Dastan-e Amir Hamza in colonial India
This paper explores how several factors coupled with the development of printing press in India in the nineteenth century that led to its boom in the Indian subcontinent. Besides the colonial pursuits of the British, the nineteenth century was the age of emergence of Urdu prose mostly centred around religion and ethics. Urdu literature was more poetry-centred than prose. The prose of Urdu literature was mainly restricted to the ancient form of long-epic stories called dastan which stood close to narrative genres in South Asian literatures such as Persian masnawi, Punjabi qissa, Sindhi waqayati bait, etc. Dastan-e-Amir Hamza is considered the most important Indo-Islamic prose epic. Besides Dastan-e-Amir Hamza, there are several other prominent dastans in Urdu. They represent contaminations of wandering and adventure motifs borrowed from the folklore of the Middle East, central Asia and northern India. These include Bostan-e- Khayal, Bagh-o Bahar by Mir Amman, Mazhab-i-Ishq by Nihalchand Lahori, Araish-i-Mahfil by Hyderbakhsh Hyderi, Gulzar-i-Chin by Khalil Ali Khan Ashq, and other offspring of dastans.
key words:Dastan-e Amir Hamza colonial India Urdu prose Urdu poetry Urdu literature Persian masnawi, Punjabi qissa Sindhi waqayati bait
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