The Hindi-Urdu Workshop

Josh Chahiye! - On the Poetry and Prose of Josh Malihabadi


This workshop is part of the biannual workshop organized by Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania. The topic of this term's workshop is the poetry of 'Josh' Malihabadi. It is sponsored by Penn's Department of South Asia Studies.

Breakfast and lunch will be served. The workshop is free and open to public, but registration is required (see below).


Sat. September 27 2008, 10 am - 5 pm

Penn Humanities Forum, 3619 Locust Walk, University of Pennsylvania

For a map showing the location of the Penn Humanities Forum, please click here; for a picture of the building click here.


Josh Malihabadi Shabbir Hasan Khan 'Josh' Malihabadi (1896-1982), a leading poet of Urdu in the twentieth century, was born in a Pathan family settled in Malihabad, near Lucknow, the cultured capital city of the Navabs of Avadh. 'Josh' ('Passion' or 'Intensity') wrote much poetry and prose, with generous contributions in romantic and revolutionary poetry, poetry on wine and nature, elegiac verse, quatrains, film songs, an epic poem on Genesis, as well as an impassioned and outspoken autobiography, Yaadon ki Baaraat ('A Cavalcade of Memories'). He has left us subtle evocations of erotic nuance and memorable recollections of romantic passion in both poetry and prose. He was also a noted journalist and commentator, and edited several literary journals, including the distinguished Aaj Kal. Josh has been given many sobriquets: Sha'ir-e-Inqilaab (Poet of Revolution), Sha'ir-e-Shabaab (Poet of Youth), Sha'ir-e-Sharaab (Poet of Wine), Sha'ir-e-Rabaab ( Poet of Music) etcetera. But for many, Josh will remain the quintessential Sha'ir-e-Fitrat (Poet of Nature). His descriptions and observations of nature and the interaction between nature and man, both visual and metaphysical, are genius. His revolutionary poetry was a clarion call to action for the young, and freedom processions sang his couplet to mobilize the masses in the service of nationalism:

   kaam hai mera taghayyur, naam hai mera shabaab
   mera na'ara: inqilaab-o-inqilaab-o-inqilaab

   My task is change, my name is youth!
   My slogan: revolution and revolution and revolution!

(With recollections and readings by Sayyad Yavar Abbas)

A packet will be available containing poetry and prose by Josh and secondary materials for discussion. No knowledge of Urdu is required, as the poems will be transliterated in Roman characters and translated into English. Copies of the packet will be available at the workshop. The materials can also be downloaded from this site:

Urdu prints:

   'Arus-i Adab, containing "Yeh Kaun Uttha Hai Sharmata," "Albeli Subah" (supplementary reading), "Paighambari Fitrat," "Lu Ki Amad Amad," "Badli Ka Chand" and "Zi Hayat Munazir"

   Kul Pak O Hind Musha'irah, containing "East India Company Ke Farzandon Se Khitab"

   Matam-i Azadi

   Josh Ki Inqilabi Nazmen, containing "Kisan" (supplementary reading)

   'Azmat-i Insan, selection: bands 76, 85-86

   Husain Aur Inqilab, selection: bands 31, 33, 36-37, 50

Transliterations and translations, primary texts:

   Zi Hayat Munazir

   Badli Ka Chand.

   Paighambar-i Fitrat

   'Azmat-i Insan [selection]

   Husain Aur Inqilab [selection]

   Lu Ki Amad Amad

   Yeh Kaun Uttha Hai Sharmata

   East India Company Ke Farzandon Se Khitab

   Matam-i Azadi

Transliterations and translations, supplementary texts:


   Albeli Subah

Hard copies of all these materials will be available at the venue. Additional selections from "Harf-i Akhir" and "Yadon Ki Barat" as well as some ruba'iyaat will be included.


This workshop is free and open to the public, but registration is required. To register, RSVP to Sanjukta Banerjee ( by Sep. 22, 2008.


For further inquiry, please contact Till Luge (

Previous Workshops hosted on this site:

The Poetry of Khwajah Mir Dard
Upenn Logo Department of South Asia Studies, University of Pennsylvania
820 Williams Hall, 255 South 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305