The Shore and the Wave
Translated from the Urdu by Ralph Russell
The Shore and the Wave, a novel by one of Pakistan’s leading writers, presents a vivid picture of the marital and social entanglements of middle-class India. Farkhundanagar, the city in which the story develops, is in fact Hyderabad, capital of the large princely state in central India which survived under the aegis of the paramount British power until 1947, and maintained a precarious existence until in 1956 it disappeared as a separate entity in the redrawing of India’s internal political boundaries on linguistic lines. Aziz Ahmad at the time when The Shore and the Wave was written, had spent most of his life there. In the second chapter he speaks of the ‘three tides of westernization’ that had swept over it, and the novel describes the impact upon the educated, well to-do sections of Hyderabad society of the ‘third tide’ in the period up to the eve of independence. The present English version was done by Ralph Russell with the author’s close cooperation and embodies revisions which he wished to make.
Aziz Ahmad was born in 1914 and spent most of the first half of his life in Hyderabad, capital of the former princely state in central India to which most of the characters in The Shore and the Wave belong. He was educated in Hyderabad and London, and taught in the Universities of Osmania (Hyderabad), London, and California at Los Angeles. He was also Professor of Islamic Studies in the University of Toronto. He wrote a number of books on Indian Islam, on which he was considered one of the foremost authorities; but long before he entered that field, he had won literary fame in India and Pakistan as one of the leading Urdu novelists.
Ralph Russell was born in 1918, read Classics and Geography at St. John’s College, Cambridge. His first acquaintance with Urdu was during compulsory military service in India during the war. After the war, his interest in Urdu led to his joining the staff of the School of Oriental and African Studies, where he soon became a Reader. He is the co-author, with Khurshidul Islam, of Three Mughal Poets (1968) and Ghalib: Life and Letters (1969). His teachings, translations and writings on Urdu and its literature have earned him a high reputation both in the subcontinent, where he has spent much time lecturing and researching, and among his fellow Urdu scholars in North America and Europe. H3e is also the author of The Famous Ghalib and The Seeing Eye: Selections form the Urdu and Persian Ghazals of Ghalib, both published by Alhamra.
“Her first mad, jealous impulse was to throw herself out of the window. She felt a chill shudder run down her spine. Her head began to spin as she started at the departing rickshaw. Kamala Paresh climbed the stairs opposite her room, and her companion, reassured at seeing there was no light at the window, approached on tiptoe, whistling softly, up the stairs towards her own, Nur Jahan’s room. Monsieur and Madame Ale’s Alsatian barked at his footfall for a second, and then all was still again. Nur Jahan heard him coming. She thought of getting into bed and pretending to be asleep, as tough she had seen nothing. But she felt a strange nervous paralysis come over her Sultan opened the door and put on the light. He saw Nur Jahan standing motionless by the window, and stopped dead. It was late. His own head was swimming. He sat down on the sofa and began to take off his shoes. ‘Nur Jahan, darling,’ he said, ‘you’re still awake? . . . Kamala was coming this way and I offered her a lift. . . .It’s not safe for women to g about late at night, alone . . .What’s the matter, darling? You look quite white. Don’t you feel well? . . .’”