Mahfil, vol. 1, no, 1 2Z
A RECENT URDU SHORT STORY
"Metamorphosis11 (kaya kalp) is by the well-known Urdu short story writer and critic 9 Intizar Husain. Husain is also the editor of the outstanding Urdu literary magazine 9 adab-4 latif (Belles Lettres). published in Lahore,
The English title of this story, as well as the story itself, will iliinediately remind a Western reader of Kafka's famous tale. We can be quite certain that Husain is familiar with Kafka 9 Freud, and other great intellectual influences of this age. However, to the Urdu reader who is not familiar with Western writers, this sbory will most emphatically call to mind tlie ancient tales of giants and fairies, those childhood stories which are still heard at bedtime all over India,
In spite of the very traditional garb in which "Metamorphosis" is dressed, the story is certainly modern. If a fairy tale, the hero of the story would have slain the antagonist and rescued his beloved. But since Husain is writing for his contemporaries, he has given the tale a new and different ending.
Husain has chosen to write his story in the language and style of the dastan ("long story"), the long prose epics or adventure cycles which were read in Indian tea houses or among friends. The closest approximation to these in the West are the Biblical writings, or the Arthurian legends, "Metamorphosis" is written in a language full of alliteration and repetitions, yet simple and uncluttered. The story is worked out as if in a number of short cadenzas,
Intizar Husain has published two volumes of short stories, "Metamorpohsis" was published in a special issue of naya daur (The New Age). Karachi o- June, 1962, pp. 6?-73, The translation from the Urdu is by C, IIo Nairn.
by Intizar husain
So that day Prince Azad Bakht saw morning in the guise of a fly. And that was a morning of utter cruelty, for what was apparent disappeared, and what was hidden within came into the open, and one even appeared in unblushing nudity. And Prince Azad Bakht was turned into a fly,
At first, the prince thought he was dreaming^ however, when morning came, the dream was forgotten. He remembered very little, and when it grev dark, and the giant returned to the