NEW DELHI: Thirty translated stories from contemporary Indian and Pakistani Urdu writers that are based on human dilemmas have been compiled in a new book “New Urdu Writings from India and Pakistan“.
The anthology, edited by author and writer Rakhshanda Jalil, was launched in New Delhi on Monday by writer-lyricist Javed Akhtar.
Published by Tranquebar, the collection comprises 15 short stories each from Indian and Pakistani authors.
Jalil, the author of “Invisible City: The Hidden Monuments of Delhi“, at the outset clarified that while short-listing stories for this book, she was looking for “commonalities” that bind together people from both sides of the border.
“There was no peg, no theme for this book. All I was focusing on was to bring fresh, new writings from both the countries to show how this beautiful language has developed in the short story format. There was no search for religion or communal matters,” Jalil told IANS.
“It was purely based on commonality and these stories have one thing in common, and that is human dilemma,” she added.
The Delhi-based author has translated many Urdu language stories and, given her expertise, she feels that the new writings develop their narrations using metaphors, and prefer open-endings for the readers to infer.
“There used to be a time when an author would raise a question pertaining to the society in his stories and would provide a solution to it as well. But in this book you will see most of the writers have used metaphors to communicate and have give open-ended conclusions,” she pointed out.
The stories “The Slaughterhouse Sheep” by Khurshid Akram, “City” by Tarannum Riyaz, and “Did The Pink Pigeons Win” by Fahmida Riaz have used metaphors to represent the injustice and oppression in today’s socio-political milieu.
With the help of almost 30-35 translators, most of them first timers, Jalil has been able to put this book together to promote Urdu writings.
Akhtar feels her contribution should be appreciated, especially because Urdu is “the most misunderstood language”.
“Urdu is in a strange situation. There are two notions that have always surrounded this language: romanticism and political biasness. For many it is a source of pleasure, and language of leisure and luxury,” he said.
“But the fact is that there is great literature in this language and we should see many more translations from Urdu penetrating into the mainstream,” he added.