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Urdu lessons from Pakistan

Author Musharraf Ali Farooqi picks his favourite Urdu words

By Cheryl-Ann Couto  March 4th, 2014

Musharraf Ali Farooqi’s publishing house, Kitab, is an attempt to re-acquaint Pakistani children with Urdu literature. The author picks his favourite words from the fading language.


Origin: Persian

“It is the word that comes closest to describing a heightened experience of emotion, except ‘soz’ is mostly used for an auditory experience. Any genre of poetry recited with ‘soz’ can haunt or appeal in a way that is impossible to disregard.


Origin: Hindi

It could mean something or someone unknown; we ourselves could become‘anjaan’ to those we know by wearing the mask of dissimulation.


Origin: Arabic

Death or destiny – two autonomous forces, of which one shepherds our lives and the other brings them to their end. It reminds us that our lives are not ideas, but matter that disintegrates.


Origin: Arabic

The world, the present world and what it contains. It is what is given to us with our lives and is taken from us at the same time as our lives.


Origin: Persian

Dark or obscure; it can have many connotations for both relationships and knowledge. Like areas of knowledge, segments of even intimate relationships can remain ‘tareek’ to us in our lives.


Origin: Persian

Among other things, it means ‘face’ or ‘countenance’. It is the ‘rukh’ we long for when we fondly remember and desire someone.”