Hoshruba (www.hoshruba.com), the longest magical epic ever written, will commence publication in Spring 2009. It is the first of a projected twenty-four volume translation of the eight thousand page Urdu language fantasy work.
The classic, unknown to western literature, was compiled from oral storytelling traditions by two of Urdu language’s greatest prose writers, Muhammad Husain Jah and Ahmed Husain Qamar, from 1883 to 1893. The translation is by Musharraf Ali Farooqi, who recently made the internationally acclaimed translation of The Adventures of Amir Hamza (www.amirhamza.com) for the Modern Library.
The world of Hoshruba is a window into the lesser-known aspects of the Indo-Islamic civilization and its secular literary heritage. The personalities of the characters met in Hoshruba reveal the rich cultural society of the mid-nineteenth Indo-Islamic society which was their inspiration.
The first book of the Hoshruba series begins with the giant Laqa entering Hoshruba’s protection, and its sorcerer emperor finding himself at war with Laqa’s arch enemy, Amir Hamza, the Lord of the Auspicious Planetary Conjunction, who pursues the giant with his numerous tricksters and a young prince–the yet to be known conqueror-designate of Hoshruba. When the prince is kidnapped by the devious trickster girls sent by the sorcerer emperor, it falls to an extraordinary trickster and a rebel sorceress to continue his mission. A villain endearing for his humanity, dazzlingly beautiful and cruel sorceresses, talismanic beasts, and the endlessly resourceful trickster-girls make a small part of the magical world of HOSHRUBA.
There are no existing narrative texts with which HOSHRUBA can be compared in either eastern or western literature. Two of the Islamic world’s best known classics, the Arabic ALF LAILA WA LAILA (The Thousand and One Nights) and the Persian SHAHNAMEH (The Book of Kings) are essentially collections of unrelated episodes and do not offer a sustained narrative. This epic work of imaginative literature makes a strong case for the complex layers of Islamic societies and their engaging and enchanting parallel worlds reflected in their literature.
The project website (www.hoshruba.com) reproduces the very interesting history of the epic and the riveting and often tragic tale of its authors and narrators.