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A story of two sisters named Great Akbari and Small Asghari --right from the start we're in didactic territory. Don't we already sense that the younger sister will be the heroine? If there were a sister named Middle too, the fairy-tale likeness would be complete. The Bride's Mirror Mirat ul-Arus may or may not have been the first Urdu novel, but it was certainly the first Urdu best-seller. Released in , within twenty years it had appeared in editions totalling over , copies; it had also, its publisher claimed, been translated into Bengali, Braj, Kashmiri, Punjabi, and Gujarati. In an English translation was published in London by G. Ward; it is this translation that is reproduced in the present volume. Ward was such a careful student of the work that he had already, four years earlier, laboriously produced and published an entire roman-script version of the text, with partial annotation and a complete cumulative glossary. Nazir Ahmad came from a family with a distinguished religious ancestry. In , the boy had the opportunity to enroll at Delhi College, and studied there till ; he chose its Urdu section, he later said, because his father had told him 'he would rather see me die than learn English'. Though he passed it off as the usual parentally-arranged marriage, many years later he urged his son in a letter to plan his own marriage, as he himself had done. In he joined the British colonial administration, and his career prospered: On the advice of a friend, he took six months' leave and spent the time acquiring a working knowledge of English. In he began translating the Income Tax Law into English, and followed it with the Indian Penal Code, a project completed in

Stubbornness, peevishness, ill disposition and ill-tempered behavior ruined her domestic life. In this story Nazir showed that how lack of knowledge and training in domestic education ruined a home life. And simultaneously gave details of the importance of domestic and household education. She is well behaved and well mannered. She turned her house into home, a peaceful place, using her skills and abilities.

Through this character Nazir unfolds secrets and enigmas of Home Economics education. In reality, it is this part of the book which is based on household and Home Economics education. Here Nazir has explained housekeeping issues resourcefully and tactfully which makes him distinguished among other authors.

And therefore, it is important for a woman to have skills and abilities of a ruler, for smoothly running her kingdom and also to be the best mother, wife, sister, and daughter. That is why he attempts to rebuke the downfall of female segment and their problems through his novel. Its main themes are household chores, home-management education and character building. This tale is very important in terms of Home Economics education.

The core themes, inter- related to each other, are emphasized through personification of Asghari. This interrelation is persistently eminent as the story proceeds with another character, Husn Ara. In both stories Nazir emphasizes domestic and social issues along with skills of household technology.

Home Economics education, financial dealings, wedding styles, food and nutrition, and clothing and textile are being discussed all through the plot. Surprisingly, even to this day his books are useful for women to gain knowledge if formal education is unreachable.

Objectivity and reformation is prominent. Unfortunately, neutrality of Nazir is considered as biased and prejudiced. This is absolutely incorrect that he wrote novels just for his era and that it was only for the movement of that time. In fact, both novels were creation of mutual cooperation with British authorities and education department of that time. Through his script he wanted to make women skillful. His female character provides an exemplary syllabus for women education.

Not wholly, but it is an attempt to disseminate partially the basics of education. This character, through education and training, takes regard of values and maintains good relation. In eastern culture, the accomplishment of obligation that Nazir tries to educate is not new. The Daughters of Bier is the second book describing household education. Here, Asghari remains in the background and Mehmooda is the prominent character. She is helper to Asghari while teaching household to Husn Ara.

In beginning of the story Mehmooda teaches Husn Ara stitching, embroidery, and Home Economics through doll house. Here different chapters covers clothing and home- management portion where different methods of stitches and hems are discussed.

A transcript of The Daughters of Bier is discussed here: No comparison of this market inferior absurdity with homemade.

Husn Ara was arrogantly proud of her expensive readymade double storey wooden doll house. Mehmooda made beautiful spacious house with thatch and sticks. With our skillful hands we can do lot of things that money cannot download for us. Lace with tinkles is not made by you on this light green suit and this shirt definitely cut by the teacher for you.

Mirat-ul-Uroos by Deputy Naziir Ahmad | Rekhta

Seriously, tell me from where did you download this patch work curtains? And who gave you this scarf with ganga jamna taray shiny multi colored beads.

Oh God! This mica chandlier, paper fan, marble paper carpet, chiques, bamboo poles Furthermore, readers also learn the importance of home decoration and household methods.

In other parts of The Daughters of Bier importance of hard working, early rise, benefits of reading and several virtue and social aspects are essential parts of the story.

Whereas rich and the poor, helping others in any form, admitting mistakes, resolving conflicts, budget making, differences in urban rural culture, scientific work, gravitational force, weight, geography, nations of the world and other aspects are part of the novel in dialectical method.

This novel strongly gives feeling that Nazir wanted to teach initial scientific information to young girls and women. Different cooking methods are also discussed in The Daughters of Bier.

Ahmed, , pp. In this part a party is arranged with skills and etiquettes. It is taught what type of dress should be prepared according to type of party and meal is prepared. His novels in Urdu language have also been www. His complete Urdu literature is significant for students of Home Economics in Pakistan.

As these novels give information regarding skills applied at homes in eastern culture. And that these novels, irrespective of boundaries should be part of Home Economics education.

Ahmed, D. At first all is well, but then he falls into bad company and bad habits, and Asghari decides to travel to Sialkot by train, uninvited, to join him. Before her departure, she brings Akbari and her husband who, like his father, calls Asghari 'brother' [] back to the joint family home.

She reforms her husband, then returns to Delhi a year and a half later and arranges for her father-in-law to retire and for his older son, Akbari's husband, to take his place. Her final coup is to take advantage of the love and gratitude felt for her by her now well-trained pupil Husnara and other female allies in that family, in order to get her young sister-in-law Mahmudah married to Husnara's younger brother.

She points out, 'Wealth, good qualities, good looks, these are the three main things', and of them all Mahmudah lacks only wealth []; but in accomplishments she is in fact superior to the proposed bridegroom []. After much diplomacy and not-so-subtle emotional blackmail, Asghari has her way. She proclaims the virtues of simple marriages; but then, through a number of clever contrivances, she produces far more of a dowry than anyone had expected, so that the marriage takes place in the handsomest style.

Because Mahmudah remains devoted to her and constantly seeks her counsel, Asghari now has a chance to manage huge estates, which she does to perfection. In a brief conclusion we learn that Asghari has left monuments in the world: 'The things which she achieved under these conditions--for all that she was a woman--will no doubt remain in the world as memorials of her to the last day; but unfortunately I have not the leisure to set them down in writing' [].

We have already had a list, in fact, of a mansion, a mosque, a sarai, and various charitable trusts left by her in Delhi []. She has trials to bear as well: although she has a number of children, most die very young. The death of one much-loved daughter is especially painful to her; however, she endures the blow with dignity and proper religious fortitude.

She is consoled by another extremely long and didactic letter from her father that takes up the whole last chapter of the tale. One of her sons lives to adulthood, and is then married to Mahmudah's only daughter. Nazir Ahmad's introduction to The Bride's Mirror is so full of complex feelings for women that it almost shoots out sparks.

The reader can easily tell that this writer has spent time with women and girls, and that he genuinely likes them and enjoys their company. He cares enough about them to respect them; he values their potential and wants them to achieve fine things. Thus he is led into a torrent of reproach.

Wanting women to be admirable and admired, he is distressed by the shortcomings he sees in them: ignorance, credulousness, passivity, laziness, emotionalism, superficiality. He illustrates and denounces these faults, trying to hector his young female readers into overcoming such embarrassing, humiliating, even shameful traits.

Yet he also knows that the deck is stacked against women. They cannot and perhaps should not? Shut up in their houses, denied access to higher education, unable to learn from mingling with the larger world outside, how can they be expected, against all odds, to develop the valuable practical qualities and abilities so much more easily attained by the men of their families? But at the same time, such qualities and abilities are all the more necessary for women, since they get so little respect at home.

If they show extraordinary abilities, they might have a chance to receive a modicum of admiration and attention from the male members of their family.

Certainly they have no other chance, and Nazir Ahmad tries to goad them into facing this fact. They must think only of life within their family, and within the family they must think of earning the respect of their male relatives, while being careful to maintain their religiously prescribed subordinate role in the domestic hierarchy.

Thus every young girl should strive to learn, to become educated, to acquire skills and abilities that will make her shine in the eyes of her family. She should remember that men and women complement each other, they are as mutually indispensable as the two wheels of a cart. Men and women should each strive to shine and excel in their own sphere: women in running the large, complex households of the time, men in earning and managing the money that sustains them.

Women must maintain the family's proper order and decorum--which includes their own subordinate and purdah-bound status; men must demonstrate their ability to shelter, support, and protect the women of their family. The cooperative work of both sexes is necessary to maintain the family's status in the world outside.

Nazir Ahmad's tale of two sisters is meant to illustrate how this process can work. The elder sister, Akbari, is a simple textbook example of how to do everything wrong. But Asghari is a far more complicated case.

Though she is clearly meant to be a perfect paradigm of feminine behavior, her situation is in fact a limit case, even a liminal case. The story of her life pushes Nazir Ahmad's view far enough to reveal to the reader if not the author the paradoxical vision on which it rests. For Asghari calls into question the neat role division Nazir Ahmad has laid down between men and women; she is almost an honorary man.

She is like Athena, born from the forehead of Zeus and thus always favoring the man. Raised by her father, she constantly consults him by letter; she accepts and even reveres his staggeringly male-supremacist dicta.

After her marriage, it is not her husband but her father-in-law with whom she consults, and whose unbounded admiration and support she obtains. She is not only an honorary man, but an honorary patriarch: her ties are with older and more powerful men rather than with her own generation. Although she discreetly manages her father-in-law's and older brother-in-law's careers while remaining in the background, she quite openly advises, hectors, and even dominates her hapless husband.

When he seems to be going astray, she travels alone, uninvited and unannounced, to a distant city, where she immediately takes charge of him, drives away his evil companions, and reshapes his life to her own virtuous specifications. She also exercises power through her role as teacher of aristocratic young girls in the neighborhood, shamelessly twisting the arms of her two favored pupils in order to marry her young sister-in-law into their family.

At the end of the novel we learn almost as an afterthought that all her own children died in early childhood. It is hard to imagine her as a mother. Her legacy is not maternal but material and abstract: she becomes famous for her buildings and charitable trusts. How can such unabashed, carefully plotted, meticulously described manipulation of her whole marital family's fortunes be fitted into her official ethic of unquestioning subordination to her male elders?

It cannot, of course--as the reader will easily notice, but as Nazir Ahmad apparently did not. Nor did Asghari's marital family notice: all her relatives admired and valued her for her energy, organization, diplomatic skills, and managerial prowess.

What her story really demonstrates is that in practice, smart, shrewd people including women can manipulate less capable people including men to great advantage.

What Asghari's story shows is that nothing succeeds like success. In his 'Translator's Note', G. Ward praises The Bride's Mirror for filling a gap: 'since so little is known in England about the social and domestic life of our Indian fellow-subjects, an authentic picture of one phase of it by a distinguished Muhammadan gentleman may perhaps be not devoid of interest'.

And indeed the story is thoroughly evocative of its place and time, and fascinatingly full of cultural information. The lives of the women in a middle-class joint family, their relationships with the men of the family, their management of a traditional household, their treatment of servants, their arrangements for marriage, and so on are narrated with a vividness and colloquial detail that carry immediate conviction. David Lelyveld in fact uses the story as an exemplary illustration of what he calls the 'kacahri milieu', and points out the characters' betwixt-and-between financial and social position: the family lives comfortably on an income equal to 'about two percent' of that of the lowest-grade British civil servant--though such an income was, at the same time, 'twenty or even forty times the wage of a laborer'.

In this and other respects, Nazir Ahmad's account 'recapitulates the early careers of Indians in government during the first three-quarters of the nineteenth century'.

The two sisters' attitudes toward social class, like all their other attitudes, are exactly opposite. The very first quarrel we overhear between Akbari and her husband concerns her habit of associating with the daughters of 'low-bred and vulgar people'. When reproached for this behavior, Akbari is defiant.

The silly wife replied, 'Affection and friendship depend upon the union of hearts. There was a bangle-seller named Basu living next door to my mother's house, whose daughter Banno was my bosom friend. I used to play with her when I was little. Yes, Banno and I made a marriage between our two dolls. Banno, poor thing!

I used to steal quantities of things from my mother and give them to her. I would never give up my meetings with Banno, however much my mother forbade them. Unfortunately, she really is a foolish, lazy, selfish woman, so that this to us attractive display of democratic feeling is developed in the narrative as part of her general gullibility and vulgarity. By contrast, the newly married Asghari dexterously gets rid of the young girls of the neighborhood, 'especially those of the lower classes', by not offering them sweets when they visit [67].

And when she opens her school, she is ruthless in her social discrimination. But on the other hand, her school offers what amounts to scholarships. Money is earned by the sale of her pupils' embroidery: 'Out of this fund clothes were made and books were downloadd for those girls who were poor' []. Not money but social class is the real issue. When Asghari plans Mahmudah's marriage, she makes her goal clear: 'It is my wish that she should marry into a family of very high rank' [].

There is no sign in the narrative that such social snobbery is anything other than a source of credit to her and her family. Yet Asghari's values are nothing if not flexible and hard-headedly realistic.

She knows how to get the best out of different kinds of employers: local rulers do not pay salaries on time [], but they do help out with marriage expenses []. On the whole, she prefers the English, who look like winners: 'Since the English rule was established', she tells her husband, 'all the native chiefs are in much the same state of decay' []. She urges her husband Muhammad Kamil to start with a humble apprenticeship at the courts, then accept a small post in the system, while looking out for a better one.

She tells him it's God's will alone that can get him a position--but also insists that he make his best efforts. She tells him he must rely on himself rather than on others--but then she arranges for powerful family connections to be used on his behalf []. In short, Asghari covers all the bases, and procures for her docile, naive husband a fine career, and for her whole marital family a rapid rise in the social hierarchy.

She is careful not to be gullible, and the result is that she makes no close friends outside her own extended family.

She preserves all the outward forms of deference to men and to her elders and to public opinion, but in fact keeps her own counsel and arranges everything as she thinks best. She will never admit to the degree of power that she constantly exercises, for she agrees with Nazir Ahmad that patriarchal values must be maintained. Men should support the family 'If families are to be reared upon women's earnings, why should there be men? All Asghari's central qualities of character emerge clearly in one crucial passage, in which she decides to go to Sialkot, unannounced, to rescue her husband from his evil ways--indebtedness, nautch girls, bad company, bribe-taking--before it is too late.

Although she has already made up her mind to go, she discusses the decision with her cousin Tamasha Khanam []. Here is my own very literal translation of the heart of that scene.

Mirat Ul Uroos By Deputy Nazeer Ahmad Free Online Read

Tamasha Khanam said, 'To go without being sent for--well, it's not proper. Why do you lower yourself like this? What do you care about him? May God keep your school safe--you can provide bread for ten people. What do you understand about it? I've set up this school in order to amuse myself; I never sought to make money from it Just think--as if women's earnings are any kind of earnings! If we would habitually run the house on women's earnings, then why would men exist?

If my own house is well established, then I don't care even if ten such schools are ruined.

The Bride's Mirror: A Tale of Life in Delhi a Hundred Years Ago

Let the winter come, then in the clear weather you can see about it. What can now be done by persuasion, can't be done later even by big quarrels. Doesn't it grieve your heart to leave home? This passage is also offered as a comparison piece, so that the reader can see what Ward has made of it. He himself is very modest and matter-of-fact about his efforts: he describes his translation as 'merely supplementary' to other teaching materials, so that it 'makes no claim to literary merit' Translator's Note.

Ward's style is somewhat more formal and abstract than the Urdu, less colorful, vigorous, and colloquial. But on the whole, he is reasonably faithful to the text, as befits a scholar and language teacher. Only once in a while can one seriously quarrel with him, as in his tendentious rendering of admi as 'woman' see the footnote. All this being said, is The Bride's Mirror to be considered a novel, or does it remain simply a lively, well-written didactic tale? The author himself does not use the word novel, but does make strong claims to originality: his goal, unusual for the time, is that 'the speech would be idiomatic and the thoughts pure, and no artificiality or embellishment would find entry'.

In their prefaces, his British patrons support this claim. Matthew Kempson, the Director of Public Instruction, maintains that the work is unique of its kind: its Urdu is as good as that of Ghalib's letters and the famous romance Bostan-e Khiyal, and it is so free of 'romantic themes' and high-flown literary and rhetorical devices that everyone ought to copy it. The Lieutenant Governor agrees that 'no other book in Urdu is its equal'. The enthusiastic Shaistah Akhtar Banu Suhrawardy, writing in , declares The Bride's Mirror to be 'the first real novel in Urdu, and still the best'.

Making her case at length, she emphasizes its 'superb and masterly characterisation', so that the characters appear real, living, and timelessly appealing.

She finds that Nazir Ahmad's work marks a great advance beyond the traditional Urdu romances dastan with their worlds full of heroes meeting implausible, supernatural adventures. The well-known historian of Urdu literature Muhammad Sadiq finds such flaws unsurprising, since the author is seeking 'to supply textbooks for juvenile readers'.

Since Nazir Ahmad is a moralist, 'the course of his stories is entirely directed by didactic considerations': he 'invents a story in strict accordance with a thesis, and then fits it out with ready-made characters'.

Even so, he has 'a keen sense of comedy' and a 'sufficiently wide' range of humor to keep his stereotyped characters alive and overcome the lack of dialogue and 'unusually slow tempo' of his 'thin and unequal' plots.

The novel offers few of the traditional narrative pleasures, and especially lacks 'conflict' and 'suspense'. In fact, 'the worst flaw of Asghari's character is that she is flawless, like dastan characters'. For 'the novelist has bestowed on Asghari such exemplary excellence that all the rest of the characters are humbled [dab kar rah gae] before her'.