Stories about Urdu poetry

137th birthday: What Allama Iqbal’s poetry has taught me so far

“Maqsood-e-hunar soz-e-hayat-e-abdi hai Ye ik nafas ya do nafas, misl-e-sharar kia” -Iqbal (The real aim of any form of art should be to develop the longing for an ultimate life. It’s not art if all it does is to spark the feelings for a moment or two and then subside – Iqbal) Iqbal’s poetry, beyond doubt, goes in line with the above definition of art (hunar). Though I am just beginning to discover Iqbal myself, it is indisputable that his poetry has proven to be a truly transforming force. Some of his verses had an unprecedented and enlightening impact on me, helping me become ...

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Urdu and I: A love affair

In grade six, I handwrote Ibne Insha’s “Kal Chaudvin Ki Raat Thee” and gave it to a girl I firmly believed to be my soul mate. Her lack of enthusiasm at replying with an equally moving ghazal (or even replying at all) dismayed me so I delved further into Urdu literature than I had ever before. “What was a grade six student doing reading Ibne Insha?” I hear you ask. To put matters in perspective, I had grown up in a house full of books. I carried my Famous Five right next to Inspector Jamshed and His Gang. Books on ...

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Faiz Ahmed, PhD?

One wish Faiz was not granted was a PhD. Faiz Shinasi by Abdur Rauf Malik has the details. New books on Faiz keep appearing. When Iftikhar Arif published a voluminous tome before leaving the National Language Authority, I thought the collection of essays should suffice for one wanting to know Faiz. But then books on Faiz followed in quick session. Finally, after Dr Taqi Abidi’s illuminating Faiz Fehmi I decided that I needed to read none of the books that might follow. But there are still three months to go in Faiz Year and the books keep getting published. Malik’s book, it was claimed, sheds ...

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