1st Edition

India’s Freedom Struggle and the Urdu Poetry Awakening

By Gopi Chand Narang Copyright 2023
    206 Pages
    by Routledge India

    206 Pages
    by Routledge India

    Poetry, mainly Urdu poetry, played a very significant role in India’s freedom struggle. This book explores the poetic contributions going back centuries of colonial rule, which became songs of freedom and captured both the poignancy and fervor of revolution, protest, and hope.

    Urdu became one of the essential languages in colonial India, used by both political leaders and many young revolutionaries in speeches and writings as slogans for freedom and a call to action. Poets such as Josh Malihabadi, Firaq Gorakhpuri, Sahir, Makhdoom, Kaifi Azmi, Majaz, Majrooh, and Faiz Ahmad Faiz wrote highly patriotic poetry which was used not only to inspire and help mobilize people but also to offer criticism of existing socio-cultural practices in India and promote reform and equality. This work – a creative and selective translation of the book Hindustan Ki Tahriik-e Aazadi aur Urdu Shaa’yiri by Professor Gopi Chand Narang – includes English translations of poems from rare historical manuscripts as well as banned and witnessed poetry confiscated by the British. It looks at key events in India’s struggle for freedom through the prism of literature, language, poetry, and culture while also delving into the lives of poets who became the voice of their generation.

    This book is an essential read for students and researchers of colonial and postcolonial literature, cultural studies, comparative studies, history, and South Asian literature and culture.

    Preface PART I: Prison and the Hanging Post 1. The Patriotic Tradition: From Amir Khusrau to 1857 2. The 1857 Uprising and the Urdu Poetry 3. Uneasy Calm Before the Storm 1857-1914 4. The First World War and Its Aftermath 5. The Progressive and Nationalist Poetry 6. The Banned and Witness Poetry PART II: Leading Poets of the Freedom Struggle 7. Durga Sahai Suroor Jahanabadi  8. Josh Malihabadi 9. Tilok Chand Mehroom 10. Firaq Gorakhpuri Bibliography Index


    Gopi Chand Narang (1931–2022) won awe-inspiring recognition all around the world for his outstanding contribution to literature. He authored numerous pathbreaking scholarly books, and he was the Indira Gandhi Memorial Fellow of the IGNCA (2002–2004) and Rockefeller Foundation Fellow for Residency at Bellagio Study Centre, Italy (1997). He was also Professor Emeritus at University of Delhi and Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi, India.

    Surinder Deol is the author of SAHIR: A Literary Portrait, published in 2019. His translations of books on poets such as Ghalib, Mir Taqi Mir, and the Urdu Ghazal have received critical acclaim. He has also published a poetical biography of Faiz Ahmed Faiz. He lives in Potomac, Maryland.