Ruswa

Mirza Muhammad Hadi-

Born in Lucknow in 1858 and acquired his early education in Arabic, Persian , and mathematics from his Father- Agha Muhammad Taqi.  Ruswa also learnt English at La Martiniere College.

He had inherited some money but this quickly spent and had to take up a menial job.

In 1888 he joined the Christian College at Lucknow to teach Arabic and Persian, andalso taught at the Isabella Thorburn College.

Later in life he showed an open involvement in religion and some of his works appeared in the ” Al Hakam ” , which contained articles on religious matters from a Shia perspective.

In 1919 Ruswa found employment in the Bureau of translation. He also founded the bi-monthly ” Ish-Rak ” , which was a journal of philosophical ideas. This first appeared in 1884 and was the first journal of its kind in Urdu.

Ruswa also developed Urdu shorthand and also the Urdu keyboard for the use of the typewriter.

He is primarily known for his Urdu novels and in 1886 his work entitled ” Nau Bahar ” ( spring ) appeared.

He used 2 pen names 1) Mirza for his poems and 2) Ruswa for his novels.

Ruswa wrote numerous novels , the most famous of which is ” Umrao Jaan Ada ” – about the Lucknow society in the later part of the 19th century AD. It is about a Courtesan.

in 1900 Ruswa also wrote the ” Dhat i Sharif ” -about the life of a gullible and degenerate aristocrat who succumbs to sychophants.

In Sharif Zada -published in 1900- Ruswa writes the story of a person of meagre means who by virtue of character finds success. His other notable work was Akhtari Begum ( 1924 ).

However, Umrao Jaan Ada remains the masterpiece and a realistic novel. It also was the first true and recognised novel in Urdu literature.