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Urdu Blog

Krishan Chander, romantic and progressive

Krishan Chander (1914 – 1977) was one of the most prolific and influential writers in the Progressive Writers’ Movement, along with Saadat Hasan Manto, Ismat Chughtai, Munshi Premchand, and Rajinder Singh Bedi. He is most famous for his short stories and novels, although he did dabble in poetry as well and enjoyed singing. Born in […]

Masaan takes Hindi-Urdu cinema to a whole new level

Subtly directed, heart-breakingly acted, beautifully written, with poetry set to music, set in the timeless city of death Varanasi-Banaras-Kashi, exploring the deep and impassable fissures between genders and caste, “Masaan” (English: “Crematory”) is a must-see film. The plot revolves around two young people in Varanasi dealing with deep-rooted prejudice and death and loving in spite of […]

Mughals, Nawabs, and Nizams… Oh My!

References to Mughals, nawabs, and nizams surface every so often in Urdu media. They were all patrons of Urdu literature; the Mughals ruled India from 1526 – 1857 and traced their ancestry back to the Timurid Mongols. Nawabs and nizams were Mughal titles given for various reasons to officials and nobility in the subcontinent. Nawabs […]

Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Urdu Song

This year’s hit Bollywood movie Bajrangi Bhaijaan stars Salman Khan as the eponymous hero who shows Indians and Pakistanis should love each other. Bajrangi, an Indian and proud Hanuman devotee with a heart of gold makes it his mission to reunite a mute Pakistani Muslim girl with her parents. Bajrangi Bhaijaan encounters a journalist Chand […]

Muharram, Ashura, and Urdu literature

Today is the day of Ashura, the tenth day and most celebrated day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar and holiest month after Ramadan. Sunni and Shia Muslims participate in different activities for different reasons on Ashura. Sunnis often fast on this day to remember the day Moses was victorious over the […]

Urdu Qawwali “Maula Salim Chishti”

This week I would like to share the song “Maula Salim Chishti” with you. This song from 1973 film “Garm Hawa is a panoply of all things Urdu. “Garm Hawa” is based on the Urdu writer Ismat Chughtai’s unpublished short story “Jaren” meaning “Roots.” The film delicately details the plight of a Muslim family living […]