Book Review: ‘Humsafar: The World of Urdu Poetry’ by Hitesh Gupta Aadil

HUMSAFAR: A Mesmerizing Odyssey Through Urdu Poetry's Heart and Soul

Book Title: Humsafar: The World of Urdu Poetry
Author: Hitesh Gupta Aadil
Publisher: Fingerprint! Publishing
Number of Pages: 464
ISBN: 978-9354409011
Date Published: June 5, 2023
Price: INR 349

HUMSAFAR The World of Urdu Poetry by Hitesh Gupta Aadil Book Cover

Book Review

Humsafar: The World of Urdu Poetry” by Hitesh Gupta Aadil is a delightful exploration into the enchanting realm of Urdu poetry. The author, a Dubai-based writer, blogger, and Urdu literature translator, presents a carefully curated collection that focuses on romanticism, featuring 40 poets from different eras. The anthology offers a rich tapestry of emotions, vivid imagery, and evocative verses that capture the essence of Urdu poetry.

The book begins with a unique insight into the launch of another Urdu poetry collection, setting the tone for the immersive experience that follows. Aadil’s selection includes poets ranging from the classical era, such as Daagh Dehlvi and Josh Malihabadi, to the modern voices of Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Jaan Nisar Akhtar. The inclusion of renowned female poets like Parveen Shakir and Ishrat Afreen adds diversity to the collection, shedding light on the traditionally male-dominated landscape of Urdu poetry.

Aadil provides a comprehensive overview of the Urdu language, its evolution, and various poetic forms and themes. The inclusion of a pronunciation guide and explanations on genres, forms, and the author’s selection criteria enhances the accessibility of the anthology. The book’s blog-like feel and plain language make it an approachable companion for both seasoned enthusiasts and newcomers to Urdu poetry.

One notable aspect is Aadil’s preference for poems with minimal complex Persian words, ensuring a smooth reading experience. The inclusion of emojis, indicating the author’s choice, songs, and film adaptations, adds a modern touch to the anthology, making it engaging and dynamic.

However, the literal nature of the translations may leave some readers craving the lyrical richness and imagery found in the original Urdu verses. Aadil’s decision to prioritize the actual thought over what sounds pleasing is evident, and while this approach may sacrifice some lyrical beauty, it preserves the authenticity and depth of the poems.

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The anthology serves as an excellent reference guide and a starting point for those unfamiliar with Urdu poetry. Aadil’s collection sparked the reviewer’s curiosity, prompting further exploration through YouTube videos of poets and deep dives into the meanings of unfamiliar words. “Humsafar” proves to be an accessible and flexible companion, allowing readers to dive into the world of Urdu poetry at their own pace.

In conclusion, “Humsafar: The World of Urdu Poetry” is a valuable addition to the literary landscape, offering a gateway for readers to discover the beauty, passion, and cultural richness of Urdu poetry. It invites both novices and connoisseurs to savor the timeless verses that have shaped the poetic heritage of the Urdu language.

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