In a captivating revelation at the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), a distinctive literary creation titled “Itrdaan” was introduced to the literary enthusiasts. Authored by Dubai-based Indian expatriate Shadab Ulfat, this 326-page book provides a compelling journey through the history of Urdu writing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“Itrdaan,” translating to “fragrance” in English, unfolds its narrative across three distinct parts. The first section delves into the profound influence exerted by historical figures on the evolution of Urdu literature within the UAE. Meanwhile, the second part meticulously showcases the contemporary authors contributing to the rich tapestry of Urdu literary works in the region. The final segment introduces the vibrant voices that are shaping the future landscape of Urdu literature in the UAE.
With Urdu ranking as the world’s tenth most spoken language, Ulfat’s book sheds light on the substantial contributions of over 180 residents of the UAE to this linguistic heritage.
Motivated by the nostalgic recollections of elders reminiscing about the golden era of Urdu gatherings, Ulfat embarked on a two-year odyssey to capture these memories and invaluable contributions. “I was deeply moved by our elders, who would fondly reminisce about the bygone days of Urdu when we gathered together,” shared Ulfat. “Their inspirational tales prompted me to set out on a two-year quest to immortalize their memories and priceless contributions within the pages of this book.”
The entire publishing journey, from the book launch to the meticulous management of the process, was overseen by Bazm e Urdu, an organization rooted in Dubai with a mission to foster the growth of Urdu language and literature within the country. For numerous years, Bazm e Urdu has forged strong partnerships with the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) and the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF). Their collaborative efforts have extended to organizing engaging events for schools during the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF) and hosting captivating celebrity talk shows and book launches at SIBF. Notably, this edition of the fair marks a significant milestone for Bazm e Urdu as it proudly debuts its own stall, a testament to the organization’s evolving role and presence within the literary landscape.
Ulfat, who has previously penned a book, a collection of poetry, and a travelogue, emphasized the importance of preserving this rich legacy. “I felt it was crucial to maintain this rich legacy,” he stated, underscoring the significance of documenting and celebrating the enduring impact of Urdu literature in the cultural mosaic of the UAE.