Key Figures in Modern Indian Literature

I set myself the following task: "Find out more about moderns: Ghalib, Iqbal, Tagore, Prem Chand, and even Rushdie etc." as part of the broader effort to come up with a reasonable canon for Indian literature.


I looked at Iqbal first - I have photocopy of Iqbal's Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam (that I xeroxed from my college library before graduation), and even has a copy of Selections from the Iqbal Review (that I bought in Singapore in 1997), but my interest used to be religious philosophy in the 20th century, so I couldn't find much useful information about Iqbal as a poet.


But there is a site with all the writings on Iqbal online

I was surprised to find that R.A. Nicholson (translator of Rumi's Matthnawi) was at one point Iqbal's teacher, and another of Nicholson's student, A.J.Arberry (translator of the English version of Koran most commonly used in academia) is also a translator of Iqbal's long poetry named Javidnama. Iqbal is clearly influential, and revered in Pakistan. As I read more though, it becomes clear to me that Indian literature starting 20th century has too many stars ... as is normal as there are really just a century (3 generations) away when canonization has not fully been completed. We are still in the dark whether in 1-2 century's time, whether Iqbal or Tagore for example would be considered the more accomplished author. Nor do we know whether Prem Chand - acknowledged everywhere as a key figure in Urdu/Hindi prose literature - would later be considered a true pioneer who remains unsurpassed, or whether he is just a stepping stone towards Rushdie.


With that reflection, I gave up further looking into the "moderns" whose primary creative period lied in the 20th century - though Ghalib is a different matter. Ghalib is a 19th century author, and acknowledged as the greatest poet of Urdu (per Chap. 29 of Basham 1984) - yet his style is considered there to be backward-looking.


Part of my search is to see what additional works / authors should be included if my list of 36 is to be expanded 2x, 3x, 4x or 5x. And in such an expanded list, names like Goethe, Jane Austen, or one of Pushkin / Tolstoy / Dostoevsky from primarily the 19th century would clearly be included. Thus among the moderns, Ghalib's name remains on my list. I have also added this book  on my Amazon cart.

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