderful selection, giving the widest possible representation. I have only updated and translated it. Needless to say, even now some important names have remained unrepresented. Thanks are also due to Shri 0. P. Sapra for his help in preparing the manuscript and reading the proofs. His help was most valuable indeed.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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