Rahman Abbas

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Rahman Abbas
Born (1972-01-30) 30 January 1972 (age 52)
Alma materUniversity of Mumbai
Notable works
Notable awardsSahitya Akademi Award

Rahman Abbas (born 30 January 1972) is an Indian fiction writer and the recipient of the India's highest literary Award Sahitya Akademi Award for his fourth novel Rohzin in 2018.[1][2][3] He is also the recipient of the two State Academy Awards for his third and fourth novels respectively i.e. Hide and Seek in the Shadow of God (2011) and the Rohzin in 2017.[4][5] He is the only Indian novelist whose work in German has received a LitProm Grant funded by the German Federal Foreign Office and the Swiss-South Cultural Fund.[6][7] He writes in Urdu and in English.[8] His novels deal with themes of forbidden politics and love.[9]

The largest online reading portal Rekhta has stated that Rahman Abbas is one of the most read Urdu novelists.[10] Penguin Random House has published Rohzin in English in May 2022.[11][12][13][14][15] Rohzin has been longlisted for JCB Prize 2022, the richest literary prize in India.[16][17][18]

Life and career[edit]

Abbas has master's degrees in Urdu and English literature from University of Mumbai.[19]

Rahman Abbas is author of ten books including six novels: Nakhalistan Ki Talash (The Search of an Oasis-2004), Ek Mamnua Muhabbat Ki Kahani (A Forbidden Love Story-2009), Khuda Ke Saaye Mein Ankh Micholi (Hide and Seek in the Shadow of God-2011), Rohzin (The Melancholy of the Soul-2016). and Zindeeq (Heretic). and Ek Tarha Ka Pagalpan[20] (A Sort of Madness) [21][22][23][24]

Rahman's first novel is Nakhalistan Ki Talash (Search of an Oasis) published in 2004. The fundamentalists had alleged that the novel is an obscene book. He was arrested and had to spend a few days at Arthur Road Jail. However, he was subsequently acquitted by the court in 2016. In an interview, he stated about this painful experience- "After a decade, the trial ended, but for all those years, I had to go to the court and stand in front of the judge, like Josef K. in Franz Kafka's The Trial, not knowing what his crime was.[25][26][27] Nakhlistan Ki Talash had created a storm in the conservative Urdu literary circles, and Rahman resigned from his post as lecturer in a junior college in Mumbai.[28] The novel tells the story of a young educated Muslim man whose increasing alienation in a post-1992 Mumbai leads him to a Kashmiri militant organization. He finds his cultural identity blurred during the rise of the right-wing and hate-filled politics in India at the turn of the century. He tries to demonstrate his identity and historic self, ultimately leading to his tragic and mysterious end.[29]

He won the state Sahitya Akademi Award in 2011 for his third didactic novel Khuda Ke Saaye Mein Ankh Micholi. He returned the award in 2015 when major Indian writers and artists had protested against the 'wave of intolerance in Indian society' triggered by the right-wing politics'.[30][31][32]

Critical reputation[edit]

Pakistani author Mustansar Hussain Tarar stated that Rahman's latest novel Rohzin is a fearless creative narration. Professor Gopichand Narang, former president of Sahitya Academy, called Rohzin a turning point in the history of Urdu novels.[21][33][34][35][36]

Awards and honours[edit]


  • Nakhalistan Ki Talash [The Search of an Oasis], (Novel-2004)
  • Ek Mamnua Muhabbat Ki Kahani, [A Forbidden Love Story], (Novel-2009)
  • Khuda Ke Saaye Mein Ankh Micholi [Hide and Seek in the Shadow of God] (Novel-2011)
  • Rohzin [The Melancholy of the Soul], (novel-2016)
  • Zindeeq [Atheist or Apostate], First published by Arshia Publications, New Delhi in November 2021, Pakistani Edition was published by Aks Publications[45] in January 2022. Zindeeq is a dystopian novel that seriously deals with the rise of religious extremism in subcontinent India and Pakistan.[25][46]
  • Ek Tarha Ka Pagalpan [A Sort of Madness], [47][48]

A trilogy of his early writing, entitled Teen Novels (ISBN 978-93-81029-29-9), was published in 2013 by Arshia Publication.


  1. ^ "Sahitya Akademi announces winners in 24 languages". 6 December 2018. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  2. ^ "Sahitya Akademi Awards for 2018 announced". uniindia.com. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  3. ^ Rasia (6 December 2018). "Sahitya Akademi announces 2018 awards in 24 languages, Rahman Abbas bags Urdu award". The Siasat Daily. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  4. ^ دیشمکھ, ڈاکٹر محمد راغب (6 November 2017). "رحمن عباس کے ناول 'روحزن' کو ریاستی اکیڈمی کا انعام". Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  5. ^ "Lokmat Hello Mumbai Newspaper | Hello Mumbai: Marathi Epaper | Hello Mumbai: Online Marathi Epaper |Hello Mumbai Daily Marathi Epaper | लोकमत वृत्तपत्रे". epaperlokmat.in. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  6. ^ "Willkommen / LitProm". litprom.de. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  7. ^ "Übersetzungsförderung durch Litprom / Zuschuss für zwölf Verlage". boersenblatt.net. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  8. ^ "Urdu Literature Award". Retrieved 13 December 2022.
  9. ^ "Of forbidden politics and love". TNS - The News on Sunday.
  10. ^ "کیا آپ جانتے ہیں 'ریختہ' پر 2020 میں سب سے زیادہ کون سی کتاب پڑھی گئی؟". 31 December 2020.
  11. ^ "Review: Rohzin by Rahman Abbas". 5 August 2022.
  12. ^ Zaidi, Annie (25 May 2022). "In Sahitya Akademi winner Rahman Abbas' 'Rohzin' Mumbai is a protean beast says Annie Zaidi". The Hindu.
  13. ^ "Sahitya Akademi winning Urdu novel 'Rohzin' to release in English in May - Times of India". The Times of India.
  14. ^ "English translation of Sahitya Akademi winner 'Rohzin' to release next month". 25 April 2022.
  15. ^ "Rohzin: With gift of English translation, Rahman Abbas' novel could turn wheels of Urdu literature". 29 June 2022.
  16. ^ "Translations Dominate Longlist for 2022 JCB Prize for Literature".
  17. ^ "The 2022 JCB Prize longlist celebrates the India of many languages". 5 September 2022.
  18. ^ "The JCB Prize for Literature announces its Longlist for the 5th year".
  19. ^ "rahmanabbas.in/". rahmanabbas.in. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  20. ^ https://www.mukaalma.com/186345/
  21. ^ a b Dutta-Asane, Sucharita (12 May 2018). "Rohzin: First Urdu novel to be discussed in Germany". Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  22. ^ "Rahman Abbas: 'English writers enjoy more freedom than us'". OPEN Magazine. 21 September 2018. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  23. ^ "Zindeeq-Interprets the Dreams of the Future: Dr Shahid Iqbal Kamran". 25 February 2022.
  24. ^ "Rahman Abbas' "Zindeeq": Who's learning lessons from the Holocaust? - Qantara.de".
  25. ^ a b "Bombay is the cultural and psychic cradle of my characters: Rahman Abbas". 5 September 2022.
  26. ^ a b c "Mumbai Urdu author bags Sahitya Akademi award - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  27. ^ Nair, Rohini (11 September 2016). "A colonial era law was used against Urdu writer Rahman Abbas; 10 years later, he's finally free". Firstpost. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  28. ^ Roy, Anwar Sen (29 December 2005). اردو فکشن 2005: دو متنازعہ کتابیں [Urdu fiction 2005: two controversial books]. bbc.co.uk (in Urdu).
  29. ^ "The great divide – 'The hardliners are getting marginalised by the day'". The Telegraph (Calcutta). 12 September 2004. Archived from the original on 4 December 2004.
  30. ^ "Dadri lynching: Urdu writer Rahman Abbas to return award in protest". dna. 9 October 2015. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  31. ^ Mukkath, Rini (9 October 2015). "Urdu writer joins protest, to return prize". The Hindu. Retrieved 5 January 2019 – via thehindu.com.
  32. ^ "Novelist Sara Joseph returns Akademi Award; says intolerance is visible everywhere". Rediff. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  33. ^ SALAM, ZIYA US (30 March 2016). "Writers and thinkers should speak up". Frontline. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  34. ^ "Rohzin, A Novel by Rahman Abbas. Password Ep91". siasat-pk.com. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  35. ^ "Rohzin: A monologue to soul - The Indian Awaaz". 23 May 2016. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  36. ^ "Best Digital Marketing & Photography Institute in Mulund,Mumbai". TSCMC. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  37. ^ "Dadri incident: Urdu writer Rahman Abbas to return award in protest". The Economic Times. 9 October 2015. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  38. ^ WordPress.com, Create a free website or blog at (10 May 2018). "Rahman Abbas' 'Rohzin': First Urdu novel to be discussed in Germany". Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  39. ^ "JCB Prize for Literature announces 2022's longlist of 10 'incredible' books". 3 September 2022.
  40. ^ "JCB Prize for Literature 2022: Six translations (Two from Urdu) feature in the longlist of 10 novels".
  41. ^ "2022 JCB Prize for Literature unveils longlist for fifth edition". 5 September 2022.
  42. ^ "India - JCB Prize for Literature announces 2022's longlist". 4 September 2022.
  43. ^ "Longlist of JCB Prize for Literature 2022 announced".
  44. ^ "JCB Book Awards | Literature Award India | JCB Book Prize". www.thejcbprize.org. Retrieved 13 December 2022.
  45. ^ Aks Publications[dead link]
  46. ^ "Literary News: Reception of Zindeeq in India and Pakistan - A large canvas novel by Rahman Abbas". 7 March 2022.
  47. ^ https://dailypakistan.pk/%D8%B1%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%B9%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B3-%D8%A7%D9%88%D8%B1-%D8%A7%DB%8C%DA%A9-%D8%B7%D8%B1%D8%AD-%DA%A9%D8%A7-%D9%BE%D8%A7%DA%AF%D9%84-%D9%BE%D9%86/
  48. ^ https://www.mukaalma.com/186345/