Spreading the Word

Urdu writers are increasingly transliterating their poetry in Hindi and English

Written by Parul | Published: August 14, 2013 12:11 am

Rajwanti Mann’s relationship with Urdu goes beyond the grammatical idioms of the language. It’s a bond of love,established in childhood,which is getting stronger with time. Mann,who works with the Haryana Archives department,recently released her new book of ghazals,titled Babool Ki Chhaon,which has 72 ghazals originally written in Urdu and transliterated in Devanagari.

Mann admits her penchant for Urdu language is rare — it’s not scholarly but deep. “Shabaash was the first word I learnt to write in Urdu. It’s a word that gave me strength and the inspiration to excel. From taking a short course in Urdu in 1990,to a PhD in the language,I have discovered its many intricacies,” says Mann.

The idea behind transliterating the ghazals into Hindi,says Mann,was to reach out to readers who love and understand Urdu but cannot read the script. The language — with its fine nuances,beauty,sophistication and depth — feels the writer,appeals to people across ages and more so with ghazals,which are about situations,troubles and tribulations. “Readers will empathise with the hard-hitting realities of day-to-day life,” says Mann.

Another admirer of the language,IPS officer Rajbir Deswal,confesses that he thinks,feels and emotes in Urdu even though he cannot proficiently read or write it. Deswal’s 10th book of poetry,Rehguzar,has 150 ghazals and nazms written in Devanagari and Urdu and was released recently. The Urdu version was put together with the help of the Urdu Akademi. “There are many who love the language,are familiar with it,but not adept at reading it. Hence,the Hindi version,one that keeps the emotions and feelings of Urdu intact,” says Deswal. His love for Urdu stems from his childhood and influenced him in his formative years. “Sophisticated and lyrical,the language has a rhythmic flow,” says Deswal,who is inspired by the poetry of Iqbal,Faiz and Ghalib.

Holding her new anthology of Urdu poetry,Zarf-e-Nazar,close to her heart,poet and a civil servant Amandeep Chatha lets her thoughts flow in the form of verses. This is Chatha’s third book in Urdu in two years. “Zarf-e-Nazar comes with an accompanying English translation,” says the poet. It’s the “beauty of the language” that prompted Chatha to learn it and write in it. Interestingly,she depends on her father and teachers to iron out grammatical errors.

The theme of her poetry,a dialogue between her and the superior being,says Chatha,is best

expressed in Urdu,a language that has both sensitivity and beauty. “I wanted my poetry to reach out to the young readers. So the English translation will connect to both the poetry and the language,” says Chatha.

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