“The Naked Hens”: An Anthology of Urdu Short Stories

by Irfan Zafar

We, all of us, are as contended and conceited as we are when we pray for the soul of someone who has passed away. We feel contended because we are still alive, our fingers firm on the rosary beads or the date-stones we use to keep a count of our prayers for the dead; we are content because, at least for the time being, instead of lying wrapped in a white shroud made of long cloth, we are dressed in fabrics which cost anything..And soon enough, taking our leave of the place..we would direct our cars towards the market …. where the shopkeepers would spread the slippery, silken and soft rolls of cloth at our feet. (Page: 26. “The Naked Hens” by Altaf Fatima)

There is nothing but sorrow in the world, nirvana is an impossibility and all lands oppress. (Page: 70. “The City of Sorrow” by Intizar Husain)

All which is beneath the sky is false. (Page: 81. “The City of Sorrow” by Intizar Husain)

(“The Naked Hens”: An Anthology of Urdu Short Stories. Translated by M. Salim-Ur Rahman, poet, critic, columnist, short-story writer, translator, and editor of one of the oldest, still running literary journals, Savera— lives a hermetic life in Lahore devoted to the pursuit of literature. He has translated into urdu Homer’s “Odyssey”, Joseph Conard’s “Heart of Darkness”, Lazarillo de Tormes” and Chekhov’s “The Three Sisters”. Price: US$ 4.99)

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