Gopi Chand Narang

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Gopi Chand Narang
Man receiving award in a classroom
Gopi Chand Narang (left) receiving Sahitya Akademi Fellowship
Born (1931-02-11) 11 February 1931 (age 84)
Dukki, British India (Present day in Loralai Distt. Baluchistan, Pakistan)
Occupation Urdu writer
Alma mater University of Delhi
Notable awards Padma Bhushan (2004) Sahitya Akademi Award (1995), Ghalib Award (1985), President of Pakistan Gold Medal (1977), Iqbal Samman (2011), Professor Emeritus, Delhi University (2005–present), Moorti Devi Award (2012)

Gopi Chand Narang (born 11 February 1931 in Dukki, Balochistan) is an Indian theorist, literary critic and scholar who writes in Urdu and English. His Urdu literary criticism has incorporated a range of modern theoretical frameworks including stylistics, structuralism, post-structuralism and Eastern poetics.


Narang received a master's degree in Urdu from the University of Delhi, and a research fellowship from the Ministry of Education to complete his PhD in 1958.

Teaching career[edit]

Narang taught Urdu literature at St. Stephen's College (1957–58) before joining Delhi University, where he became a reader in 1961. In 1963 and 1968 he was a visiting professor at the University of Wisconsin, also teaching at the University of Minnesota and the University of Oslo. Narang joined Jamia Millia Islamia University in New Delhi as a professor in 1974, rejoining the University of Delhi from 1986–1995. In 2005, the university named him a professor emeritus.

Narang's first book (Karkhandari Dialect of Delhi Urdu) was published in 1961, a sociolinguistic analysis of a neglected dialect spoken by indigenous workers and artisans Delhi. He has published over 60 books in Urdu, English and Hindi.


Narang has had a long interest in Urdu's hybrid nature and plurality. In response to the post-partition politicalisation and communalisation of the language, he conducted a scientific discourse establishing the Indian cumulative-unconscious roots of Urdu language and literature, uncovering its links to the Indian psyche.[citation needed] This produced three studies: Hindustani Qisson se Makhooz Urdu Masnaviyan (1961), Urdu Ghazal aur Hindustani Zehn-o-Tehzeeb (2002) and Hindustan ki Tehreek-e-Azadi aur Urdu Shairi (2003). Narang's related volumes—Amir Khusrow ka Hindavi Kalaam (1987), Saniha-e-Karbala bataur Sheri Isti'ara (1986) and Urdu Zabaan aur Lisaniyaat (2006)—are socio-cultural and historical studies. Amir Khusrow is based on a rare manuscript he found at the Berlin State Library and contains 150 previously-unknown Hindavi ghazals by the poet.

Narang's works touch upon a number of genres: ghazal to masnavi, short story to novel and Arabic Persian and Sanskrit poetics to structuralism and post-structuralism. He re-examines and re-evaluates the entire range of Urdu poetry, including Mir, Ghalib, Anis, Iqbal, Faiz and Firaq.[citation needed]

Sakhtiyaat, Pas-sakhtiyat aur Mashriqui Sheriyaat (Structuralism, Post-structuralism and Eastern Poetics) (1993) is an overview and discussion of how language constructs reality.[citation needed] Narang draws parallels between Saussure's sound patterns of words and concepts (psychological phenomena) and ancient Indian thinkers' and grammarians' distinction between prakrita dhvani (the psychological) and vaikrita dhvani (the physical).[citation needed] He connects Saussure's view (that in language nothing has value, except in opposition to something else) with the Buddhist concept of apoha, in which the meaning of a word is what it is not. The book has been translated into Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Punjabi, Malayalam, Kannada, Nepali, Maithili, Oriya, Kashmiri, Marathi and Gujarati. His 2009 Fiction Sheriyaat: Tashkeel-o-Tanqeed (Poetics of Fiction: Formation and Criticism) discusses how fiction readjusts innate human impulses.[citation needed] Contrary to the romantic concept of the writer, Narang writes that a writer’s mind is rooted in history and culture, and what he produces draws from previous texts. His Readings in Literary Urdu Prose (1968), published by the University of Wisconsin Press and known as the "Narang Reader", is used at universities in the UK, the US, Germany, Norway, Japan and Turkey.[citation needed]

In addition to teaching, Narang was vice-chairman of the Delhi Urdu Academy (1996–1999) and the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language – HRD (1998–2004) and vice-president (1998–2002) and president (2003–2007) of the Sahitya Akademi.


Narang has been recognized for his work. He was an Indira Gandhi Memorial Fellow of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts from 2002–2004, and a 1997 resident of the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center in Italy. Narang received the Mazzini Gold Medal (Italy, 2005), the Amir Khusrow Award (Chicago, 1987), a Canadian Academy of Urdu Language and Literature Award (Toronto, 1987), an Association of Asian Studies (Mid-Atlantic Region) Award (US, 1982), a European Urdu Writers Society Award (London, 2005), an Urdu Markaz International Award (Los Angeles, 1995) and an Alami Farogh-e-Urdu Adab Award (Doha, 1998). He is the only Urdu writer honoured by the presidents of both India and Pakistan. In 1977 Narang received the President’s National Gold Medal from Pakistan for his work on Allama Iqbal, and received a Padma Bhushan (2004) and Padma Shri (1990) from India. He received honorary Doctor of Letters degrees from Aligarh Muslim University (2009), Maulana Azad National Urdu University (2008) and the Central University in Hyderabad(2007). Narang received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1995, the Ghalib Award in 1985, Urdu Academy’s Bahadur Shah Zafar Award, Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad Award (both in 2010), Madhya Pradesh Iqbal Samman (2011) and the Bharatiya Jnanpith Moorti Devi Award (2012). The Sahitya Akademi conferred on Narang its highest honour, the Fellowship, in 2009.[1]

Plagiarism and controversies[edit]

There have been charges of plagiarism against Gopi Chand Narang for copying and translating from secondary sources major portions of his Sahitya Akademi award-winning book Sakhtiyat, Pas-Sakhtiyat aur Mashriqui Sheriyat (Structuralism, Post-Structuralism and Eastern Poetics). Scholars Imran Shahid Bhinder and Prof. CM. Naim of Chicago University have provided textual evidence of plagiarism to which Narang has not responded.[2][3] There have also been allegations of corruption and controversial appointments under his Presidency of Sahitya Akademi, which he headed from 2003 to 2007.[4][5]


Narang has published more than 60 scholarly and critical books on language, literature, poetics and cultural studies; many have been translated into other Indian languages.


  1. ^ "Fellows & Honorary Fellows". Sahitya Akademi. Retrieved 18 May 2014. 
  2. ^ "Plagiarize And Prosper | C.M. Naim". Retrieved 2014-08-20. 
  3. ^ "The Emperor's New Clothes | C.M. Naim". Retrieved 2014-08-20. 
  4. ^ "War And No Peace | Sugata Srinivasaraju". Retrieved 2014-08-20. 
  5. ^ "Bibliofile". Retrieved 2014-08-20. 

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Narang, Gopi Chand in Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature, Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, 1989, ISBN 81-260-1804-6.
  • Jadeed Adabi Theory aur Gopi Chand Narang by Maula Bakhsh, New Delhi, 2009, ISBN 978-81-8223-536-6.
  • Deedawar Naqqad by Shahzad Anjum, New Delhi, 2002, ISBN 8187667648.
  • Insha Special number on Gopi Chand Narang, ed. by F. S. Ejaz, Kolkata, 2005, ISBN 8186346198.
  • Gopi Chand Narang: Bainul Aqwami Urdu Shakhsiyat, ed. by Nand Kishore Vikram, New Delhi 2008, ISBN 9788188298020.
  • Kaarwan-e Adab‍ '​s special issue on Gopi Chand Narang, ed. by Javed Yazdani and Kausar Siddiqui, Bhopal, March 2012. RNI No.: MPURD/2005/16563.