Short Story / Afsanah

Urdu literature has included the short story form for slightly more than one hundred years. During this period it has passed through some major phases like early romantic period, progressive writings, modernist writings and current phase. Although a number of writers, both men and women, contributed to the Urdu short story literature in the first phase (including both romantic stories and social criticisms), the short story crystallized as a regular part of Urdu literature in the growth of writings of Munshi Premchand. His notable short stories are, among many others, “Kafan” and “Poos Ki Raat”. The Urdu short story gained momentum with the phenomenal publication of Angare, a collection of many writers towards the end of the life of Premchand. Writers like Ghulam Abbas, Manto, Rajinder Singh Bedi, Krishan Chander, and Ismat Chughtai, to name but a few, turned the short story into a major genre of Urdu literature.

The next generation was Urdu short story writers included Qurratulain Hyder, Qazi Abdul Sattar, and Joginder Paul. The short story tradition continues with younger generation writers like Zahida Hina and Paigham Afaqui, Syed Mohd Ashraf, and Salam Bin Razzaq.

Urdu short stories have dealt with a wide range of the dimensions of life though the most famous stories belong are about the trauma of the partition of the sub-continent and violence generated out of it. Towards the end of the last century, short stories became grounded in the complexity of daily life which can be seen in the unique collection of short stories in Paigham Afaqui‘s Mafia. Entirely different in approach is the collection of short stories Taus Chaman Ka Maina by Nayyer Masood.

Notable Urdu Short Fiction (Afsana) writers of 19th and 20th century include: