Ralph Russell

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Professor Ralph Russell SI (Urdu: رالف رَسَل) (born 21 May 1918, died 14 September 2008) was a British scholar of Urdu literature and a Communist. He was educated at St John's College, Cambridge. He taught Urdu and Urdu literature at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and also in universities in India and Pakistan. He wrote articles and essays in Urdu and English, and attended literary seminars and workshops on the subject of his specialization.

Russell was born in Homerton, London, England, and grew up in Loughton, Essex. For much of his life he was a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain. He was awarded the Sitara-e-Imtiaz in recognition of his services to Urdu language and literature by the Government of Pakistan. Loughton Town Council installed a blue plaque to Russell on his boyhood home at 6 Queen's Road in that town, which was inaugurated with a reception given by the present owners for family, friends and colleagues, on 15 July 2013.


  • Three Mughal Poets, 1968
  • Ghalib, life and letters, 1969
  • New course in Urdu and spoken Hindi for learners in Britain, 1997
  • The pursuit of Urdu literature 1992
  • Selections from the Persian Ghazals of Ghalib with Translations 1997
  • An Anthology of Urdu Literature 1999
  • How not to write the history of Urdu literature 1999
  • The Famous Ghalib 2000
  • The Oxford India Ghalib: Life, Letters and Ghazals 2003
  • The Seeing Eye: Selection from the Urdu and Persian Ghazals of Ghalib 2003
  • Urdu in Britain (Ed), 1982
  • Ghalib: The Poet and his Age (Ed) 1997
  • A Thousand Yearnings: a Book of Urdu Poetry and Prose (Trans) 2017


  • Findings, keeping: Life, Communism and everything 2001
  • Losses, Gains published by Three Essays, New Delhi, 2010

In Urdu

  • Urdu Adab ki Justuju (Urdu translation of The Pursuit of Urdu Literature/Curiosity about Urdu literature, by Muhammad Sarwar Rija (2003)
  • Juyinda Yabinda (Urdu translation of his autobiography, by Arjumand Ara), City Press, Karachi, 2005

External links[edit]