When Men Speak as Women - Vocal Masquerade in Indo-Muslim Poetry

When Men Speak as Women - Vocal Masquerade in Indo-Muslim Poetry

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Author: Carla Petievich
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year: 2007
Language: multilingual
Pages: 365
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0195677382


A lovelorn concubine, a young woman on the verge of marriage, a married woman in love with another, a woman in love with God. This collection presents unusual and lesser-known love lyrics from the Indo-Muslim literary tradition that have given voice over the last five centuries to the erotic and the spiritual, the mundane and the sublime.

Translated from early Punjabi as well as Dakani and Lakhnavi Urdu, these poems were authored by men but narrated in the feminine voice. Largely forgotten today, the poets hailed from widely divergent milieux--from the Royal Courts of the Deccan, the urban sophistication of Lucknow to rural Punjab--bringing a remarkable versatility to their poetry.

Taken together, these marginalized poems trace a history of the aesthetics of love that has roots simultaneously in the mystical poetry of Sufism and in Bhakti devotionalism. Petievich argues that the poems, through their marginality, reflect how the Urdu literary canon has been constructed around concerns of gender, region, and ethnic nationalism.

The book is divided into three sections. Beginning with a comprehensive overview, Petievich prefaces each section with descriptive passages and profiles of the poets where possible.

Each poem appears in the original Urdu alongside the English translation and transliteration, making this a delightful read for connoisseurs of Urdu poetry as well as the enthusiastic beginner. It will also be useful for students and scholars of South Asian literature, culture studies, history, and religion.




Introduction to the Punjabi Kafis
All I need is one Ranjha
Don’t Veil yourself in mystery, Beloved come Embrace
Me, My Beloved
All sorrows Dispatched since the Herder’s been Mine
Your Love makes me Dance and Spin
Get Rid of the Watchman
He Lays Bare Countless Mysteries
Come Join Me, Girls, and Celebrate
Enough Now
There’s a Thief inside my Shawl
My Ranijha’s not Who He was Before
Pilgrims go to Mecca
Calling, Repeating ‘Ranjha, Ranjha’
The Spinning Wheel’s Handle Slipped Loose
The Customer’s Slipping Away...
My Lord, if I were Yours I’d be Complete
I need to go to Rajha...
Whether I be bad or Good
Open the Book, Brother Brahmin
Careless Master! My Honour’s in Your Hands
Go to My Beloved Friend
Remember the Time, Girl!
Without My Beloved the Nights have Lengthened
I Just Can’t Let it go
I’m in My Beloved’s Grip - How to say ‘Let Go!’?
What Sorrow Lies in store
Don’t Speak to me, Mother, of Kheras

Introduction to the Dakani Ghazals
I am a Candle made of Wax
My Sweetheart
Beloved, I’m Your Serving girl
Beloved, I’m Mad for the Sight of You
Sweetness doesn’t Come
Sweetheart, I’m Your Slave
Tonight in My Dreams
Girls, Let’s go to Where our Loved one Stays
Without You!
Where is that Friend
How Long Must I stay Grief Stricken?
I Crave Spending Time with My Sweetheart
A Crow descended
Sweetheart, the Time is Ripe
Beloved, I Think of You Every Instant
Lover, Never Love My Less
I Dreamt Last Night
I am Bent against this cold
Without My Sweetheart
Let Your Heart Show Through
In Contemplation of the One who Renders
Others Irrelevant
The Sun’s become My Cup of Deadly Poison
Look, Friends!
My Rival may go with the King
Love has created a homeland
The day was Brought in but no Letter
In My heart
Should My Sweetheart Call Me to his House
The Nightingale Sighs
It’s Always a Joy when My Lover
I’d trip off Head over Heels
This is What’s known as deliciousness
First You Give Your Heart to Me
Living without My Beloved
Now, in the dead of winter
Go, Friend, Tell Him
If He should come
You Never Stay Here
Separated for Many Days

Introduction to the Lakhnavi Rekhti
I’m Your Slave
Keep your distance, Nurse
Find a Way to Bring Her Here!
When did my Dear One Last come to My House?
God Forbid
You Wretched Maid
My Heart’s Desire
Noble Lady
Let Nobody Harbour Desire for Love
Darling Dogana
How Shall I?
Who can still this restless Heart?
How to Describe the Virtues of Last Night’s Guest?
This Braid of Yours
Love and Affection
This may or May Not
I Spent all Night
In the manner of Zebunnisa
After I’ve gone
She Entered the House
I’ll Give My Life for You
Dogana, why has your Affection become Bent?
What’s it to Me
Mahtab told Mehran
A bath Every Day
Whom can I Tell?