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The Arts

Eminent Urdu Scholar Gopi Chand Narang Passes Away at 91

He was awarded the prestigious Sitara-i-Imtiaz (Star of Excellence) (2012) by the Government of Pakistan and Padma Bhushan (2004) and Padma Shri (1990) by the government of India.

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New Delhi: Eminent Urdu scholar, literary critic and former chairperson of Sahitya Akademi, professor Gopi Chand Narang passed away in the United States on Wednesday, June 15 at the age of 91.

He was living with his son Dr. Tarun Narang in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Narang was born in Dukki, a a district in the Balochistan province of Pakistan. According to a tribute to Narang in the Indian Express, he was introduced to literature by his father, who was a scholar of various languages including Baluchi, Pashto, Sanskrit and Persian. After the Partition, Narang moved to Delhi’s Karol Bagh.

According to the Hindu, professor Narang started his teaching career at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University. He also taught at the University of Minnesota, the University of Oslo, and University of Wisconsin. After Wisconsin, professor Narang returned to India to teach at Jamia Millia Islamia and rejoined Delhi University in 1986.

He worked extensively on explaining and analysing the works of Ghalib, Mir Taqi Mir and later Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Firaq Gorakhpuri. He penned about 60 books, and also designed 10 books for children under the title Let’s Learn Urdu in English and Hindi.

He was awarded the prestigious Sitara-i-Imtiaz (Star of Excellence) (2012) by the Government of Pakistan and Padma Bhushan (2004) and Padma Shri (1990) by the Government of India. As per news reports, he is the only Urdu writer to be honoured by the presidents of both India and Pakistan.

In 1995, professor Narang won the Sahitya Akademi Award for his comprehensive work Sakhtiyat, Pas-Sakhtiyat aur Mashriqui Sheriyat (Structuralism, Post-Structuralism, and Eastern Poetics).

Also read: ‘Thinking With Ghalib’: A Book for a Time When Multi-Religious Thought Is Under Attack

Some of the Urdu books written by him include Ameer Khusroo Ka Hindavi Kalam (Ameer Khusro Society Of America, Chicago, 1987); Ghalib (Sahitya Academy, Delhi, 2013); Kaghaz-E-Aatish Zada (Delhi, 2011); and Rajinder Sing Bedi (Sahitya Academy, Delhi, 2009).