The All India Progressive Writers’ Movement (AIPWM) has engendered much interest among scholars and academics. Most histories and critical estimations of Urdu literature dwell on the radicalization it brought about. Carlo Coppola’s Urdu Poetry, 1935–1970: The Progressive Episode is perhaps the most comprehensive, systematic, and organized account of the socio-political, cultural and literary network that constituted the movement—the formation of the All India Progressive Writers’ Association (AIPWA), the official organization that sponsored the revitalization of subcontinental literature, particularly Urdu literature converting it from an escapist, romantic, bourgeois activity, to a realistic means of mass contact, with humanistic intent. For those familiar with Coppola’s studies, this is an elaboration, corroboration and an updation of his previous investigations. Building on criticism, interviews, meetings, correspondence and biographies—a lifetime of research, as well as a wealth of supplementary readings, Coppola emerges as a historian, providing a detailed account of the formation, the thrust and pull, the decline of the organization, efforts at resuscitation and even reinvention.
October 2017, volume 41, No XLI