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Hotechand Gurbuxani

Hotechand Gurbuxani (1883 - 1946)

A professor of Persian, a Doctor of English Literature, a scholar in Sanskrit and an author in Sindhi, Dr. Gurbuxani was one of the greatest linguists and philologists of Sind. Although the books he wrote were few and far between, yet each of them bears the stamp of his brilliant scholarship and his balanced, dignified diction. The first work from his pen was an original historical romance Noor Jahan (1915), which vividly recreates the glory of Moghal history and from whose pages the characters of its protagonists emerge as living personalities. In 1921 Dr. Gurbuxani submitted his famous report on the " Hitherto published Literature in Sindhi Language" to the Bombay university as a result of which Sindhi was included among the modern Indian Languages in the University curricula.

Gurbuxani's main contribution, however, was in the field of literary criticism in which his study of Western models made him an authority on the subject. The works of Sind's national poet Shah Lateef had already been published in various editions, the earliest being *Dr. Trumps edition printed in Germany. But Gurbuxani discovered by painstaking comparisons with the oldest manuscripts, that so many inferior and spurious poems by other contemporary writers had been included in the old Rasalas. Therefore Gurbuxani published his monumental authoritative edition of Shah-jo-Rasalo (1924) in three volumes (the final fourth volume was not published), giving by means of his linguistic knowledge, the correct interpretations of many words and phrases and authoritative commentaries on many dubious passages hitherto misannotated. The masterly Introduction to this edition, throwing light on all the important phrases of Shah's poetry, was later published under the title Muadima-i-Latifi (1936). Another portion taken from this work and separately published was Rooh Rihan (Soul Entertainment) containing the folk-tales of Sind on which Shah's poetry is mainly based, along with their symbolic significance.