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Monday, October 31, 2005

five best in urdu poets and fiction and non fiction writers

Revolutionary paths

A listing of the five best Urdu poets in Pakistan

Selection and text by Sarwat Ali

By the turn of the 19th century the debate revolved around the status of ghazal. More than a hundred years later the much talked about literary problem is still how to incorporate contemporaneity in the lyrical mood which is best represented by the ghazal.

The poet who resolved it to a degree is Faiz. He had experimented successfully in the pre partition years and his most mature expression was to emerge in the years after independence. The touch of taghazzul, imperfectly translated as melody, he never loses. Even in poetry of most harsh and inhospitable circumstance he retains it to establish continuity in poetical tradition despite the great changes that had taken place in the sensibilities and outlook.

His metaphors of subjective experiences are not different from an objective understanding of it. He followed the path trodden by poets in Persia and India inspired by the integrative vision of Wahtadul Wajood. If Hali wrote about the decline of the Muslim civilization, Iqbal exhorted that those basic values could be the source of regeneration of the qaum through his declamatory style that sounded almost an extension of some divine command. Faiz on the other hand is very subdued, almost on the other side of declamation, speaking with a voice dipped in honey.

Much has been written about Faiz's earlier work but very few have looked at his later poetry where the expectancy of a radical change does not lie in the order of things. Rather it is the undefeated hope that clings with each generation and becomes a legacy for the next. His later poetry, where hope seems to be deserting him, does not appear to be a radical break with his earlier work. The journey has the overall human dimension of quest which casts its shadows both in hope and hopelessness.

"Garde ayaam ki tahreer ko dhone ke liye,

Tum se goya hoon ghame deed jo mairee palkain,

Tum jo chaho to suno

Jo chaho na sono." (Koyee aashiq kisee mehbooba sey).

Noon Meem Rashid was Faiz's contemporary and they started their journey of experimentation with the formal structure of Urdu poetry together under the influence of Patras Bokhari. Rashid writes about subjects not really attempted before in Urdu poetry and creates a form that is faithful to free verse. He works very hard on his craft and it shows with new metaphor and strikingly novel imagery which is not found in Urdu poetry before him.

The range of Rashid's subjects is large and he creates a form appropriate to it in the process scrupulously avoiding lyricism that is the trademark of our poetical expression. He wrote against the grain of tradition and yet was acceptable to a large number of discerning readers. He is miles away from the spoken idiom and it seems that he is deliberately canceling it out, escaping from the cloyed expression that had come to characterize poetry in our part of the world.

"Jahan zaad niche gali main tere dar ke aage

Ye main sookhata sar Hasan kooza gar hoon,

tujhe subhe bazaar main boorhe attaar Yousaf ki dookan par main ne dekha.

Nasir Kazmi is generally regarded as the one poet who rehabilitated the ghazal. The age in which ghazal came into existence was very different from the time that Nasir Kazmi was writing in and in the meantime a whole phase of colonial rule had passed usually in denunciation of the ghazal. Nasir Kazmi found himself in the adopted country in a replay of the primal human situation of being placed in a totally alien environment.

There is a haunting quality, a pervasive sadness in his poetry that tells more than the sorrow of the moment and there is a spontaneity which all poets aspire to attain. He chose simple words and a simple metrical pattern and his poetry has that deceptive simplicity which only betrays the toil involved in burning the midnight oil.

"Main jab tere ghar pohncha tha,

To kahin bahar gaya huwa tha,

Tera ghar ke darwaze par,

Sooraj nange paoon khara tha."

Majeed Amjad enlarged the scope of Urdu poetry by writing about experiences which were considered inconsequential. The poetic persona is of the common man where the every day activities give him both pleasure and pain. This character was not considered to be appropriate to represent human experience but gradually Majeed Amjad made him come into the fold.

And then he crafted an appropriate expression for it. The lyricism is all gone and it is the weary rhythm of the footsteps of a clerk returning home or a lonely man taking a tonga ride. The nazm with new imagery and rhythmic patterns that fitted the mood and sensibility were strewed across the poetical landscape. His is poetry on matters once considered non poetical.

"Jin lafzon main hamare dilon ki bay'ateen hain,

Kya sirf woh lafz hamare kuch bhi na karne ka kaffara bun sakte hain

Kya kuch cheekhte ma'annon wali sattrain sahara bun sakti hain

Un ka, jin ki aankkoon main is des ki had in weeraan sehnon tak hai."

Munir Niazi is a poet who has a great deal of spontaneity in his expression. He writes basically about the ephemeral nature of experience, the experiences that have great worth and value but disappear soon, only to leave a memory behind. The central experience is that of love, but it is surrounded by attended fears and apprehension which are generated by a society antagonistic to this free flowering of passion and love. The conflict between the potential to love and the society enmity is the patent theme of his poetry.

Without overt ideological biases he captures the soul of an existence that has not seen the full realization of its potential. The imagery revolves round creepers that do not spread as they should and of a city which has dark houses huddled together rather than those full of laughter and life.

"Phehli baat he aakhari thi,

Uss say aage barhi nahin,

Daree hue ik bail thi jaisay

Pure ghar per charhi nahin."

The short listing of five poets is not a satisfying process of selecting the right few rather a painful one of having to leave out so many of the deserving. Great poetry has been written in India and it is almost criminal not to take any notice of that. Firaq Gorakhpuri and Majaz Lakhnavi have contributed so much to the development of the Urdu poetic idiom that it influenced the direction and many in Pakistan have drunk deep from it. Sahir Ludheanvi whose inverted use of the popular images and the spoken idiom captured the dreams of the common man.

In Pakistan Josh Malihabadi, too, greatly inspired generations of poets by his passionate personality and astonishing hyperbolic use of language. Ahmed Faraz made much of serious poetry available to a large number of readers. His simple progression from ghame janan to ghame dauraan appeals to younger people seeking answers in clear and straight terms.

Meera Ji died soon after independence and left an indelible mark of the subjective expression in free verse that was to become an accepted strand of Urdu poetry.

A tradition kept alive

The five best non-fiction books

Selection and text

by Kazy Javed

For some 20 long years, I remained under the spell of bibliomania and collected hundreds of books until my place turned into a bibliotheca making it impossible for me to take care of my haphazard collection. Eventually I was made to change my way -- from book collector I became a book presenter. In the circle of my acquaintances, I am now known as the one who is always willing to gift books to others. However, there are still many books I cannot bear to part with. Here I would like to mention only five of them. Written on non-fiction subjects, I admire them as important volumes on their respective subjects.


Our literary critics seldom write books. They usually write articles. So we have few books in Urdu on this subject while collections of articles proliferate. This is not without reason. The basic reason is that we don't have any notable tradition of critical studies in the arts or sciences. It all began in our corner of the globe in the 19th century under the European influence.

Dr. Wazir Agha is one of our very few writers who are recognised outside the country for their literary accomplishments. He writes poetry, light essays and criticism. Out of 40 odd books that he has to his credit, 14 are on criticism.

Urdu Shaiery Ka Mezaj is commonly taken as his piece de resistance. Published in the early years of the second half of the past century, it carries an in-depth analytical study of Urdu poetry in the backdrop of our region's civilisation spread over 5000 years.

However, it is Tanqeed aur Ehtasab which I like more among Dr. Wazir Agha's volumes on criticism. It is a collection of 24 articles and was first published in 1968 by Jadeed Nashreen of Lahore. Many of these articles have not lost their significance with the passage of time. They deal with theoretical as well as applied aspects of literature. Articles on the nature of ghazal, symbolism in poetry, culture and Urdu literature and recent social trends are fine pieces of theoretical criticism.


Autobiographies were not in vogue in Urdu till 1960s. In fact very few of them were published till then. It was believed that only those who had great and exemplary achievements in life should give an account of their life. Then Josh Malehabadi's Yadoon ki Barat appeared and became an instant hit. It was widely read and appreciated despite the fact that most of what was written militated against orthodox moral values and the author's life could hardly be accepted as an example for others under these values.

Yaadon ki Barat turned out to be a trend setter. It motivated many to write on their past. As a result, the number of autobiographies proliferated. A number of retired bureaucrats, generals, politicians, poets, writers and even showbiz people have by now published accounts of their lives during the last three decades or so. Many of these books make interesting reading but not many of them are reliable as literal truth.

Dr. Akhtar Hussain Raipuri's fascinating and vivid autobiographical narration titled Gird-e-Raah stands out prominently for a number of reasons. It is beautifully written and is reliable -- written like a novel, it remains factual.

Dr. Akhtar Hussain Raipuri's association with the progressive writers movement began in 1940s and he remained committed to the progressive, secular and socialist ideas till the very end. His literary fame depends on his critical essays. He also wrote fiction and translated Pearl S Buck's famous novel 'The Good Earth' into Urdu.

History of literature

A number of books have been written on the history of Urdu literature. Dr. Anwar Sadeed's Urdu Adab ki Mukhtasar Tarikh, published by the National Language Authority in 1991 and Dr. Salim Akhtar's Urdu Adab ki Mukhtsartareen Tarikh, the latest edition of which was recently issued by the Sang-e-Meel Publications of Lahore, are beyond doubt the two most popular books on this subject and have been reprinted many times. Both the books are primarily meant for students and general readers.

Dr. Tabasum Kashmeri's recently published history on Urdu literature titled Urdu Adab Ki Tarikh -- ibtada se 1857 tak -- is, on the other hand, academic but not pedantic. I prefer it to many other books on the same subject. It has been written in the backdrop of the evolutionary process of history. The author has made an effort to highlight the development of Urdu literature in the context of political, economic and social history of the South Asian subcontinent.

Another important feature of the book is that the author has kept in mind the distinction between the function of a historian of literature and that of a literary researcher. A historian, he writes in his preface to the book, is primarily supposed to evaluate the literary works of past generations whereas a researcher's job is to discover the works of bygone days and judge the facts, events and biographical details of the work. He also removes misunderstandings, misconceptions and ambiguities regarding past writers and their work. A historian of literature, on the other hand, has to be armed with a critical insight without which he cannot play his role properly.

Having taught at the University Oriental College of Lahore for some 15 years, Dr. Kashmeri now teaches Urdu language and literature at Japan's Osaka University of Foreign Studies. His 872-page book under discussion was published by the Sang-e-Meel Publications of Lahore in 2003. The second volume of the book is to be published next year.


Shakh-e-Zareen, in my opinion, is the best Urdu translation of any non-fiction work. It is a book on social anthropology written by Sir James George Frazer who was born in Glasgow in 1854. He graduated at Cambridge at the age of 24 and became a fellow of the famous Trinity College. His maiden book 'Totemism' was published in 1887 in one volume but later the author rewrote it adding many new chapters and issues. Finally it appeared in four volumes under the title 'Totemism and Exogamy' in 1910.

Shakh-e-Zareen is the title of the Urdu translation of Frazer's second famous book entitled 'The Golden Bough'. The book was first published in 1890 in two volumes. After a few years the author began to expand it. Its enlarged edition was brought out in 1911-14 in 12 volumes. In 1922 he published the abridged edition in two volumes. At that time, Frazer was professor of Social Anthropology at Liverpool.

It could be expected that only some of the professional anthropologists would have gone through the entire 12 volumes. But my friend Mustansar Hussain Tarar says that he has read the complete book while Younas Javed says that he has all the volumes. Anyway, the abridged edition became very popular all over the world and has been translated into some 20 languages. It was translated into Urdu by Syed Zakir Ijaz who has done a fine job at it. Syed Zakir Ijaz has put in a lot of effort to make it readable and easy to understand. It can be read as an interesting story. The Urdu translation was published in two big volumes by the Majlis-e-Taraqi-e-Adab, Lahore in 1960s. It was never reprinted and as far as I know, Syed Zakir Ijaz never translated any other book.


I am a great admirer of Intizar Hussain and have read all his books including his translation work. He is a prolific writer and during his writing career of over half a century, he has published four novels, seven collections of short stories, two travelogues, two collections of critical essays as well as one volume of his memoirs. He has translated three novels and a book on philosophy.

Dili tha Jis ka Naam is Intizar Hussain's latest work which was published by Sang-e-Meel Publications a few months ago. It is an excellent book on Delhi, the city that has been the melting pot of Indo-Muslim culture and the author has narrated the socio-cultural history of the city. In fact, rather than a lesson in history, the book is a tale of the city written in the author's typical style.

He begins with a short account of Indraprastha, the first name of Delhi that was founded by a son of Ramachandra, the seventh incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu and hero of the Ramayana, (Legend has it that his two other sons founded the cities of Lahore and Kasur). The 200-plus page book ends with the partition of India in 1947.

According to the book there have been eight cities of Delhi that were sometimes built one upon the other and sometimes one besides the other. However, the author is more interested in detailing various aspects of a Indo-Muslim culture that developed as a result of the interaction between the two great Hindu and Muslim civilizations.

I like the book not only because it is the latest specimen of the wonderful 'Intizarian' style of writing, but also because it provides us with glimpses of an exceptional culture that Hindu and Muslim fundamentalist forces are bent upon devastating.

I have not included any book on philosophy in my list, simply because there is hardly any worthwhile book on the subject in Urdu. The following two books, useful for beginners, can be referred to:

1. Falsafa-e-Jadeed kay Khudokhal, edited by Prof. Khawaja Ghulam Sadiq and published by the Department of Philosophy, University of the Punjab, Lahore; and

2. CEM Jood's 'An Introduction of Philosophy', translated into Urdu and published by the Majlis Taraqi-e-Urdu, Lahore.

On history of Urdu literature, Dr. Jamil Talbi's Tareekh-e-Urdu Adab, published by the Majlis Taraqi-e-Adab, is very important. Ehtsham Hussain's Urdu Adab ki Tanqeedi Tareekh and Tareekh-e-Adabyat-e-Muslmanan-e-Pak-o-Hind published in five volumes by Punjab University are notable books on the subject.

If more space had been available, I would have written a few words about three other autobiographies, including Dr. Mubarak Ali's Dur Dur Thokar Khay published by Fiction House Lahore, Khudo Khal by Agha Nasir, published by Sang-e-Meel Publications, Lahore and Ghubar-e-Khatir by Hasan Nawaz Gerdezi published by New Line, Lahore.

Two remarkably exciting autobiographies are being serialised in magazines. Ashfaq Naqvi is writing an absorbingly interesting story of his life in the monthly Alhamra while Dr. Agha Sohail is contributing the account of his life to Taqazay.

The story so far

The five best short stories

Selection by Sarwat Ali and Kazy Javed

Beginning with the master craftsman, Saadat Hasan Manto. He was not only a rebel with the ordinary tales to tell, but also someone who wrote perhaps the most powerful stories on the momentous event of partition. Manto's Toba Tek Singh would certainly rank with the best short stories written in Urdu, as will many of his other works.

Urdu short story initially was all about sometimes steady and sometimes abrupt approach to a powerful ending, the conclusion, the result of a few minutes' reading, which more often than not was accompanied by a moral lesson for the vulnerable human lot.

Next came stories where the writer would drop the more discerning reader the vital hints on the way to sustain his interest, at the same time keeping the overall account simple for the uninitiated reader. It was a most difficult task, since the thrust, as with all proceedings in their initial phase, was to first create an audience, before any experimentation could be carried out with form and content.

This objective of enlisting the readers had in its background a culture where directness was shunned in favour of more subtle references, giving the Urdu short story its mizaaj or its ethos. Prem Chand's Kafan is an example where the writer gradually nurses the reader towards an ever haunting ending to a short story. Bereft of any embellishment, it is a simple story in a very positive sense of the term. And it is brief.

Afsana may connote an account from the heart spread over time. But the word 'short' aptly describes a majority of Urdu stories written on either side of partition. Perhaps whenever the writer thought that it was getting longer than the standard length, he would opt for the novel format.

Toba Tek Singh would appear to many to have the material to last a novel. But Manto had so much to say and so short a time to tell it. Already enjoying the reputation of a shocker, he could perhaps hardly resist the temptation to quickly exploit the idea partition had thrown up in its wake. What he delivered was a stunner -- his caustic wit finding a strong and extremely effective -- for Manto always strived to be effective -- expression the person of a mad man who is caught between the states of India and Pakistan.

Partition provided the basis of some other stories by Manto, among them Thanda Gosht, which again has brevity as its soul, and also the slickly related but perhaps less famous Mootri. And it inspired another skilled story-teller with greater patience and time than Manto to come up with his masterpiece, Gadarya.

Ashfaq Ahmad is one of the most prolific writers of Urdu. But Gadarya is actually the entry point into the large awe-creating empire that he has built over the years. Not without its subtleties, it caters to a wider readership than has been the case with the latter work by Ashfaq Ahmad, where the writer appears to be willing to sacrifice the number of readers for a deeper plunge in the sea of stories.

Gadarya is longer than the usual length people used to reading Manto, Prem Chand or even Rajinder Singh Bedi would look for. The writer shows no intention of rushing to the conclusion, and is able to prove that the Urdu short story had matured enough to permit a slightly longer tale to be told, and the readers were ready for details that may have been previously left out in the thrust for climax.

In time, everyone realised the futility of writing the formula story. As the desire to invent and innovate grew stronger, more and more story-tellers were able to break rules imposed on them by the supposed need to cater to a wider readership.

Intizar Hussain may be more famous for his novels, but the acclaim his Aakhri Aadmi received signified that you can never underestimate the people's capacity to absorb new experiments in addition to the evergreen variety -- so long as there is something in it to stir the readers imagination. Intizar's description of the man has been included in many of best of the pack ratings. It is no small feat, considering that the most insightful of critics struggle to come out of the spell cast on readers by the short stories before partition, and those written just after partition.

Compared to the Urdu novel which doesn't boast too many entries, there is a treasure-trove of short stories available for any kind of selection that is attempted. Reducing it to the minimum of five stories is well neigh impossible and bound to generate controversy.

The short stories written before partition, and stories written in India may form a significant part of a collection listing all time greats. Krishan Chandar, Ismat Chughtai, Ghulam Abbas, Qurat-ul-Ain Haider, Qudratullah Shahab, Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi, Abdullah Hussain, Khalida Hussain, Bano Qudsia, Mumtaz Mufti, Mansha Yaad and Mazharul Islam are but a few names that can easily walk into any such company.

Apart from Manto's stories. Ashfaq Ahmad's Gadarya and Intizar Hussain's Aaakhri Aaadmi, two of the regulars featuring the various selections of stories made so far are Ghulam Abbas and Mumtaz Mufti with his Aapa.

Aapa, has a simmering quality about it, somehow reminiscent of Rajinder Singh Bedi's Apne Dukh Mujhe De Do. It is a story everyone will readily associate with. It most probably owes its popularity to this factor, and also to the fact that the writer has opted for symbols that a common reader can easily relate to, in an apparent effort to communicate to a wider section of people. The same symbols have been applied by other writers before and after Mufti, but few characters have been able to carry the story forward with as much poise and grace, and few have commanded as much respect as his Aapa has done.

Respect from the people around him is all the 'well-dressed' man in Ghulam Abbas's Overcoat is looking for. He had to settle for immortality. Overcoat is not rated as the best story told by Ghulam Abbas by many, who select Anandi as his most representative work. But while the choice may differ from person to person, it doesn't matter so much where you begin reading and re-reading Ghulam Abbas, so long as you read him, nice and thorough. Overcoat, in the final comparison, is a good a specimen of brilliant characterization as any in the realm of Urdu short story -- in layers down to the bones.

In the long run

The five best Urdu novels

Selection and text by Sarwat Ali

The Urdu novel has a relatively short history compared to other genres of literature. Its antecedents though are quite impressive and go back into the medieval age to the dastaans and romances in Persian and Sanskrit along with numerous dialects that filled the artistic landscape of the region.

In the post independence era the Urdu novel that really shook the literary world is Qurat-ul-Ain Haider's Aag Ka Darya. Its sweep is very broad as it travels through significant phases of the North Indian civilisation. It also goes back into prehistory to trace the source of the river of historical consciousness from the perennial reservoir of mythology. The same characters make an appearance but under different names and in different phases of civilisation emphasising the symbiotic relationship of change and continuity.

The most impressive part of the novel is the ancient period where Gotham Neelumbur and Champak explore the various facets of their relationship in the perspective of the intellectual ethos of the times. The characters in the novel are from the upper crust of the society educated and involved in a world bigger than are 'dreamt of in Horatio's philosophy'. The female characters belong to the mainstream social order and are not courtesans as had been the trend till then. The novel for once does not have a didactic intent and this too was a departure from the tendency to package the novel in a moral wrapping.

The novel instantly became controversial because it was being seen in the context of the divide that had taken place in the subcontinent. Many in Pakistan were of the opinion that it goes against the ideological basis on which the division of South Asia had taken place.

Udaas Naslain, too, follows the format of Aag ka Darya only that its sweep is not that broad, nor does it go back to explore the mysteries of ancient times. It spans nearly one hundred years of our history beginning in earnest from the occupation of India by the British and its formal colonization. The novel is primarily about the new relationships that emerged in the social set up due to that domination, as colonization of India saw a revolution in the political and social make up of the country. Other than the sub plots and parallel situations based on minor characters, the relationship and marriage of Naeem and Azra, he as a small farmer who wins laurels in the army during the First World War, and she as the daughter of the newly created class of feudals, captures the dynamism of the social relationships.

If Aag ka Darya is about the collective consciousness that has moulded our character Udaas Naslain is the build up to the various types of characters that the forces of our recent history have thrown up.

Intizar Hussain has been the leading short story writer in Urdu. Some of his earlier stories carried so much of his childhood and the formative years that many started to accuse him of looking backwards and glorifying the past. But Intizar Hussain is more than what nostalgia can spin and some of his writings; particularly his novels, have been more overt about the present rather than the past.

Basti, his famous novel written at the time when Pakistan was being dismembered, is about the homeland which came into being in 1947 and it revolves round a symbolic settlement where the residents are not sure as to why they are there. Intizar Hussain has made full use of the myths and legends that formed part of our romances and dastaans and takes the narrative beyond the obvious meanings of realism. His present always has imminence of the past.

The Urdu that he employs is idiomatic, reminiscent of the language spoken in the place that he was born in and stands apart from the cacophony of dialects and accents that were struggling to find acceptance in Pakistan. The difference in complexion between the language that he wrote and the language generally written in Pakistan established the two poles within which the development of language took place.

Shaukat Siddiqui has taken realism in its most stark form. The subject of his novel Khuda Ki Basti is the wretched of the earth eking out an existence. The locale too is that of a kachi abadi where the characters have precious little other than love and compassion for each other. It is a mixture of the animal instincts for survival coated by compassion.

The kachi abadi itself assumes a symbolic status and the survival of the characters is very tough, where wit and gut often come to the rescue. It is like a jungle where the mightiest survive and totally eliminate the poor and the weak but then the flashes of love and sympathy provide some light no matter how dim.

Shaukat Siddiqui follows the school of realism which was best expressed in our short story. Some of the best works of realism, stark, dark and naked is found in the afsanas and when stretched it becomes Khudi Ki Basti, a rare achievement, for he loses no intensity while writing the longer version.

Following the same tradition is Chakiwara Main Wisaal. This novel also is located in an abadi, Chakiwara, and has the same types of characters as in other realistic works. Only the writer, Muhammed Khalid Akhter, is much more concise and draws his characters and situations with precision as done in a short story.

His characters are from the lower strata of the society, yet not at the base level of the wretched of the earth. They live by their dreams; these dreams are their safety valves, their escape from their mundane existence. The novelist very skillfully has weaved these into the aspirations of the characters and it fills their ordinary existence with longing and hope.

Qurat-ul-Ain Haider's Akhar Shab Ke Hamsafar unlike Aag Ka Darya has a smaller canvas and traces the lives of the characters associated with the freedom struggle. Despite their sincere efforts, not much comes of it, and the end is a defeatist compromise with the forces that they had once opposed.

Mustansar Hussain Tarar is a prolific writer who has written travelogues but some of his better work is in fiction. The novels are loosely constructed with the narrative often losing their way but in Bahao he is more precise and builds his plot with great care. The locale, too, is not urban but rural. The problem in such cases is always of language as the native dialects cannot be used with authenticity by someone writing in Urdu. Mustansar Hussain Tarar has been able to incorporate the regional rural idiom into Urdu to create that authenticity of locale and characters.

Ali Pur Ka Aeli by Mumtaz Mufti is written in the picaresque tradition. It exposes a whole lot of society through the eyes and experiences of the main character. Mumtaz Mufti has not made his character harmless and neutral, but full of libidinal charge exposing the shades of hypocrisies and human foibles in the process.


Blogger zain khan said...

thi aricle is too legnthly. this should be just 100-150 words.

May 29, 2010 2:14 PM  
Blogger Talat Afroze said...

December 31st, 2010
It was fascinating to read Sarwat Ali's blog posted on Temporal's Baithak. Sarwat Ali was very concise, to the point and quite lucid in his presentation which is rare for people writing on such a topic. I enjoyed it thoroughly.
I have myself just launched my own literary web site ( dedicated to modern Urdu poetry. I would just like to say that my own, personal choice of top 5 Urdu poets would be Majeed Amjad, Muneer Niazi, Sarmad Sehbai, Fehmeeda Riyaz and Nasir Kazmi... in other words I agree with THREE of Sarwat's five choices!
Well done Baithak and Bravo! Sarwat for presenting a unique and very insightful perspective on modern Urdu poetry.
I loved it thoroughly! Khush Raho!
Khair Andaish,
Talat Afroze.

December 31, 2010 7:55 PM  

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