April 4, 2006.

Poles apart, but fans of Ghalib

Poet Subject Of Polish Indologist`s Book, Firaq Next

By Avijit Ghosh/TNN

New Delhi: Urdu`s finest poet Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib may be forgotten in the city he lived and loved so much. But thanks to a doctor in Warsaw, Poland is enjoying his ghazals more than ever before.
Janusz Krzyzowski, also a leading Indologist, has translated 40 ghazals by the 19th-century poet and put them together in a book titled Mirza Ghalib. "My next book, an anthology of eight modern Urdu poets, is ready to pront. After that I will work on Firaq Gorakhpuri," says Krzyzowski, who has also translated top Persian poets such as Rumi, Hafiz and Omar Khayyam in the past.
By his own admission, Krzyzowski cannot speak either Urdu or Persian. But with the help of co-translator Surendra Bhutani, who taught international politics in Warsaw before and now promotes Indian

studies in Poland, he has translated these ghazals in rhyme. "He doesn`t like blank verse," say Bhutani. Before Ghalib, the duo had jointly translated another famous Urdu poet Mir Taqi Mir`s ghazals. "After the collapse of communism, the Poles have been attracted to Oriental literature.

Here Urdu ghazals have received recognition in literary circles. And Krzyzowski`s works have become milestones," says Bhutani, who studied in JNU.
In an e-mail interview, Krzyzowski says that the books have drawn "enthusiastic" response in the east European country. However, the sales are "not so good", admits the Polish doctor-writer, who enjoyed watching Hindi films such as Lagaan and Ghatak and obviously, the Gulzar television serial, Mirza Ghalib. The project was financed by Indian Council for Cultural Relations.
India is being noticed in Poland nowadays. A Shah Rukh Khan film festival was held last year. Movies such as Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham is available with Polish subtitles. And recently Yashraj Films shot their forthcoming feature Fanaa with Aamir Khan, Kajol and Suneil Shetty in a hill station named Zakopane. "They needed a background of Kashmir," says Bhutani.


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