If any writer of Hindi-Urdu fiction exemplifies the cosmopolitan and transregional character of Hindi-Urdu literature it is Ibn-e-Safi (1928-1980). The novels in his Jasusi Dunya (Spy World) and Imran series have been immensely popular with Urdu readers in India and Pakistan since they appeared in the early 1950s. They have been similarly popular in Hindi translation. Their taut prose, thrilling plots, witty narrative, and unforgettable characters have influenced some of the most celebrated popular Hindi-Urdu writers of the 20th and 21st centuries, including Javed Akhtar (b. 1945), who has penned some of Bollywood’s greatest thrillers. The novels are also remarkable sources for discussions of gender, Hindi-Urdu literary culture, politics, translation, and the movement of texts across the porous borders of postcolonial nation-states.
Bazm-e-Adab will meet for an hour each week in the Spring 2019 semester to read the second novel in Ibne Safi’s Imran series, Chattanon men Aag (Hindi) / Chatanon men Fire (Urdu) / Shootout at the Rocks (English). Copies of the novel in Hindi, Urdu, and English will be provided. The group is open to UC Berkeley faculty, staff, and students at all levels.
Gregory Maxwell Bruce, Ph.D. Lecturer in Urdu, Department of South & Southeast Asian Studies