Day and Dastan: Two Novellas

by Intizar Husain
Translated by Nishat Zaidi and Alok Bhalla
Niyogi Books, 2018


The first novella, Din (Day), is a realistic story about the physical displacement and emotional paralysis individuals feel when forced to move from their family homes. As in Husainʻs other works, Indiaʻs partition haunts the tale like an inexplicable shadow, creating a nostalgic and heart-breaking mood. The second novella, Dastan (Story), is a traditional tale of wonder set in time of turmoil and uncertainty when mysterious forces cause havoc in nature, and societies rise up suddenly to avenge old wrongs. The rivers suddenly break their banks; an old haveli is left desolate; a princess weeps beside a fountain; a parrot shows a soldier the road to take; and hope of poltical change is fatally lost. Both novellas were translated from Urdu. (Adapted from publisherʻs description)

Intizar Husain was born in Dubai, India, in 1925 and migrated to Pakistan in 1947. His published works include seven collections of short stories, five novels, nine plays, travelogues, and essays in Urdu and English. He passed away in 2016.

Nishat Zaidi is a critic, translator, and an English professor emeritus at the Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. She co-edited Story is a Vagabond: Fiction, Essays and Drama by Intizar Husain (Manoa Journal, 2015).

Alok Bhalla is a critic, translator, and editor. He co-edited Story is a Vagabond: Fiction, Essays and Drama by Intizar Huisain and was co-translator of A Chronicle of the Peacocks: Stories of Partition, Exile and Lost Memories.