THOSE WE’VE LOST: Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, Towering Figure in Urdu Literature, Dies at 85

Shalini Venugopal Bhagat in the New York Times: Mr. Faruqi has been credited among scholars with the revival of Urdu literature, especially from the 18th and 19th centuries. His output as a scholar, editor, publisher, critic, literary historian, translator and acclaimed writer of both poetry and novels was varied and prolific.

Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, a creative and critical voice in Urdu literature for more than a half-century, died on Dec. 25 at his home in Allahabad, India. He was 85. The cause was complications of Covid-19, his daughter Mehr Afshan Farooqi said. (Mr. Faruqi changed the spelling of his surname in the 1980s.)

His primary focus was on retrieving Indo-Islamic culture and literature from the effects of colonialism. The left-wing Progressive Writers’ Movement had been in vogue since the 1930s, when India was still under British rule. Literature that did not conform to its Marxist ideals of revolution had fallen out of favor. In 1966, when Mr. Faruqi became the founding editor and publisher of the modernist literary journal Shabkhoon, he provided a platform for other voices and mentored many young writers to write what they wanted, in the style they wanted.

In addition to commissioning all the writing in the magazine, he edited every piece and wrote poetry, criticism and Urdu translations of important works. He did this work in addition to his job as a civil servant with the Indian Postal Service.

“He literally burnt the midnight oil to keep editing his magazine and writing his books,” Ms. Farooqi, his daughter, said in a phone interview. More here.