Humour and Satire in Urdu Literature

Topics: Satire, Literature, Mohsin-ul-Mulk Pages: 9 (2891 words) Published: August 21, 2013
Humour and Satire in Urdu Literature
Tazeen Gul* & Tabassum Javed**

Humour & Satire are an integral part of all forms of literature; & when the tragic part of a drama/story becomes unbearable, humour/satire provide a much needed diversion & relief. This article examines the effect of humour & satire with reference to some of the leading men of letters of Urdu literature.

Keywords: Humour, Satire, Urdu, Literature

It is difficult for human beings to always lead a solemn and glum life. They require amusement, mental relaxation and recreation of some sort. Humour is the most suitable & innocent option for this purpose. Humour can be verbal, visual or physical. Non-verbal forms of communication for example – music and art can also be humorous. Since literature is the replica of life it produces not only serious, subtle and delicate literary pieces but also the need for mild, mature and mellow compositions has always been longed for to coax and cajole the readers. To maintain the regularity and steadiness of life the elements of humour and satire are always needed. Prevalently humour and satire are used as a compound genre but they are two different words having two distinct meanings. Simon Wiesenthal is of the opinion that humour is the weapon of unarmed people: it helps people who are oppressed to smile. In fact, humour succeeds where wisdom fails. Stephen Leacock asserts: “Humour may also be defined as the kindly contemplation of the incongruities of life and the artistic expression thereof. I think this is the best I know, because I wrote it myself.”1 This classification demonstrates three important aspects, which are the ‘irregularities of life’, ‘kindly contemplation’ and ‘artistic expression’. The first point explains that a humorist does not look at the irregularities Tazeen Gul, Assistant Professor, Jinnah College for Women, University of Peshawar. ** Tabassum Javed, Lecturer, Jinnah College for Women, University of Peshawar. *

Humour and Satire in Urdu Literature

Tazeen Gul & Tabassum Javed

of life disdainfully rather gets amused with them, the second is that he deals up with comic situations and gruesomeness of life and the third point explains that a humorist adopts a very skillful manner of portraying such funny situations instead of presenting them in a blunt and boring way. Moving on to the better half of humour that is satire, sarcasm and gibe as defined by the encyclopedia Britannica; “Satire in its literary aspect, may be defined as the expression in adequate terms of the sense of amusement or disgust excited by the ridiculous or unseemly, provided that humour is the distinctly recognizable element and that the utterance is invested with literary form without humor, satire is invective; without literary form, it is mere clownish jeering”2 Abual- al-Ejaz Hafeez Siddiquee defines satire in the following words: “The comic situations of life which can be pointed out and the contemptuous aspects of life which can be opposed and humorously criticized are termed as satire”.3 The process of sarcasm shares a lot with surgery. As a surgeon dissects and opens up the human body in order to extricate it by the infected portion, similarly a satirist identifies the follies of the society and extricates it of the corruptive matters. Although it is true and admitted that a satirist definitely has the gusto and ardor of elatedness and supremacy present in him. Whatever a satirist targets he shows his soreness towards it and is desirous to modify and aspire it. Perhaps the element of sympathy is absent which is considered to be the spirit of humour. Abu-Al-Khair considering, states: “Those satirists who extract amusement and laugh at the helplessness of people can never reach the heights. A good satirist is a merciless surgeon and ruthlessly dissects but in his satire there are no signs of personal revenge or hollowness. His sole purpose is constructive and to bring forward a positive change. The...

References: L. Stephen, Humour and Humanity (Montreal: McGill Queens University Press, 1988), 11 2 Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume 20, (USA: William Benten publishers), 6 3 Abu-al-Ejaz, H. Sadeeqi, Akshaf Tanqeedi Istalahat (Islamabad: Muqtadira Qaumi Zuban, 1985), 121 4 Abu-al-Kher Kashafi, Hamarey Ehad Ka Adab Oar Adeeb (Qamar Kitab Ghar, 1971), 57 5 Shabi-ul-Hassan, Mafahim (Lahore: Izhar Sons, 1989), 6 6 Mehar I. Nadeem & Uz-Zama L. Khan, Compiler Khatoot-e-Rasheed Ahmad Siddiquee, Vol: 7 (Multan: Multan Art Forum, 2006), 314 7 M. Alam Khan, Chand Naey Adabi Masael (Lahore: Pakistan Books and Literary Sounds, 1991) 60 8 Rasheed Ahmad Siddiquee, Alighar Magazine (March, 1944) 24 9 S. Javed, Athar & Rasheed Ahmad Saddique, Shakseeat-o-Fan, 2nd Edition (Hayderabad: National Book Depot, 1954),145 10 W. Agha, Urdu Adab Mein Tanz-o-Mazah (Lahore: Jadeed Nashreen, 1966), 236 11 S. Abdullah Urdu Adab 1957 ta 1966 (Maktaba-e-Khayaban-e-Adab, (1967), 161 12 Ahmad A. Saroor, Tanqeedi Isharey (Lakhnaow: Idarae Farog-e-Urdu, 1955), 32 13 Ibid. 14 H. Nawaz, (compiler), Urdu Adab Besween Sadi Mein (Lahore: Maqbool Academy, 1988), 367
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