When Jameel Akhtar took on the Herculean task of interviewing Qurratulain Hyder at length, her initial reaction was, ‘I don’t give interviews. I’m fed up with people. All those stupid boring questions, the same old stuff repeated over and over again, talking rot—No! No!’
For avid readers of Urdu who may not be its scholars, Urdu prose, especially,
genres such as short stories and novels mostly trigger the names of Prem Chand, Qurratulain Haider, Saadat Hasan Manto, Ismat Chughtai, Rajender Singh Bedi, Krishan Chandar and the like.
In his important essay, ‘The Task of the Translator’, German philosopher Walter Benjamin argues that the aim of translation is not to convey the literal meaning of the original, but rather to show how two languages are related to one another through their connection to a greater, imaginary language.
This is an endearing biography of Raghupati Sahay or ‘Firaq Gorakhpuri’ one of the great Urdu poets of the last century. Written by a close relative it is an admiring but not uncritical portrait of the poet and largely based on conversations with and personal diaries and letters of the poet’s other close relatives.
David J. Matthews’s translation of the Urdu and Persian verses by Iqbal opens up a world of ideas and events that Iqbal has witnessed/thought about in his works. The text of each poem included in this book is followed by a brief commentary to showcase the historical and the literary context.