Introduction Umrao Jaan Ada (Urdu: ) )امراؤ جان اداis an Urdu novel by Mirza Hadi Ruswa (1857–1931), first published in 1899.It is considered the first Urdu novel by many and tells the story of a courtesan and poetess by the same name from 19th century Lucknow, as recounted by her to the author,while published in English in 1970.
Author Mirza Muhammad Hadi Ruswa (Urdu: (مرزا محمد ہادی رسوا 1857) – October 21, 1931) was a renowned Urdu poet and writer of fiction, plays, and treatises (mainly on religion, philosophy, and astronomy). He remained on the Nizam of Awadhs advisory board on language matters for years. He was well-versed in Urdu, Persian, Arabic, Hebrew, English, Latin, and Greek His famed Urdu novel, Umrao Jan Ada, published in 1899, is considered by many as the first Urdu novel. It is based on the life of a renowned Lucknow courtesan and poetess of the same name and later became the basis for Umrao Jan Ada (1972), a Pakistani film, and two Indian films, Umrao Jaan (1981) and Umrao Jaan (2006). The novel was also the basis of a Pakistani television serial, Umrao Jan Ada, which aired in 2003.
HistoryAccording to the novel, the story of Umrao Jaan wasrecounted by her, to the author, when he happened tomeet her, during a mushaira (poetry gathering) inLucknow. On listening to her couplets, the author alongwith Mushi Ahmad, a novel and poetry enthusiastpresent at the gathering, convinces Umrao Jaan to shareher life story with them. In course of time, Mirza startsnoting down her story, and in the end shares the textwith her. After initial annoyance, she eventually correctsit as well.Thus the novel is written in first person as amemoir. The book was first published by Munshi GulabSingh and Sons Press, Lucknow in 1899.
ThemeThe novel is known for its elaborateportrayal of mid-19th century Lucknow, itsdecadent society, and also describes as asubtext, the moral hypocrisy of thepatriarchal system of the times, whereUmrao Jaan also becomes the symbol ofa nation that had long attracted manysuitors who were only looking to exploither.
Plot SummaryUmarao Jaan is born as Amiran to a modest family in Faizabad. After the criminal Dilivar Khan is released from jail hedecides to get revenge as her father witnessed against him in court. Khan kidnaps Amiran and decides to sell her inLucknow. She is imprisoned with another girl, Ram Dai, but the two are separated when Dilivar Khan takes her to Lucknow.There she is sold for 150 rupees to Khanum Jaan, the head tawaif of a kotha. She is renamed Umrao and begins to studyclassical music and dance. Together with the other apprentice tawaif and Gauhar Mirza, the mischievous illegitimate son ofa local Nawab, she is taught to read and write in both Urdu and Persian. As Umrao grows up, she is surrounded by a cultureof luxury, music and poetry. She eventually gains her first client, (earning her the suffix of jaan) but prefers the impoverishedGauhar Mirza, her friend.Umrao Jaan attracts the handsome and wealthy Nawab Sultan. The couple fall in love, but after a jealous customer tries tostart a fight with Nawab Sultan, he shoots him and the jealous customer Zabardast Khan dies. He no longer comes to thekotha and Umrao Jaan must meet him secretly , by the help of Gauhar Mirza. As Umrao Jaan continues to see NawabSultan and also serve other clients, she supports Gauhar Mirza with her earnings. A new client, the mysterious Faiz Ali,showers Umrao Jaan with jewels and gold, but warns her not to tell anyone about his gifts. When he invites her to travel toFarrukhabad, Khanum Jaan refuses so Umrao Jaan must run away. On the way to Farrukhabad, they are attacked bysoldiers and Umrao Jaan discovers that Faiz is a dacoit and all of his gifts have been stolen goods. Faiz Ali escapes with hisbrother Fazl Ali and she is imprisoned, but luckily one of the tawaif from Khanum Jaans kotha is in the service of the Rajawhose soldiers arrested her so Umrao Jaan is freed. As soon as she leaves the Rajas court, Faiz Ali finds her and gets herto come with him. He is soon captured and Umrao Jaan, reluctant to return to Khanum Jaan, sets up as a tawaif in Kanpur.While she is performing in the house of a kindly Begum, armed bandits led by Fazl Ali try to rob the house, but leave whenthey see that Umrao Jaan is there. Then Gauhar Mirza comes to Kanpur and she decides to return to the kotha.Umrao Jaan performs at the court of Wajid Ali Shah until the Siege of Lucknow forces her to flee the city for Faizabad. Thereshe finds her mother, but is threatened by her brother who considers her a disgrace and believes she would be better offdead. Devastated, Umrao Jaan returns to Lucknow now that the mutiny is over. She meets the Begum from Kanpur again inLucknow and discovers that she is actually Ram Dai. By a strange twist of fate Ram Dai was sold to the mother of NawabSultan and the two are now married. Another ghost of Umrao Jaans past is put to rest when Dilivar Khan is arrested andhung for robbery. With her earnings and the gold that Faiz Ali gave her, she is able to live comfortably and eventually retiresfrom her life as a tawaif.
POETRY OF NOVEL The novel consists upon prose and poetry both. It has beautiful poetry as well as prose.
MEDIA Over the years the novel has inspired many films both in India and Pakistan. First it was made into a Pakistani film in 1972, Umrao Jaan Ada, starring Rani and Shahid and directed by Hasan Tariq,then into three Indian films: Mehndi (1958) by director S.M. Yusuf, the 1981 film Umrao Jaan, made by Muzaffar Ali and Umrao Jaan by J.P. Dutta
PAKISTAN(2003) TELEVISION The novel was also the theme of a Pakistani television serial, Umrao Jan Ada, aired in 2003.It was directed by Rana Sheikh and the storyline was written by poet Zehra Nigah. Cast:Bushra Ansari, Atiqa Odho, Meera, Resham, Amina Bano, Sadia Imam, Adnan Siddiqui, Humayun Saeed, Gia Ali
INDIA(1981) Made by Muzaffar Ali Starring: Rekha NASIR-UD-DUN Shah Farooqe Shaikh And Others….
INDIA(2006) Made by:J.P.Dutta Starring: Ashwariya Rai Abhishaik Bachan Shabana Azmi Sunail Shaithi And Others
ENDUMRAO JAAN ADA is not only a novel,but it shows us the picture of old andtraditional sub-continent especiallyLUCKNOW….