New Delhi: He wrote in Urdu and English, and his library was in all probability some of the spectacular ones in Allahabad, with its 10,000 books in each languages — together with each single subject of the New York Assessment of Books, going again to its founding in 1963.
Author Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, who died on December 25, aged 85, was revered on the earth of up to date Indian literature, however the awe he commanded sat simply on his shoulders. Although he’s recognized with critical literature, he informed this reporter as soon as, whereas displaying his e-Reader, “This holds my thriller reads. John Grisham on Kindle is my day by day sweet.” In additional solemn moments, nonetheless, he confessed that his pure affinity was for pre-18th century sensibilities, but untouched by Western influences, emphasising that he had a selected fondness for Urdu and Persian poets.
A retired officer of the Indian Postal Service, Faruqi’s finest identified novel, The Mirror Of Magnificence, was a weighty Mughal-era epic, largely set in Delhi. He initially wrote it in Urdu (Kai Chaand The Sar-e-Aasmaan, 2006) and translated it into English himself, in 2013. His subsequent e-book, The Solar That Rose From The Earth, containing fictionalized tales of nice Urdu poets, was part of his life’s intensive oeuvre, which features a staggering four-volume treatise on poet Mir Taqi Mir. The truth is, one of many initiatives he was busy with in his closing years was translating Mir’s poems into English.
“His contribution is immense in Urdu adab (literature and historical past), tanquid (criticism) and tehqeeq (analysis),” says poet Iffat Zarrin, who has learn all of Faruqi’s Urdu works. “He was the roshan sitara (brilliant star) of Urdu, a final hyperlink uniting the outdated and the brand new tehzeeb (tradition) and tareekh (interval).”
Creator TCA Raghavan, who continuously corresponded with Faruqi whereas engaged on an acclaimed biography of poet Abdul Rahim, describes him as a rare author and scholar, who was additionally certainly one of our nice storytellers. “His immense data in regards to the tradition of North India in the course of the interval of Mughal decline enabled him to create a universe completely different from the traditional view of the earlier centuries. By means of Faruqi’s marvellous prose, we enter a world not of decadence and decay however of refinement, literary achievement and massive creativity.”
Faruqi situated his fiction within the cultural and literary previous of the Indo-Muslim lifestyle of the 18th and 19th centuries, however he by no means regarded it as a useless previous. “I’m not writing historic fiction. I’m writing about poetry, love, dying, what it meant to be a poet, or a lover, or an Indian at the moment. It was a really wealthy and vital interval of our historical past, regardless that it has lapsed from our reminiscence,” he as soon as informed this reporter.
Very possessive about his e-book assortment, Faruqi was particularly happy with his 46 volumes of the Urdu oral romance, the Dastan-e Amir Hamza, that have been printed by Munshi Nawal Kishore in Lucknow and Kanpur from 1888 to 1917. He was additionally keen on many English language novelists and poets. Jane Austen’s Pleasure and Prejudice was the primary English novel he learn from cowl to cowl as a younger boy of 14 — he was, by then, already very well-read in Urdu literature. At one level, he particularly liked Thomas Hardy, a lot in order that he would learn every thing he might handle to seek out by and in regards to the writer within the small city of Gorakhpur, the place he (Faruqi) grew up.
Regardless of turning into a towering determine of Urdu literature, Faruqi didn’t consider himself as a part of the institution. The truth is, via the long-defunct literary journal Shabkhoon, which he as soon as based, revealed and edited, he would problem the “hegemony” of the Urdu Progressives by encouraging new writers to free themselves from the usual doctrines.
In later years, he divided his time between Allahabad and Delhi, the place certainly one of his two daughters is an English professor in Jamia Millia Islamia College. His spouse, Jamila, died in 2007. Faruqi himself had lately recovered from Covid.
A simple-going man, Faruqi was however a classy snob. On being requested why he lived in Allahabad, when he might simply have settled in cosmopolitan Delhi, he answered: “Delhi and Allahabad are nearly alike. I’d want New York.”