Amir Khan Anjam, Beni Madho Ruswa, Budh Singh Qalandar, Haidar Ali Atash, Kai Chand Thay Sar-e Aasman, Kishan Chand Ikhlas, mir, Mir Taqi Mir, Mirza Ghalib, Mirza Jan-e Janan, Mushafi, Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, The Mirror of Beauty
Following the stupendous success of the magnum opus, Mirror of Beauty, which was written in Urdu as Kai Chand Thay Sar-e Aasman by Shamsur Rahman Faruqi (Read our blog post here: https://urduwallahs.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/the-mirror-of-beauty/) and translated in English by the author himself, here comes another magnificent piece of work, wherein Faruqi vividly spins stories of 18th- and 19th-century Urdu literati – The Sun That Rose From the Earth.
Dilli ke na the kuche/ Auraq-e-mussavir the. Jo shakl nazar aayi/ Tasveer nazar aayi.
(It wasn’t the lanes and streets of Delhi: It was the pages of an album. Each and every face that one saw was a painting)
-Mir Taqi Mir
A rich and lovingly crafted tapestry of longish tales, critic-turned-novelist Shamsur Rahman Faruqi’s latest book is hefty, 600-odd pages of a connected narrative, offering a dazzling variety which few novels, let alone short story collections provide. Five longish tales which can also be read as components of a longer, broken narrative flow into each other effortlessly so that by the end of the book, you cannot decide if it is one story you have read or more.
As quoted in an article: If you ask Shamsur Rahman Faruqi what his favourite place is, he will walk you down to Delhi of the 18th century. It is the land of the poet Mir Taqi Mir. You would see young Mir, clutching a bundle of papers, wandering the alleys on winter nights. In coffee houses and caravanserais, bazaars and bylanes, couplets would sing and slumber. This is Faruqi’s homeland. He knows how to go down Chandni Chowk and reach the flower-sellers’ market in Mali Wara to buy a bunch of Iranian jasmine. He knows where the attar kiosks are. He knows the houses that mourn the men who have died in battles. It is this Delhi that Faruqi returns to most often in his collection of stories, The Sun That Rose From The Earth.
The book synopsis: A young Rajput orphaned by the revolt of 1857 travels many years later from Cawnpore to Delhi to get the Divan of Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib autographed by the great poet himself. Beni Madho Ruswa is entranced by the poet’s radiant presence. Young Mir Taqi Mir, a rising star in the world of poetry, meets the first great love of his life, Nurus Saadat, an exquisite beauty from Isfahan. A tumultuous love affair follows, accompanied by ravishing verse. Aspiring poet and wealthy businessman Darbari Mal Vafa pays a visit to Lucknow and learns of the life and work of the poet Shaikh Mushafi through the stories told by his widow.
Poets and poetry occupy centre stage in the fabulous stories of The Sun that Rose from the Earth, set in the great cities of north India and spanning the glittering age of the Mughals. Brilliantly reimagined by Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, the poets—historical figures ranging from Ghalib, Mirza Jan-e Janan, Budh Singh Qalandar, Amir Khan Anjam, Mir, Kishan Chand Ikhlas, Haidar Ali Atash, Mushafi and many more—compose remarkable poems, find patrons, make love, fight their enemies and make their living.
The celebrated master of Urdu prose presents richly elegant and superbly realized portraits, from a time past, of those who exemplify the land and culture of Hindustan.