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Nazm Tabatabai

Ali Hyder Tabatabai, (Syed Ali Hyder Nazm Tabatabai) born 1854 in Awadh, died 1933 in Hyderabad Deccan, India, was a poet, translator and a scholar of languages. He descended from a long line of soldiers. He is known[by whom?] for his poetic translation into Urdu of Thomas Gray’s masterpiece “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard”

Ali Hyder’s grandfather [Syed Mehdi Tabatabai] was a member of the Royal Guards under the Qajar dynasty of Iran. His father was [Syed Mustafa Tabatabai]. His cousin Buti Begum was the wife of king Wajid Ali Shah.[citation needed] Tabatabai is a large family which still resides in parts of the Iranian district of Kerman Shah (Bakhtaran) and also in eastern parts of Turkey. They are descendants of Hasan ibn Ali from his great-grandson Ibrahim AlTabataba. He used to lisp while talking, which is called “tabtabah” in Arabic.

As Shahi Attaleeq (Royal Teacher) with Wajid Ali Shah’s Grandsons

As a young man Ali Hyder was employed by the Nawab of Awadh, Wajid Ali Shah as a royal teacher.[citation needed] Wajid Ali Shah died shortly thereafter. The British offered Ali Hyder work, but he rejected the offer saying he could not be employed by “thugs” and “plunderers”, since he believed that British had wrongly occupied India and had no right to rule it.[citation needed]

He left Awadh and moved to Calcutta (Kolkata|). He was well known for his command of Urdu. The European serving the British Crown were encouraged to have knowledge of the local language, this included monitory benefits, so many Europeans eager to learn Urdu came to him to learn the language. He taught several on the condition that they will teach him their language. This is how he learned several European languages, i.e. English, French and German.

Gor e Gharibaan

His famous Gor e Gharibaan (Graves of the poors) is a translation of Thomas Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard. The most remarkable thing is that it is a poem translated into a poem; those who master both in Urdu and English can understand the extent of accuracy in meanings and sense. If either of the poem is translated into other language in text the reader will find no resemblance what so ever, but translating an idiom of English into an idiom of Urdu conveying exactly the same sense though word to word meanings might be different. This can very easily be seen in the Titles of two poems, Thomas Grays elegy’s title is “elegy written in Country Churchyard” and Gor e Gharibaan is Persian. Meaning Graves of the poor, sense is the same while word to word translation is different. the most remarkable thing about this poem is that it is written in golden words and kept into world largest museum in England.[citation needed]

Osmania University

Mir Mahboob Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VI had heard about Ali Hyder, a Shahi Ataleeq of Wajid Ali Shah, Asaf Jah though a very powerful ruler under the British Crown apparently didn’t need to be impressed by any one, specially Wajid Ali Shah dead and the state taken by the British. Asaf Jah invited Ali Hyder probably to give him some post in his court, as Asaf Jah himself did poetry and patronized scholars and poets. He offered Ali Hyder to critique his work, Ali Hyder had heard from the other people in court that the Nizam had been very rude to the gentleman who worked in that place, so he tactfully declined. Later Nizam offered him the job of Head of the Translation Department (Dar ul Tarjuma) of an Urdu Medium University, the Nizam had plans to build. Later the University was named Osmania University. Since all the subjects in this university were to be taught in Urdu, previously there were no Urdu Medium Universities in British India, syllabus of many other institutions was collected, this was in different languages mostly European, selection of appropriate books and literature and then organizing it in a way to form syllabus of different faculties of the University, that included Engineering, Medicine, subjects like Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Astronomy, and others. and then translating it into Urdu and publishing the books was all done by (Dar ul Tarjuma) under Ali Hyder. He translated 2000 books every year in dar ul tarjuma and he worked there for 16 years.and he has translated [32000] books

He married the daughter of Siraj-Ud-Daulah, with whom he had two sons and four daughters.

Khadija Begum-1886, Awadh [India],1966 [Hyderabad Deccan] India
Syed Ahmad Tabatabai – 1898, Calcutta, India, 1969 Dera Ismail Khan Pakistan
Syed Amjad Tabatabai – 1896, Calcutta, India, 1972 [Hyderabad Deccan] India
Fatima Begum
Sajida Begum
Tayyaba Begum – 1904, Hyderabad Deccan, India, 1965 Karachi Pakistan

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