Author: Frances W Pritchett
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8187649658
Nets of Awareness is a study of an episode in the cultural and literary history of late-nineteenth-century North India: a look at how the classical ghazal, which for century had been the pride and joy of Indo-Muslim culture, was abruptly dethroned and devalued within its own milieu, and by its own theorists. The break with tradition was so sharp that nowadays some aspects of the ghazal are obscure, and others even markedly distasteful, to most modern readers.
This story takes place in North India only a little over a century ago, the blink of an eye in historical time. Worlds were in collision. The powerful momentum of the advancing British Raj encountered the political inertia of the declining Mughal Empire. This book is dedicated to the memory of Azad and Hali, and to everyone who loves classical Urdu poetry. For nowadays cultures belong to those who choose them.
Ghalib said, the poem always slips, like the imaginary anqua bird, through the finest nets of awareness. This statement aptly defines the myriad moods the ghazal aspires to capture, various facets of the lover’s experience, lamenting the pain of separation delighting in imaginary union, feeling alienated from the world, yet remains mysterious.
A NOTE ON TRANSLITERATION
PART ONE: A GARDEN NOW DESTROYED
The Lost World
Beyond a Sea if Blood
The Water of Life
PART TWO: FLOWERS ON THE BRANCH OF INVENTION
Poems Two Lines Long
The Art and Craft of Poetry
The Mind and Heart in Poetry
PART THREE: LIGHT FROM ENGLISH LANTERNS
The Cycles of Time
From Persian to English
Poetry and Morality
Appendix: A Ghazal Observed