Urdu exercises and other wordplay.

Kutte | Dogs

The futile stray dogs of these streets,Bestowed with a bent for begging,The curses of an age their wealth,A world of whacks their earnings. No rest at night, no easy morning;Dirt their home and drains their dwelling.If one snarls, set him on another—A piece of bread turns brother against brother. The ones who lap up every …

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Saqi, April 1946

One of the most interesting covers I came upon while browsing through the British Library’s Endangered Archives project is the April 1946 issue of Saqi. The issue is the Urdu journal’s special humour edition. The illustration is signed by Sobha Singh, the artist best known for his paintings of Sikh gurus (several Saqi covers are signed by him). On the top left are the opening lines of “Wataniyat” …

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Rain words

Compiled from John T Platt’s Dictionary of Urdu, Classical Hindi and English. āb-i-bārān (m) Rain-water. abr-i-āẕur (m) A cloud without rain. abr-i-ʻālamgīr (m) Rain clouds which cover a large extent of country. abr-i-qibla (m) Clouds which come from the direction of the qibla; clouds heavily charged with rain. idrār (m) Lit. ‘Causing milk, urine, &c. to flow copiously’; involuntary or copious discharge of …

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Naqsh faryaadi (نقش فریادی) (नक़्श फ़रयादी))

Ghalib – I ♦ Against which artwork’s colour does the copy complain? For each picture’s face is a paper covering, plain. Of the hard soul’s digging — loneliness — ask not! Like Farhad, carving canals for cream through rough terrain. Witness for yourself passion’s unfettered zeal: The scimitar blade drawn out, free from scabbard’s restraint. …

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