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Bashir Ahmad, Safir (1949) A critical estimate of Insha Allah Khan Insha as poet and grammarian. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The Introduction treats briefly of the Urdu language which became a medium for the poets from the beginning of the 18th century, Azad, In his Ab-i Hayat. has grouped poetic activity from about 1720 to 1880 Into five well-defined periods, Insha belongs to the fourth of these. Special reference throughout this work Is made to the Ab-l Hayat allowances being made for occasional Inaccuracies. Chapter I discusses the background of Insha's period. Such an examination the better enables one to arrive at a more satisfactory critical evaluation of the poet's work. This background has been viewed from three standpoints; first, the historical, which briefly touches on the disintegration of the central government and the gradual encroachment of rival foreign powers; secondly, the social and ethical background, which reflected a continued deterioration; and thirdly, the literary trends, to describe which nothing better than the sentiments expressed by Hall could be quoted, Mir Taql Mir, Mir Hasan and Sauda are introduced as typical example of the poets of this time. Chapter II reviews the contemporaries of A brief survey of the development of Urdu poetry through the three periods previous to Inshs., brings the discussion to the chief figures of the fourth period, Mir Hasan first dealt with; then follows Qatil. Jur'at, Mushfi and Rangin. MushafI has been dealt with at some length, and full details of his relations with Insha are examined; the controversial points are discussed and conclusions established. Rang In's a connection with Insha is described and his opinion of Insha's work is given. Chapter III outlines the poet's life. The fact that the poet's father most probably supervised his education account for the systematization which can be seen In the Sharh-1 Ml'at 5 mil and other works. The poet's long connection with the Nawwab of Oudh and the degree of familiarity which the latter extended to him was broken by an Incident which led to a widening of the breach. Azad's account of the last part of the poet's life is called into question and discussed in view of uncorrobrated statement, end the contrary evidence of Mirza Auj. Chapter IV deals with the Urdu and Persian DIwans, which represents some sixty-per-cent of the poet's output. An introductory discussion on the ghazal precedes the first section, that on the Diwan Rekta,which is dealt with first from the point of view of diction. An historical approach follows, thirty-seven poems being classed in one of six periods. A discussion on the origin of Rekhti opens the section on the Dlwan-I which closes with a comparison of Jan Sahib's style with that of Insha. An analysis of the Diwan-1 Be-Nuqat follows, and this chapter ends with an appraisal of the Diwan-i Farsi, which contains some of Insha's best compositions. Chapter V treats of Insha's qasida compositions; an introductory discussion on this poetic form is followed by a literary analysis of each composition, and an evaluation of Insha's style in this field, Insha's eleven masnavi poems are reviewed In Chapter VI, Each masnavi is dealt with in detail, beginning with the Shir-o Biranj, which is the most successful and outstanding in this type. Farce and comedy colour the majority of the other masnavis, though satire has its place. Chapter VII covers all those poetic compositions which have not already been dealt with, viz,. Riddles, Fards, Ruba'iS, Qitas maustazads Mukhammas, Tillismat, Letters, Lampoons, and Pashtiend Turkui pieces. The ruba;is a are dealt with at some length,and also the qitas and mustazads, Inaha's grammar and prose works are dealt with in Chapter VIII, Inaha's best-known work, the Darya-1 first fully surveyed and his investigations in the field are assessed. He appears to have been original in his treatment of this subject. From a MSS of this work in the British Museum can be gathered information not to be found in the publication of this grammar. The section in this grammar on districts and colloqulals of Delhi is enlighting and useful, Inshs's practical approach to linguistic studies is further Illustrated from other sections, Insha's other prose works, the Sharh-1 Mi'at 'Amllf Dutstan-l Rani Ketki (short story), and the Lata'ifu's-Sa'adat, a prose collection of anecdotes, hitherto unmentioned in all the tazkiras, and extant only in MSJ form, are then dealt with. The concluding chapter surveys Insha'a technique in satire, wit and humour, figures of speech, verse, allusions and Nature. InahS fitted uneasily into his age; his was a mind of great variety; he was an intellectual, and an opportunist. Intellect ruled in him, he ridiculed religious pretension and ineptitude. He was often pedantic in word display, but pedantic spontaneously. He cannot be called cynical. His humour is seldom malicious. He is not a poet of the foremost rank. Allusions, unusual words, and difficult metres cause him to stand alone. It is as a grammarian he will be longest remembered.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:06

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