Mahfil-e-Adab - Ibne Safi ki Jasusi Dunya: A Celebration of Urdu Spy Fiction

Special Event | February 23 | 3-5 p.m. | Bechtel Engineering Center, Sibley Auditorium

 Gregory Maxwell Bruce, Lecturer of Urdu, South and Southeast Asian Studies, UC Berkeley

 Institute for South Asia Studies, The Berkeley Urdu Initiative, Cal Pakistani Students Association

The Institute for South Asia Studies and the Berkeley Urdu Initiative are proud to host an evening of Urdu Spy literature. The event will focus on the works of Ibn-e-Safi (1928-1980).

If any writer of Hindi-Urdu fiction exemplifies the cosmopolitan and transregional character of Hindi-Urdu literature it is Ibn-e-Safi (1928-1980). The novels in his Jasusi Dunya (Spy World) and Imran series have been immensely popular with Urdu readers in India and Pakistan since they appeared in the early 1950s. They have been similarly popular in Hindi translation. Their taut prose, thrilling plots, witty narrative, and unforgettable characters have influenced some of the most celebrated popular Hindi-Urdu writers of the 20th and 21st centuries, including Javed Akhtar (b. 1945), who has penned some of Bollywood’s greatest thrillers. The novels are also remarkable sources for discussions of gender, Hindi-Urdu literary culture, politics, translation, and the movement of texts across the porous borders of postcolonial nation-states.

The evening will feature a conversation on the author with his son, Ahmed Safi and staged readings of the author's works by Cal Urdu students. A light reception will follow the event.


We hope to see everyone there!

The Berkeley Urdu Initiative was officially launched in September 2011 to sustain, enrich, and expand the Urdu Studies program at the University of California, Berkeley. UC Berkeley is a global leader in the study of South Asia, and one of very few institutions in the United States to offer both undergraduate and graduate degree programs focusing on numerous aspects of this vital region. As an integral part of the South Asia curriculum, interest in the study of Urdu is growing rapidly. The Urdu Initiative is committed to strengthening our engagement with this subject in the years ahead. Our present priorities for Urdu Studies at Berkeley include raising money to:

— Establish a journal dedicated to Urdu Studies
— Create a fund to support Urdu programming
— Create an artist/scholar-in-residence program
— Create an endowed book prize

We look forward to working with supportive individuals and organizations to accomplish these goals.

More about the initiative and how you can support it HERE.


Please note that parking is not always easily available in Berkeley. Take public transportation if possible or arrive early to secure your spot.