Nominated | Book Awards 2019 | English Non-fiction
Urdu poetry rules the cultural and emotional landscape of India—especially northern India and much of the Deccan—and of Pakistan. And it was in the great, ancient city of Delhi that Urdu grew to become one of the world’s most beautiful languages. Through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, while the Mughal Empire was in decline, Delhi became the capital of a parallel kingdom—the kingdom of Urdu poetry—producing some of the greatest, most popular poets of all time. They wrote about the pleasure and pain of love, about the splendour of God and the villainy of preachers, about the seductions of wine, and about Delhi, their beloved home.
This treasure of a book documents the life and work of the finest classical Urdu poets: Sauda, Dard, Mir, Ghalib, Momin, Zafar, Zauq and Daagh. Through their biographies and poetry—including their best-known ghazals—it also paints a compelling portrait of Mughal Delhi. This is a book for anyone who has ever been touched by Urdu or Delhi, by poetry or romance.
Dr Saif Mahmood is a New Delhi-based author, poetry and literature critic, commentator, translator, rights activist, and an Advocate of the Supreme Court of India. Founder of the South Asian Alliance for Literature, Art & Culture (SAALARC), Saif has won particular acclaim for his passionate recitations of Urdu poetry, especially of such progressive and contemporary poets as Faiz, Majaz, Sahir and Jaun Elia. His writings on literature and law and his English translations of Urdu prose and verse have appeared in several prestigious Indian and international publications.