Urdu is a rich language with a wealth of literary genres, but we Pakistanis frequently tend to forget this. Poetry including Nazams and Ghazals, a variety of novels, Urdu Literature short script stories and Afsaanay in prose are present. Countless varieties of formats and topics are available in Urdu literature. Unfortunately, a lot of people are unfamiliar with our literary figures. This is either due to lack of interest or lack of exposure. Some of us interested in reading these classy literatures are lacking the knowledge to pick out the best of authors. The people who have a limited Urdu vocabulary also become intimidated by the difficult words and phrases.
The good news for all such people is that there are literatures present, in an easy-to-understand context. The following is a list of writers who we think are perfect for people who want to read good Urdu literature, minus the (again, seemingly) scary vocabulary. However, this list is not exhaustive at all. There are many other giants of Urdu literature who deserve acknowledgement for their work.
Authors Who Made Urdu Language Interesting and Easy Through Their Incredible Literature:
If you are a novice at Urdu, reading any of the following writers would be a good starting point for you. This is not an official list, so if some of you think differently, feel free to share your opinions with us. DailyPunch would be happy to review all the feedbacks coming from the readers.
1. Colonel Sha.
Dr. Shafiq ur Rehman was officially a general in the Pakistan Army. Rehman was given the title of ‘Colonel’. Many consider him one of the leading humorists of Urdu literature. Although he was not a very prolific writer, he created many memorable characters such as Chughad, Shaitaan, Maqsood Ghora, Aapa and Ainak. His lighthearted stories and character selections makes it very easy and enjoyable to read his books. These include Kirnein, Shagoofey, Himaaqatein, Mazeed Himaqatein and Lehrein.
Folks who enjoy light reading, Colonel Shafiq ur Rehman’s books are the perfect choice.
Ibn-e-Insha, was both a poet and a writer. His real name was Sher Muhammad Khan. He donned the caps of humorist, travelogue writer and newspaper columnist. Unlike his romantic poetry, his prose mostly had a touch of humor, be it a short story or travelogue. He utilizes simple vocabulary to convey a range of ideas. His book ‘Urdu ki Aakhri Kitaab’ is considered to be a laugh riot by many. Ibn-e-Insha was also one of the earliest Urdu travelogue writers. Travelogues such as Awara Gard Ki Diary, Dunya Gol Hai, Ibn Battuta Kay Taqub mien and Chaltay Ho To Cheen Ko Chaliye have become benchmarks for Urdu travel writing. He won the Pride of Performance award in 1978 for his services to the national language.
3. Ibn e Safi
Another ‘Ibne’, but one whose style of writing and genre is completely different from Ibn-e-Insha’s. Ibn-e-Safi’s real name was Asrar Ahmed. Indeed a prolific writer he was, being famous for his 125-book series Jasoosi Dunya (The Spy World) and the 120-book Imran Series. Many consider him the foremost adventurer and mystery writer of Urdu. He also wrote some humorous books, short stories and articles, so if you are a mystery and spy novel fan, Ibn-e-Safi is the name of the author whom you should read.
4. Umera Ahmed
This is one name that Pakistani people, especially those who watch Pakistani TV dramas, will be familiar with. She is a famous for her screenplay writing along with the novels and short stories. Books such as Peer e Kaamil, Haasil, Laahasil, Emaan, Umeed Aur Mohabbat and Amar Bail. She mostly writes about spirituality, love and social issues. She, along with Farhat Ishtiaq, is considered one of the most popular writers in Urdu nowadays.
5. Mustansar Hussain Tarrar
Writer, actor, TV host and columnist, Mustansar Hussain Tarrar, a.k.a Chachajee is one of the more media-friendly writers. Some of you might remember him hosting shows like Roshan Pakistan on PTV and Shaadi Online on Geo TV.
He is most famous for writing travelogues, especially the ones related to the Northern areas of Pakistan. He has written more than 40 books. His popular travelogues include K-2 Kaahaani, Carvan Saraaey, Andulus Mein Ajnabi, Sunehri Ullu Ka Sheher and Khanabadosh. His novels Aakh and Pyar Ka Pehla Shehr are considered some of the greatest works in Urdu. He also wrote some drama serials, such as Parinda, Shehpar, and Sooraj Ke Sath Sath. Tarrar has one of the biggest and most active fan bases of all the writers in Pakistan. He has also won the government’s Pride of Performance Award.
6. Saadat Hassan Manto
A man whose name has become attached to the Progressive Writers movement in Urdu. Manto, famous for writing on controversial topics defined the power of writing. His stories laid bare the social ills and hypocrisy, highlighting the issues of the downtrodden. Manto was punished in the courts as well as kept paying fines, mostly due to the brutally honest nature of his stories. Yet he never stopped writing about what he considered to be the real face of society. Despite using easy language and current situations, his stories are full of stark realism and thus not the best choice for the readers in search of idealistic romance. His famous works include Khol Do, Siyah Hashiye, Ganjey Farishtey, Thanda Gosht, Toba Tek Singh and Manto ke Mazameen.
7. Ismat Chughtai
If you are you a feminist, a rebel or a non-conformist, Ismat Chughtai will be right up your alley. Considered by many to be the Grand Dame of Urdu literature, Ismat Chughtai is famous for her rebellious and unconventional stance, both in her writings and in her personal life. She was a part of the Progressive Writers Movement in the Urdu language and challenged the norms of society at that time via her writings. She wrote realistic portrayals of life in a frank and honest manner. Her writings include Terhi Lakeer, Kalyaan, Dozakh, Do Haath. She also scripted, directed and produced documentaries including My Dreams, Garam Hawa, Jawab Ayega and some movies including the famous one Junoon. If you are a fan of unconventional themes, strong feminist messages and honest depictions of the society, Ismat Chughtai is the writer you should read.
8. Patras Bukhari
Another multi-talented writer, Syed Ahmed Shah was a writer, educationist, broadcaster and diplomat. He also served as the first Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations and remained as the Under Secretary of the UN, Head of Information from 1954-1958. He only wrote one book ‘Patras ke Mazameen’, but many people consider it a masterpiece of wit and intellect. His story ‘Mabel Aur Main’ is part of the higher education Urdu textbook. Other famous writings by Patras Bukhari include Mai Ek Miyan Hoon and Sawerey Jo Kal Ankh Meri Khuli. His style of writing is simple, engaging and humorous, which is why people of all ages enjoy reading his works.
We hope that this list will prove helpful to all those who are willing to enhance their Urdu with these recommended authors and their literature for the beginners.