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.
Besides the nazm and the ghazal, rubais and qatas are popular forms of Urdu poetry. A rubai is a quatrain in a distinct and definite metre, while a qata can have more than four lines also. A good rubai or a qata compresses and conveys a wealth of meaning in a few lines. It acts as a clincher and sets the mood and helps establish a rapport with the audience. So, some poets at a mushaira (poetic symposium) begin with a rubai or a qata and often bring the house down. Like a doha (couplet) from Kabir or a couplet from Ghalib or a chaupai from Tulsidas, rubais and qatas and couplets are part of our everyday conversation and often prove handy in discussion and debate.
If life is a gale, man has for it quite a matching strength and will. After the highly encouraging response to my Great Urdu Ghazals' and Great Urdu Nazms, Great Urdu Rubais, Qatas and Couplets' seems to be a natural sequal. To the best of my knowledge, there does not exist one single volume of Urdu rubais, qatas and couplets in English translation. This book would therefore fill a vacuum. I have selected and translated great rubais and qatas from thirty poets and couplets from another fifty five.
I hope this anthology will be found enjoyable. I am aware that some important names have still been left out, and I regret it. Translating Urdu poetry into English and still making it read like good poetry is indeed a difficult task. The challenge here is the challenge of being faithful to the original and still retaining its beauty and charm. It is not only the idea of the original that is to be conveyed, but its soul and strength, its poignancy and sweetness and if possible its rhythm and resonance should also reach the readers. However, since I have translated so many Urdu and Hindi poets and published a volume of my own poems in English, the task has not been too daunting. Though there is no hard and fast rule, it helps if the translator happens to be a poet too. For the present anthology, I am grateful primarily to late Shri Prakash Pandit. His role in making Urdu poetry accessible to non-Urdu reading public is indeed unique. He has brought out anthologies not only of nazms and ghazals by various Urdu poets, but has selected their rubais and Batas too. Thanks are also due Shri 0. P. Sapra for valuable help in preparing the manuscript and reading the proofs. And lastly, I thank my publisher, Shri Shekhar Malhotra for his appreciation of my work.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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