Gopi Chand Narang
|Gopi Chand Narang|
Gopi Chand Narang left receiving Sahitya Akademi highest honour Fellowship
11 February 1931 |
Dukki, British India
|Alma mater||University of Delhi|
|Notable award(s)||Padma Bhushan, 2004 Sahitya Akademi Award, 1993 Ghalib Award, 1985 President of Pakistan Gold Medal, 1977 Iqbal Samman, 2011 Professor Emeritus, Delhi University, 2005– Bhariya Jnanpith Moorti Devi Award, 2012|
Gopi Chand Narang (born on 11 February 1931 in Dukki, Baluchistan) is an India-based theorist, literary critic and scholar writing in Urdu and English. His work in Urdu literary criticism has incorporated a range of modern theoretical frameworks including stylistics, structuralism, post-structuralism and Eastern poetics.
Narang did MA in Urdu from University of Delhi in 1954 and got Research Fellowship by the Ministry of Education to complete his PhD in 1958.
Narang started teaching Urdu literature at the St. Stephen’s College (1957–58) and after a brief stint; joined Delhi University and became a Reader in 1961. In 1963, he joined the University of Wisconsin as a Visiting Professor and was re-invited for a second term by the same University in 1968. He also taught at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and University of Oslo, Norway. Professor Narang joined Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi as a Professor in 1974, and after serving Jamia for twelve years, he rejoined University of Delhi in 1986 and worked there till 1995. In 2005, the University of Delhi in recognition of his immense learning made him 'Professor Emeritus.
Professor Narang’s literary odyssey began with the scholarly interest in stylistics, semiotics and socio-linguistics and his first book Karkhandari Dialect of Delhi Urdu was published in 1961. It presented a sociolinguistic analysis of a neglected speech used by the indigenous workers and artisans of Delhi. Professor Gopi Chand Narang has been on the right side of many of substantial literary discourses of the twentieth century and his more than 64 books in Urdu, English and Hindi unfailingly demonstrate a sharp critical insight and a deep understanding of the contemporary ideological positions and literary debates. In his writings one can see that a variety of discourses expressing different ideological positions are in play without being evaluated by a totalising discourse.
Career and important achievements
Right from the beginning he has been intrigued by the hybrid nature and plurality of Urdu language. As a response to the post-partition parochial politicalisation and communalisation of the language, he systematically built a scientific discourse establishing the Indian cumulative unconscious roots of Urdu language and literature, and uncovered its deep-structure links with the Indian psyche and mind. This resulted in a set of three seminal inter-connected studies, namely, 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), which are core books and considered landmarks in cultural studies. His related volumes on Amir Khusrau ka Hindavi Kalaam (1987), Saniha-e-Karbala bataur Sheri Isti’ara (1986) and Urdu Zabaan aur Lisaniyaat (2006) bear testimony of his tremendous sweep in socio-cultural and historical studies. His Amir Khusrau volume is based on the rare manuscript he discovered at the Staatsbibliothek, Berlin and contains 150 hithertofore unknown Hindavi Pahelis of the poet.
His penchant for close study of the text by employing stylistics and semiotics made him one of the gifted disseminators of new literary theories. Professor Narang’s writings are not only aimed at suggesting possibilities in reading literature but also touch upon every genre from Ghazal to Masnavi, short story to novel and Arabic Persian poetics and Sanskrit poetics to structuralism and post-structuralism. He deftly applied his profound learning and speculative intelligence by roping in these approaches and insights to re-examine and re-evaluate the whole range of Urdu poetry including Mir, Ghalib, Anis, Iqbal, Faiz, Firaq and a host of others.
Sakhtiyaat, Pas-sakhtiyat aur Mashriqui Sheriyaat (1993) (Structuralism, Post-structuralism and Eastern Poetics) is a philosophical and rhetorical tour de force of his scholarship. The book not only provides a veritable overview but proffers a wealth of discussion on the concept of language and how it constructs reality. Professor Narang is at his most persuasive when he draws parallels between Saussure’s sound patterns of words and concepts "Psychological Phenomena" and ancient Indian thinkers' and grammarians' candid distinction between Prakrita dhvani (Psychological) and Vaikrita dhvani (physical). Narang connects Saussure’s view that in language nothing has value except in opposition to something else with the Apoha theory of the Buddhist thinkers who pointed out that meaning of a word is not in its positivity but in the contra-distinction of its correlates.
The book attempts to set up a tripartite dialogue between Sanskrit Poetics, Arabic-Persian Poetics and Structuralism. Narang has quickened the relatively ignored Eastern Poetics with the glow of his probing mind and gleaned up early signs of contemporary literary theories from the dead past. The internal evidence is convincing in its precision and application. Having yoked Eastern Poetics with Structuralism and Post-Structuralism, Narang initiates a rich discussion on the new model of criticism. The debate also explores the simultaneous quest for a universal and national identity. This work has been translated into many Indian languages: Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Punjabi, Malayalam, Kannada, Nepali, Maithili, Oriya, Kashmiri, Marathi, Gujarati). His recent work Fiction Sheriyaat: Tashkeel-o-Tanqeed (2009) (Poetics of Fiction: Formation and Criticism), proffers a perceptive discussion on how fiction readjusts innate human impulses.
Contrary to the widely accepted romantic concept of the writer, Narang points out that the writer’s mind is firmly rooted in history and culture, and whatever he produces draws heavily from previous texts. He cogently delineates that culture is not an oppressive theological and monocratic concept, but subsumes different and divergent points of view, attitudes and ideological aspirations. In other words, a cultural system gives birth to a text, and the text produces various tissues of culture that fire human imagination.
Professor Narang’s book Readings in Literary Urdu Prose (1968) published by the University of Wisconsin Press, popularly known as ‘Narang Reader’, is widely used at several Universities in UK, USA, Germany, Norway, Japan and Turkey as teaching material.
Besides teaching, Professor Narang served many an institution in apex positions with rare zeal and dedication. He was vice-chairman, Delhi Urdu Academy (1996–1999), Vice-Chairman, National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language – HRD (1998–2004), Vice-President, Sahitya Akademi (1998–2002) and President, Sahitya Akademi (2003–2007). Wherever he worked he strengthened the institutions, increased the pace and showed results.
Fully committed to pluralism and liberalism Professor Gopi Chand Narang has always raised his voice against parochialism, religious fanaticism and social injustice. He stresses the role of ideology but believes that literature goes beyond the narrow confines of ideology and literature’s essence is freedom. For him Urdu is the conduit language of interfaith harmony and has served as a bridge between Hindus and Muslims for centuries.
Awards and recognition
An accomplished litterateur Professor Narang has won awe-inspiring recognition the world over for his outstanding contribution to literature. Professor Narang was Indira Gandhi Memorial Fellow of the IGNCA (2002–2004), and Rockefeller Foundation Fellow for Residency at Bellagio, Italy (1997). He received Mazzini Gold Medal (Italy, 2005), Amir Khusro Award (Chicago, 1987), Canadian Academy of Urdu Language and Literature Award (Toronto, 1987), Association of Asian Studies, Mid Atlantic Region, USA Award (1982), European Urdu Writers Society Award (London, 2005), Urdu Markaz International Award (Los Angeles, 1995), Alami Farogh-e-Urdu Adab Award (Doha-Qatar, 1998).His invaluable contribution is acknowledged in the Dictionary of International Biography, Cambridge, UK. He is the only Urdu writer honoured by both the President of India and the President of Pakistan. In 1977, he got the President’s National Gold Medal from Pakistan for his illuminating work on Allama Iqbal. Back home his achievements fetched him Padma Bhushan (2004) and Padma Shri (1990). Three premier central universities of the country – Aligarh Muslim University, Maulana Azad National Urdu University and the Central University, Hyderabad, have conferred D. Litt. Honoris Causa on him in 2009, 2008 and 2007 respectively. He received the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award in 1995 and the Ghalib Award in 1985, Urdu Academy’s Bahadur Shah Zafar Award, Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad Award (both 2010), Madhya Pradesh Iqbal Samman (2011) and Bharatiya Jnanpith Moorti Devi Award (2012).
In recognition of Professor Narang’s invaluable and seminal contribution to the advancement of scholarship in general and his meritorious service to the cause of Indian literature and Urdu in particular, the Sahitya Akademi conferred on Professor Narang its highest honour, the Fellowship in 2009.
More than 64 books, including his scholarly and critical work on language, literature, poetics and cultural studies. Many of his books have been translated into different Indian languages; more than 15 books have been written on him including 5 M.Phil. and Ph.D. theses.
- Padma Bhushan, 2004.
- Padma Shri, 1991.
- Professor Emeritus, Delhi University, 2005–.
- Mazzini Gold Medal by the Government of Italy, 2005.
- Ghalib Award, 1985.
- U.P. Urdu Academy Maulana Azad Award, 1972.
- Amir Khusrau Award from AKSA, Chicago, 1987.
- Canadian Academy of Urdu Language & Lit. Award, 1987.
- Sahitya Akademi Award, 1995 for Sakhtiyaat Pas-Sakhiyaat aur Mashriqi Shriyaat (criticism)
- Indira Gandhi Memorial Fellowship, IGNCA, 2002–2004.
- European Urdu Writers Society Award, London, 2005.
- Alami Farogh-e Urdu Adab Award, Doha-Qatar, 1998.
- D.Litt. Honoris Causa by Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, 2009.
- D.Litt. Honoris Causa by Central University, Hyderabad, 2007.
- D.Litt. Honoris Causa by Maulana National Urdu University, Hyderabad, 2008.
- Bahadur Shah Zafar Award, Urdu Academy, Delhi 2010.
- Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad Award, Kolkata, 2010.
- Iqbal Samman, Madhya Pradesh, Bhopal, 2011.
- Bharatiya Jnanpith Moortidevi Award, New Delhi, 2012.
- Recipient of Ford Foundation Grant, 1964.
- Commonwealth Fellowship 1962.
"Language is not only being; it is also the interface of culture. Language is not the medium; it is the condition of literature." Template:Urdu Zaban aur Lisaniyaat, New Delhi, 2006
* Gopi Chand Narang- Versatile Scholar & Writer( FacenFacts.com)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gopi Chand Narang.|
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- Youtube : TV Coverage Aligarh Alumni – DC Host Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi & Gopi Chand Narang, DC
- High priest of Urdu: Gopi Chand Narang by Feroze Bakht Ahmed (The Milli Gazette)
- Champion of Urdu in India by Rabab Naqvi (Dawn)
- 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 & Kausar Siddiqui, Bhopal, March 2012. RNI No.: MPURD/2005/16563.