Gopi Chand Narang is an Indian theorist who has excellence in Urdu and English literature. He is an expert critic and writer. He is a highly qualified and efficient personality who was also a professor at many renowned institutes in the world. He has the prestigious fellowship of Sahitya Akademi in 2009 and many more notable awards on his name. The writer taught and got many lessons. Let’s see what has happened in his controversial as well as inspiring life till now.
Gopi Chand Narang was born on 11th February in 1931 in modern day Pakistani city Balochistan. Later he moved to Delhi for his further education. He graduated from University of Delhi with a Master’s degree in Urdu. In 1958, he also got a fellowship from Ministry of Education for obtaining PhD.
After his education, he took up professorship. He taught Urdu at St. Stephen’s College for a year and joined Delhi University in 1961. There he became a reader and used his skills effectively. He went on to abroad as visiting professor and gave some lectures in Universities of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Oslo. He re-joined the University of Delhi in 1986 but before that he taught at Jamia Millia Islamia University in the same city. He resigned from Delhi University in 1995 and ten years later, the institution honoured him with Professor Emeritus, which is a prestige for Narang.
He is known for his teaching but besides that he also became vice-chairman of the Delhi Urdu Academy from 1996 to 1999 and National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language in the period 1998–2002. He was president of the Sahitya Akademi from 2003 till 2007 when he received its fellowship.
Publications in Urdu and Plagiarism
He wrote famous volumes of Hindustani Qisson se Makhooz Urdu Masnaviyan (1961), Urdu Ghazal aur Hindustani Zehn-o-Tehzeeb (2002) and Hindustan ki Tehreek-e-Azadi aur Urdu Shairi (2003). He is a sociolinguist, so he penned down Hindavi Kalaam (1987), Saniha-e-Karbala bataur Sheri Isti’ara (1986) and Urdu Zabaan aur Lisaniyaat (2006). Besides, his first book Karkhandari Dialect of Delhi Urdu also speaks about social and cultural variations from generations.
He has command over Hindi, Urdu and English language and published over 60 books in them. They have been translated in many languages. Gopi Chand Narang’s words have the essence of Urdu language which makes them sound rhythmic as well as serious. The writer very well knows the impact this language can have on people and has cleverly used them to motivate masses.
But his works have been accused of plagiarism. This is where his life gets a controversial twist. People have claimed that he has copied from Sahitya Akademi’s book ‘Sakhtiyat, Pas-Sakhtiyat aur Mashriqui’. He led the institute as its president for four years and has been alleged of corruption during that time. Evidences have been provided by professors of Sahitya Akademi but Narang never gave a response.
Good and bad go hand in hand and there are always people who cannot tolerate your success. Gopi Chand Narang has taken up this lesson. He never let the haters hinder his progress.
Achievements and Awards
He received recognition for his hard work and pieces produced. His list of honours is almost never ending. It is given below:
- Indira Gandhi Memorial Fellow of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts from 2002–2004
- Resident of the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center in Italy (1997)
- Mazzini Gold Medal of Italy (2005)
- Amir Khusrow Award (1987)
- Canadian Academy of Urdu Language and Literature Award (1987)
- Association of Asian Studies (Mid-Atlantic Region) Award (1982)
- European Urdu Writers Society Award (2005)
- Urdu Markaz International Award (1995)
- Alami Farogh-e-Urdu Adab Award (1998)
- Narang received the President’s National Gold Medal from Pakistan for his work on Allama Iqbal (1977)
- Padma Bhushan (2004)
- Padma Shri (1990)
- Doctor of Letters degrees (D.Litt.) from Aligarh Muslim University (2009), Maulana Azad National Urdu University (2008) and the Central University in Hyderabad (2007)
- Sahitya Akademi Award (1995)
- Ghalib Award (1985)
- Urdu Academy’s Bahadur Shah Zafar Award (2010)
- Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad Award (2010)
- Madhya Pradesh Iqbal Samman (2011)
- Bharatiya Jnanpith Moorti Devi Award (2012)
In spite of all the controversies with Sahitya Akademi it has realised the gem they had. It represented him the highest honour of its fellowship to him which he graciously accepted.
Joining Two Nations
The history of his birthplace being in Pakistan has triggered many debates against him. He is the artist who has been honoured by both India and Pakistan. His writings have inspired many and there is also a lot to take from him as a person. His confidence and skills have produced many aspiring artists. The work with Urdu language got all the votes and taught important lessons of equality among different societies.
Written By: Rituparna Desai