Nameless Lanes

‘Nameless Lanes’ is a collection of stories carefully translated from Urdu. It includes the finest works of some of the best Indian writers of Urdu short stories in the twentieth century. All of them are dead now, but their works live to reflect, each in its own inimitable way, the society in which they were created. The stories alternate between the inner world of the protagonists’ painful nostalgia, excessive psychopathological narcissism, spiritual subterfuge, the crisis of identity, and the outer existential realities of a society, ridden with class hatred, violence, destruction of human dignity, and in a constantly menacing flux of unpredictable circumstances, plunging the characters into the appalling dilemma of existence. Hussain’s translation is more than the rendering of a text from one language to another; it is the introduction into English of a completely different society and an array of human experiences exceedingly strange, a sobering transcreation of the original stories unfolding characters in constant conflict with the microcosmic and macrocosmic realities pervading their existence.

An English Anthology of some well-known Urdu stories translated by Syed Sarwar Hussain; published by Kitaab International, Singapore, 2016. ISBN: 9789810989552

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The Eastern Brew


‘THE EASTERN BREW’ is a translation of some selected Urdu short stories written by prominent writers from India and Pakistan. These stories are as varied in their subject matters as they are in the assortment of writers presented in this anthology. The selection is not incidental or impulsive but premeditated and is based on careful consideration. It encapsulates almost fifty years of Urdu short story writing from both sides of the border, representing the vicissitudes of life and times during the years of drastic political and social changes, and the struggles and conflicts, psychological or otherwise, of characters living through those tumultuous times. Though it is not possible to collect the works of representative writers of Urdu fiction spanning more than two generations in a short anthology of fifteen stories, an attempt has, nevertheless, been made to bring before the English readers the various threads of human relationships, social, personal, and psychological, that weaved or warped the life of characters in the exciting stories in this collection. The anthology thus provides to the readers of other languages an insight into the changing patterns and concerns of Urdu literary art during a span of two generations, and the life and times of people in the sub-continent living through the change.

An English translation by Syed Sarwar Hussain of some Urdu stories by prominent writers from the sub-continent; published by Partridge  India & Author Solutions), A Penguin Random House Publishing Company, London, New Delhi, November 22, 2013. ISBN 10: 1482812568; ISBN 13: 9781482812565; 9781482812541.

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Ashes in the Fire


Ashes in the Fire’ is a collection of stories translated from Urdu by Dr. Syed Sarwar Hussain. The original work ‘Aag key under Raakh’, was written by Abdus Samad, the Sahitya Akademi (Indian Academy of Letters) Award winning Indian writer. The stories have been written from multiple perspectives, interlinking the debilitating impact of social, cultural, and historical forces pervading the lives of people, and taking the edge off their material and moral existence. The undercurrent of feminism is accentuated in most of the stories in the collection, but the writer treats them with detachment and irony in some stories and with emotional intensity in others.

The translation is significantly interesting in its literary merit as well as its appeal to general readers. It effectively contributes in bringing Urdu literature to the arena of global literature, trans-creating the work without the loss of salience, while maintaining its intent, style, tone and context. His fluent and idiomatic language never misses to capture the flavor of the original work, and is indisputably a solid addition to South Asian literature collections.

English translation of the stories of Abdus Samad, the Indian Literary Academy Award Winner Urdu novelist; translated and edited by Syed Sarwar Hussain; published in 2012, by Satyam Publishing House, New Delhi, India; ISBN: 978-93-81632-26-0;

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