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Culture: In the Realm of Magic - Newspaper

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The cover art for Tilism-i Hoshruba (Vol 1) by Michelle Farooqi shows the magician emperor Afrasiab on a flying throne listening to a magical bird.

The journey of civilization’s decline is a journey down the road of doubt. Deep self-doubt and low self-esteem are hallmarks of all post-colonial societies. Understanding how doubt erodes a civilization’s self-understanding and self-evaluation has been a concern of mine for the last few years.

My book on legal history, The Pakistani Experience of Formal Law: Alien Justice, traces how colonial law systematically eroded the pre-colonial legal ethos and systems of Hindustan. Not just structurally, but also in how they viewed social relationships and controversies and how effectively they resolved them.

Since the colonial period, as explored in my novel Snuffing Out the Moon, what remained alien to us in the colonial system and laws continues to disadvantage the populace and lead the elite and the mafia. culturally, sociologically and economically vulnerable to

Our fragmented relationship with the past extends to many areas, including our language and classical literature. We are unsure, uncomfortable, uneasy and even misunderstood about some of the best literary works written in Urdu and other local languages. We imagine these works to be inferior, outdated and irrelevant. Lacking meaningful conversations about the reassessment of our cultural and literary heritage, the erasure of our sense of the past has confused our thinking and given our sense of the future a complex shape.

Project Hoshruba has published the first modern edition of the classic Urdu epic Tilism-i-Hoshruba. One of his founders tells how this project came about.

It reminded them of the long, sunny dreamy days of their childhood and how imaginative books imbued them with a sense of wonder. That a book can inspire an entire generation is my book’s wonderfully simplified version of Dastan-i Amir Hamza’s epic epic and its most glorious part, the magical fantasy Tilism-i-Hoshruba. It’s clear from how you got rich. In my quest to rediscover and re-engage with my literary heritage, I chose this book as a gateway.

I realized that romanticizing the past can be deceptive and exoticizing can be deadly. It was an honest assessment of what we could learn about. The title Tilism-i-Hoshruba means a magical land that confuses the senses. But rather than confuse my mind, the experience of re-reading Tilism-i-Hoshruba actually brought back my senses. was at the level of

Aside from its high literary value, most people are unaware of the fact that Amir Hamzah is the longest epic poem ever written in any language, at approximately 44,000 pages. Also, as the novelist and translator Musharraf Ali Farooqi informs us, the total number of unique words that Shakespeare used in all his plays and poems is about 20,000, while Tirisma Hoshuruba’s first The total number of unique words used in just 400 pages is about 15,000.

Or, dive into this vast ocean, approach its bottom, and gaze at its vast, diverse and colorful life forms, whose grand scale and fine detail are unmatched by any classic of world literature, old or modern. you’ll notice. .

In Tilism-i-Hoshurba, you’ll encounter worldbuilding on a massive scale. We experience rich and diverse prose that draws on multiple linguistic sources, from epic high registers to playful everyday usage.We have dignity in the original poems made by Da Tango [storyteller] As well as a master of Urdu, Persian, Arabic, Brazi (Hindi dialects) and East Hindi Abadi or Audi.

Discover original characters, themes, tropes and plot variations that continue to amaze centuries after their creation. We discover a fundamental and compelling universal struggle between good and evil, sensitive to shades of gray. doing.

Tilism-i-Hoshruba not only captures hundreds of words for every emotion and phenomenon, but also an entire syncretic, pluralistic and vast civilization of artifacts, objects, weapons, textiles, food, rituals and more. A repository of thousands of words. Norms, ethics, etiquette, manners, proverbs, sayings, expressions, philosophies, cultural values, and innate wisdom drawn from the lived experience of millions of people are among these key elements.

To continue this discontinuity with the classics is a discontinuity with everything we’ve ever strived for and could be. By ignoring this detachment from our heritage, we deny ourselves life force and nourishment, forget how to dream and thereby achieve it, and live in the mundane and banal of a material and imaginative life. surrender to

To solve the above problem, Musharraf Ali Farooqi and I dreamed up Project Hoshruba (, aiming for a modern, aesthetic and accessible version of the classic. Complete works are available only in illegible, lithographed texts written in old conventions that can only be undertaken by linguistic experts. The task was daunting indeed, given the sheer volume of work that had to be published in his 24 volumes of about 500-600 pages each.

With some basic math, I found that having a certain amount of money would help me start and sustain the first few volumes. All order needs a knight. To our constant admiration, we appreciated this cultural undertaking and immediately agreed to contribute, promising to give us the freedom to realize the project in the best possible way21. I have found a friend of Hoshruba.

The work was overwhelming. It was just Farooqi’s passion, fortitude, and Dastan’s access to coterie. [tale] Months of toil that made entry into scholars and literary and tyrism possible. The first volume was published in August of this year. Fortunately, with the help of Prof. Abdur Rasheed, who undertook the difficult task of providing the glossary for this book, and Prof. Ahmad Mahfooz, who provided the sources of over 300 Persian poems and their Urdu translations. was obtained.

The published text is based on an 1884 first edition provided by Duster researcher Rafakat Ali Shahid. It is published in the beautiful Sukkur Kitab Nask developed by the internationally renowned expert Mammon Sukkur who composed it. The stunning cover art, miniature art, frontispiece, and illuminated page borders were created by Michelle Farooqi.

Volume 1, now out, took longer than expected. Reconstruct old texts, meticulously edit for archaic orthography and punctuation, handle discrepancies, tweak Sukkur Kitab Nashuf to suit the needs of Urdu fonts, translate vast verses, texts A great deal of effort was required to annotate and provide a rich glossary of terms. Skill, rigor and dedication. Much attention has been paid to the design of the pages, the distinctive emblems and the appealing collector’s look of his editions while maintaining an affordable price.

The response to volume 1 has been overwhelming. It resonates with many who have always wanted something like this, as well as those who have newly discovered the urge to drink from this magical cup.

The door to Hoshuruba is ajar for those who wish to enter. The long and difficult journey continues. If you wish to participate, the caravan leaves before the stars fade at dawn.

The author is a legal scholar and co-founder of Project Hoshruba ( tweets @DrOsamaSiddique

Dawn, EOS, published September 25, 2022