Early 2021 saw the Aleph Book Company bring out a dark hued hardcover with a centrally placed Mughal motif in sandy gold. Raza Mir’s novel Murder at the Mushaira felt pleasantly hefty on store shelves.
The nicely produced volume looked rich and piqued curiosity. The excerpt at the back promised to be the forerunner of a seriously good read.
The author is a teacher of Management at an American University and has been a champion of Urdu. He has in the past, through his digests, regurgitated bits of poetry from Ghalib to the Progressive Writers Association. His target reader being both the yet to be initiated, as well as those of us who have over generations, forgotten the magnificence of the Urdu opus. In other words, most of the English reading world.
When armed with the potency of the Urdu canon and facing a target as broad as the one above, an author must guard against both ambition and laziness. As either or both can be his undoing.