Shamsur Rahman Faruqi: اند تھے سر آسما (The Mirror of Beauty)


The latest addition to my website is Shamsur Rahman Faruqi‘s اند تھے سر آسما (The Mirror of Beauty). This has been hailed as one of the great Urdu novels. It was published in Urdu in 2006 and has now been translated into English by the author, a mammoth task as the book is over 950 pages long. It is a superb story, telling of the life of a great beauty, Wazir Khanam, in the early-mid nineteenth century, just as the East India Company was taking over India. Wazir Khanam enthralled both Indian and British men – her first lover was English. She has two lovers and two husbands (and children by all four) but retains her beauty, her elegance and, above all, her strong personality, which means that no-one, Indian or British, can control her if she does not want to be controlled. As well as being about Wazir Khanam, this novel is also about a key period of Indian history, as the Mughal Empire is waning and the British, in the form of the East India Company, are gradually taking over. Faruqi, clearly and understandably, does not think very highly of the British but he does extol the Indian culture of the period – the poetry, learning, general interracial harmony and the customs – and it is this that helps make the novel so fascinating for a Western reader. This novel is clearly destined to be a classic.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Neha Agarwal

    As a literary imagination, this work stands as a peer to any other contemporary work on nineteenth century India. Faruqi is an erudite, perceptive guide to the dusk of the Mughal dynasty in India

    1. tmn

      Thanks for your comment. I can only agree with you.

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