Urdu Academy held an evening on January 23, 2011 with the famous Urdu Poetess from New York, Humaira Rahman and celebration of the life and works of Umrao Jaan Ada famed Mirza Hadi Ruswa. The event was held at the Chandni Restaurant.
A mini-mushaera was held to honor the visiting poetess Humaira Rahman. The poets who took part in the mushaera included Tashie Zaheer and Misbah Rehman and Arshad Rashid.
Humaira Rahman amused the audience with her touchy poetry.
The second session of the literary event was dedicated to the life and works a renowned Urdu poet and writer of fiction and plays, Mirza Hadi Ruswa (1857 – October 21, 1931). He also wrote treatises mainly on religion, philosophy and astronomy. He was well-versed in Urdu, Persian, Arabic, Hebrew, English, Latin, and Greek. Mirza Ruswa remained on the Nizam of Awadh's advisory board on language matters for years.
Ruswa's first work was published in 1887. This was a poem recounting the romantic tale of Laila-Majnu. Sadly, it was not well-received. His versification was amateur, his wit unwitty, and his satire stale and flat. Portions of the work were condemned by critics as commonplace and vulgar. The criticism did not, however, dampen Ruswa's ardour to write poetry: he continued to compose mediocre verse till the end of his days.
The first part of his Afshai Raz was published in 1902. No sequel is traceable. Three years later came Umrao Jan Ada. It was an immediate and thunderous success, proving that the successful literary pieces are always those that can satisfy the lusty cravings of men and women through softcore vulgarity. Critics acclaimed it at once as one of the best narratives of the life and culture of Lucknow and praised Ruswa's mastery of Urdu prose. Several editions of the novel were sold. The theme, no doubt, contributed to its large sale, but it was its language that made it a steady seller for all time. Two other novels, Zat-e-Shareef and Shareef Zada, did not do as well but Akhtari Begum was again applauded by the Urdu-speaking intelligentsia. It is still considered by some to be better than Umrao Jan Ada.
Ruswa wrote a large number of treatises on religious and philosophical subjects. He had a deep and abiding interest in religion and Greek metaphysics.
Mirza Ruswa is well known for his Urdu novel Umrao Jan Ada that was published in 1905. It is based on the life of a renowned Lucknow courtesan and poetess of the same name and later became the basis for Umrao Jan Ada (1972), a Pakistani film, and two Indian films, Umrao Jaan (1981) and Umrao Jaan (2006). The novel was also the basis of a Pakistani television serial, Umrao Jan Ada, which aired in 2003.
Although Mirza Ruswa is mainly recognized as a prose writer because of Umrao Jan Ada, but he was an excellent poet.
Those who recited the poetry of Mirza Ruswa included Abdus Sattar Ghazali, Asim Bajwa, Hatim Rani, Meraj Sultana Ghazali, Misbah Rehman, Mohammad Saleem and Nagesh Awadhani.
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