Short stories of award-winning writer Baig Ehsas available in English

Daneesh Majid

Hyderabad: After having his Sahitya Akademi award-winning story Dakhma included in Allahabad University’s Urdu Deparment syllabus earlier this year, the collection of afsaanas (a form of short stories) by Baig Ehsas have come out in English. They have been translated by S M Fasiullah.

The compilation titled Shades of the City contains Fasiullah’s English renditions has the stories of Baig Eshas, former professor with the University of Hyderabad, along with those of late HCU Comparative Literature Professor Tutun Mukherjee and former Osmania University English Literature Professor Khalid Qadri.

Ehsaas says, “Jin stories meinHyderabad ki tehzeeb chalak ti haiussi ka tarjama Fasi ne kiya hai (Fasi has translated the stories that ooze Hyderabad’s culture and rich history).”

Left: Translator, S M Fasiullah, Right: The original author Baig Ehsas

While completing his MA in English at Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Fasiullah happen to stumble upon one of Ehsas’ stories titled Curfew on Rekhta.org, an online repository of Urdu literature and poetry.

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“Although it takes place in Hyderabad, Curfew resonated with me heavily as I grew up in the communally tense Adilabad District amidst the 1992-1993 riots,” he likens.

He translated one page and showed it to Ehsas who found it satisfactory. Encouraged, Fasiullah then he sent it to a peer-reviewed journal in Bihar, New Frontier.

When the journal published it, Fasi expressed to the original author the desire to translate more of his stories.  On getting the permission within three to four weeks, he hammered out translations of Nami Danam Ke (“A Sufi’s Charm) and Rang Ka Saaya (“A House’s Sake”). Along with those two, his English version of Curfew is included in Shades of the City.

Fasiullah’s original story in English Operation Irani Chai concludes the book which is available for Rs. 130 and has been published by the Urdu Translation Academy — Hyderabad.      

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Chronicler of the Deccan

Throughout his educational and literary trajectory, Ehsas has done his bit to promote Urdu and ensured that Hyderabad remain somewhat of a centre of the language. Ehsas was among the first batch of scholars when Hyderabad Central University’s Urdu Department came into existence in 1979. Five years later, earned his PhD on the works of Krishan Chander. He has written three collections of shorts stories — Khusha-e-GandumHanzal, and Dakhma — along with his compilation of literary essays, Shor-e-jahaan.  His stories revolve around the state of Muslims in India after independence and the trajectory of Hyderabad after its accession to India.

The Sahitya Akademi award-winner reading English renditions of his owrk

Dakhma, is about two native Hyderabadis deploring the loss of the city’s bygone culture juxtaposed alongside the Parsi community’s last rites which they carry our for the dead on towers.

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