From the Foreword: This book contains my essays and reviews of Urdu books published, mostly, in The News on Sunday and some of them in Dawn. I began writing in English some four years ago, quite accidentally. What made me subscribe frequently to The News on Sunday particularly was the realisation that there was a dearth of writings in English on how Urdu literature had tackled the issue of modernity and coloniality. I believe modern Urdu literature cannot be understood and properly evaluated without taking stock of its nature of engagement with coloniality and its multiple forms. Colonial modernity is the proper context of modern Urdu literature. Modern Urdu poetry, fiction and criticism adopted and sometimes devised host of ways and strategies to confront colonial modernity ranging from assimilation to defying to refraining to corroborating. So, most of the essays, in one way or other, deal with the trinity of Urdu, modernity and coloniality. As all of these essays were written for newspapers so the author was bound to abide by the word limit set by the editors.
From Farah Zia (former editor The News on Sunday):
Nasir Abbas Nayyar was already an established literary critic in 2016 when he chose newspaper writing in English. These were essays around themes of coloniality and modernity but also about politics of language and literature; exploring philosophical concerns that connect Urdu literature with the wider world literature, and a lot more. Here were some new, utterly refreshing, ideas being explored in English language journalism which was struggling to cover local literature and culture in its weekend editions fairly seriously, a practice that Urdu language papers could not sustain. Incidentally, this was the year when Nayyar came out with his first book of short stories in Urdu Khak Ki Mahek which took the literary world by storm, because of its unique voice and themes. His prolific pen has not stopped in the last five years, producing more books of fiction and literary criticism, and columns and essays in both Urdu and English. His contributions in English not only stayed regular, they became more diverse in scope. He focused on individual genres making apt comparisons. He also wrote valuable obituaries of literary giants like Naiyyer Masud, Khalida Hussain and Saqi Faruqi, that carry a critic’s definitive mark about the worth of their works. These contributions put together in a book Coloniality, Modernity and Urdu Literature bring into sharp focus the depth and breadth of Nasir Abbas Nayyar’s genius. We can’t but be thankful to him and the publisher for it.
Title: Coloniality, Modernity and Urdu Literature
Author: Nasir Abbas Nayyar
Subject: Reviews, Essays
Number of Pages: 260