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Urdu migrant literati and Lahore's culture

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After 1857, Punjab assumed extraordinary significance not only in a strategic sense but culturally too. Urdu was introduced as a vernacular primarily for administrative reasons but later on Lahore was the locus of literary activities which had lasting impact on the future course of Urdu literature. This study focuses on three migrant laureates G.W. Leitner, Muhammad Hussain Azad and Altaf Hussain Hali, underscoring their contribution for ushering in Oriental learning and particularly Urdu literature into an era of modernity. They not only introduced fresh themes of poetry but also new forms of poetic expression. Similarly the institution of Anjuman-i-Punjab and its role in the cultural development of the city is yet another subject that this study brings out. Establishment of such institutions like Oriental College and the University of Punjab became possible only because of Anjuman-i-Punjab’s endeavours. A series of Mushairas, held under the auspices of Anjuman and the impact these Mushairas had, on the literary trends, has also been teased out.

This talk is part of the Centre of South Asian Studies Seminars series.

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