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Nad̲h̲īr Aḥmad Dihlawī

(920 words)

Author(s): Haywood, J.A.
(Mawlwi/Deputy) (1836-1912), Urdu prose writer, is often described as “the first real novelist” in the language. But this description presupposes that by “novels” we mean fiction dealing with contemporary social themes, more or less following Western models (for fiction prior to Nad̲h̲īr Aḥmad, and that on other themes, see Ḳiṣṣa 5. In Urdu. The same article provides information on five of Nad̲h̲īr Aḥmad’s novels). He was born in a village of Bid̲j̲nawr district, not far from Dihlī, of an impoverished and improvident father, who also tried to prevent him fro…

Āg̲h̲ā Ḥas̲h̲ar Kas̲h̲mīrī

(486 words)

Author(s): Haywood, J. A.
(1879-1935), the ¶ best-known Urdu dramatist. His actual name was Āg̲h̲ā Muḥammad S̲h̲ah and Ḥas̲h̲ar his tak̲h̲alluṣ , while his nisba alludes to the country of origin of his father. The latter came from Kas̲h̲mīr, and settled in Benares as a merchant. Here Āg̲h̲ā Ḥas̲h̲ar was born and educated, until in 1897 he ran away from home and made for Bombay. He feared his father’s wrath for his misuse of money entrusted to him; and his appetite for die new Urdu drama form, which was flourishing in B…


(737 words)

Author(s): Haywood, J.A.
, Mirzā Muḥammad Rafīʿ (1125-1195/1713-1781), a highly esteemed Urdu poet, was born in Dihlī. His father came from a military family of Kābul, and he settled in Dihlī, where he became a wealthy merchant. The future poet was a spendthrift in his youth, and after his father’s death he soon disposed of his inheritance by riotous living. After a spell of soldiering, he turned to a poetical career, adopting the tak̲h̲alluṣ of Sawdā (Ar. “melancholy, madness”), an apt name in an age when poets concentrated on g̲h̲azal . Perhaps it was also a pun on Persian sawda (“trade”), …


(31,037 words)

Author(s): Landau, J.M. | Bencheneb, R. | And, Metin | Bruijn, J.T.P. de | Allworth, E. | Et al.
(a.), “scene”, increasingly employed as “theatre” (in the same sense as “Bühne” in German); frequently synonymous with tiyātrō (from the Italian). 1. In the Arab East. Primarily an artistic and literary phenomenon of the last two centuries, the Arab theatre has its roots in local performances of passion plays [see taʿziya ], marionette and shadow plays [see ḳaragöz ], mimicry and other popular farces, and was affected by the then contemporary (rather than the classical) foreign theatre as well. Although some popular open-air plays…

Prēm Čand

(1,196 words)

Author(s): Haywood, J.A.
(1880-1936), Indian writer of fiction in Urdu/Hindi, best known for his short stories, ¶ which gained him wide recognition as a pioneer of the genre. During his lifetime, and a hundred years previously, apart from English the official language of the British Government of India was often called Hindūstānī. It was usually written in Persian-style script by and for Muslims, and in Dēvanāgarī script by and for Hindus. The former type, when used as a literary language, was also referred to as Urdū (“the language of the army camp, urdū [see ordo ]) and the latter type as Hindī (formerly Hin…


(1,205 words)

Author(s): Haywood, J.A.
(Mōmin), Ḥakīm Muḥammad K̲h̲ān (1215-68/1800-51), Urdu poet, was born into a noble Kās̲h̲mīrī family noted for its distinguished physicians. As such, his father Ḥākim G̲h̲ulām Nabī was persona grata at the Mug̲h̲al court. The family had been granted a d̲j̲āgīr [ q.v.] which was subsequently appropriated by the East India Company in exchange for a substantial pension. In due course, the poet had a share of it, and he never needed to work for a living. This background of financial independence and social status should be borne in mind in judging Muʾmin as both a man and a poet. After sowing his…

Malik Muḥammad D̲j̲āyasī

(722 words)

Author(s): Haywood, J.A.
( D̲j̲āysī/D̲j̲aysī ) (?900/1493 to?949/1542), Indian Ṣūfīand poet, was born at D̲j̲āyas (D̲j̲ays) in Awadh [ q.v.] and died at nearby Amēthī. Educated locally, he became a disciple of the Čis̲h̲tī S̲h̲ayk̲h̲ Muḥyī ’l-Dīn. He had Hindu as well as Muslim teachers, and showed a religious tolerance which some ascribe to the influence of Kabīr. He wrote poetry in Awadhī, a form of Eastern Hindī, including two fairly short religious poems, one of which, Āk̲h̲irī kalām , is on the Day of Judgement. But he is famed chiefly for his Padumāvat , a narrative and descriptive…


(499 words)

Author(s): Haywood, J. A.
, mīr bābar ʿalī (1217-91/1802-74), Urdu poet, was born in Fayḍābād (Fyzabad) [ q.v.] into a family which had produced five generations of poets. Some of these, including his father K̲h̲āliḳ, wrote the characteristically Indian type of mart̲h̲iya which thrived at public recitals in Lucknow, capital of the S̲h̲īʿī Nawābs of Oudh. This type, which may have originated in the Deccan, was devoted to the martyrdom of al-Ḥusayn b. ʿAlī at Karbalāʾ (61/680). Anīs moved to Lucknow as a young man, and devoted his life to writing poetry, especially marāt̲h̲ī . He became th…


(491 words)

Author(s): Haywood, J.A.
, Sayyid Muḥammad Mīr (1133-1213/1720-98), Urdu poet, was born in Dihli. His father was descended from a Gud̲j̲arātī saint, but the family originally hailed from Buk̲h̲ārā. The poet had the broad education and training typical of the noble classes. He was an excellent archer and horseman, and generally skilled in the martial arts and noted for his physical strength. He was an expert calligrapher, and excelled in all the seven different types of ornamental writing. After a licentious youth, he became a dervish. As a writer, whilst a number of tad̲h̲kira authors r…


(1,307 words)

Author(s): Haywood, J.A.
, S̲h̲ayk̲h̲ G̲h̲ulām Hamdānī (1164-1240/1750-1824), a leading Urdu poet, was born at Amrōha ca. 60 miles east of Dihlī, the son of a highly respected man of modest means. He grew up proud, independent and honest, and quickly acquired a fluent command of Urdu and Persian, both poetry and prose. His ambition to become an Urdu poet took him to Dihlī in order to complete his studies: but he failed to find a patron and was driven by poverty, it is said, to eke out a living in commerce. After trying his fortunes elsewhere, he re…


(24,795 words)

Author(s): Pellat, Ch. | Vial, Ch. | Flemming, B. | İz, Fahīr | Elwell-Sutton, L.P. | Et al.
(a.), pl. ḳiṣaṣ , the term which, after a long evolution, is now generally employed in Arabic for the novel, whilst its diminutive uḳṣūṣa , pl. aḳāṣīṣ , has sometimes been adopted, notably by Maḥmūd Taymūr [ q.v.] as the equivalent of “novella, short story”, before being ineptly replaced by a calque from the English “short story”, ḳiṣṣa ḳaṣīra . The sections of the following article are largely devoted to these literary genres as they are cultivated in the various Islamic literatures, even if the word ḳiṣṣa is not itself used by them. Although some Berber tongues use the Arabic term ( Iḳiṣṣt


(532 words)

Author(s): Haywood, J.A.
, Taṣadduḳ Ḥusayn (Nawwāb Mīrzā), Urdu poet (?-1871). He came from a family of physicians, and his paternal uncle, Mīrzā ʿAlī K̲h̲ān, was a distinguished medical officer in Lucknow at the court of the Nawwābs of Oudh (Awadh); S̲h̲awḳ himself was well educated, not only in medicine, but also in arts and sciences. He owed his skill in poetry to the guidance of Ātis̲h̲ [ q.v.]. He achieved for his mat̲h̲nawīs considerable fame in his lifetime, especially in Lucknow, and even discerning critics like Alṭāf Ḥusayn Ḥālī acknowledge his merits (in his Muḳaddima-yi s̲h̲iʿr-ō-s̲h̲āʿirī


(692 words)

Author(s): Haywood, J. A.
, k̲h̲wād̲j̲a ḥaydar ʿalī (d. 1263/1847), Urdu poet, was born in Faizabad (Fayḍābād [ q.v.]) probably around 1191/1778, according to A.L. Ṣiddīḳī (see Bibl ., below). His ancestors are said to have originated in Bag̲h̲dād, whence they came to Dihlī. His father moved from there to Fayḍābād and died during the poet’s youth. As a result, Ātis̲h̲’s formal education was curtailed, though he supplemented it by avid reading. In early manhood, he led the life of a fop and a roué, and carried a sword. But …


(14,502 words)

Author(s): Sellheim, R. | Wickens, G.M. | Boratav, P.N. | Haywood, J.A. | Knappert, J.
(a., pl. amt̲h̲āl ) proverb, popular saying, derives—similarly to Aram, mat̲h̲lā , Hebr. mās̲h̲āl and Ethiop. mesl , mesālē —from the common Semitic root for “sameness, equality, likeness, equivalent” (cf. Akkad. mas̲h̲ālum “equality”, mis̲h̲lum “half”). In Arabic, to create a proverb is fa-arsala( t) , or d̲j̲aʿala ( t) hu mat̲h̲al an, fa-ḍaraba ( t) bihi ’l-mat̲h̲al a; to become proverbial is ḍuriba bihi ’l-mat̲h̲alu , mat̲h̲al un yuḍrabu fa-d̲h̲ahaba ( t), or d̲j̲arā / d̲j̲arat mat̲h̲al an, or, simply, fa-ṣāra mat̲h̲al an. 1. In Arabic i. Definition ii. Arabic proverbs (1) Earlie…


(594 words)

Author(s): Haywood, J.A.
, Mīrzā Rad̲j̲ab ʿAlī Bēg ( ca. 1787-1867) early writer of Urdu fiction, born in Lucknow, for which city he retained great affection all his life. ¶ He was well educated, noted for his command of Arabic and Persian, as well as Urdu, and excelled in calligraphy. He was also an expert musician. He was trained in poetry by a pupil of Sūz [ q.v.], Nawāzis̲h̲. He was a friend of the poet G̲h̲ālib [ q.v.], who regarded him as the leading, Urdu prose writer of his age. Apparently, Surūr fell foul of the Nawwāb of Lucknow G̲h̲āzī al-Dīn Ḥaydar S̲h̲āh, and had to leave for Cawn…


(12,364 words)

Author(s): Pellat, Ch. | Hanaway, W. L. | Flemming, B. | Haywood, J.A. | Knappert, J.
or mart̲h̲āt (A., pl. marāt̲h̲ī ) “elegy”, a poem composed in Arabic (or in an Islamic language following the Arabic tradition) to lament the passing of a beloved person and to celebrate his ¶ merits; rit̲h̲āʾ , from the same root, denotes both lamentation and the corresponding literary genre. 1. In Arabic literature. The origin of the mart̲h̲iya may be found in the rhymed and rhythmic laments going with the ritual movements performed as a ritual around the funeral cortège by female relatives of the deceased, before this role bec…


(388 words)

Author(s): Haywood, J.A.
, Mīrzā Ḏj̲ānd̲j̲ānān (1111-95/1700-81), an Urdu poet and eminent Ṣūfī, was born in Tālābāg̲h̲, Mālwā. He was received into the Naḳs̲h̲abandī order by Sayyid Mīr Muḥammad Badāʾūnī, and into the Ḳādirī order by Muḥammad ʿĀbid Sumāmī. He was shot in Dilhī by a S̲h̲īʿī fanatic in revenge for his critical remarks about the Muḥarram celebrations, but though he survived three days, he refused to identify his assailant to the Emperor. He was—and remains—a famous religious leader. He…

Muḥsin ʿAlī Muḥsin

(479 words)

Author(s): Haywood, J.A.
, minor Urdu poet of the 19th century; the exact dates of his birth and death do not seem to be recorded. He was the son of another poet, S̲h̲āh Ḥusayn Ḥaḳīḳat, and he achieved fame through his remarkable tad̲h̲kira [ q.v.] of Urdu poets, Sarāpā suk̲h̲an , completed after ten years’ work in 1269/1852-3 and first published in Lucknow in 1288/1860-1. G̲h̲azal s by over 700 poets are included. What makes this work unique is its arrangement. The poetry is grouped in about 50 chapters, each representing a part of the human body ranging from head to foot, hence the title Sarāpā [see ḳaṣīda. 4. In Urdu];…

Mad̲j̲nūn Laylā

(5,623 words)

Author(s): Pellat, Ch. | Bruijn, J.T.P. de | Flemming, B. | Haywood, J.A.
, “the Madman of Laylā”, or Mad̲j̲nūn Banī ʿĀmir, the name given to the hero of a romantic love story, the original form of which could date back as far as the second half of the 1st/7th Century. 1. In Arabic literature This imaginary character (acknowledged as such even by some Arab critics; see Ag̲h̲ānī , ed. Beirut, ii, 6, 11) has been furnished by the ruwāt with an ism and with a complete genealogy; Ḳays b. al-Mulawwaḥ b. Muzāḥim b. Ḳays b. ʿUdas b. Rabīʿa b. D̲j̲aʿda b. Kaʿb b. Rābīʿa b. ʿĀmir b. Ṣaʿṣaʿa, but according to the evidence, …


(920 words)

Author(s): Haywood, J. A.
, muḥammad ḥusayn (1830-1910), Urdu writer, was a leading exponent of “new” Urdu prose, and a pioneer of the reaction against the Persian tradition in Urdu poetry, with its emphasis on g̲h̲azal and its preoccupation with ornate, stylised language. Born in Dihlī, he was the son of one of the first leading journalists of north India. He was educated at Delhi College, and acquired a mastery of both Arabic and Persian. By 1854, he was editor of his father’s newspaper, the Dihlī Urdū Ak̲h̲bār . A love of poetry was fostered in him by the poet D̲h̲awḳ (1789-1854…
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