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2023 Jawad memorial prize
The sixth Jawad Memorial Prize for Urdu-English translation, 2023

Ali Jawad Zaidi (1916-2004) was an Urdu poet, a freedom fighter and a polyphonic scholar. He wrote several books of ghazals and nazms apart from scholarly works such as 'A History of Urdu Literature', 'Uttar Pradesh ke Marsiyago' and several others. He also wrote commentary on a wide range of cultural themes, publishing significant books like 'Do Adbi School' and 'Islami Taraqqi Pasandi. He had been honoured with several awards including the Padmashri, the Ghalib Award, the Mir Anis award and others. He had been working on a project he called 'Urdu mein Ramkatha' when he passed away.

The Jawad Memorial Prize for Urdu-English translation has been instituted to honor his literary legacy and especially the fact that much of his work served as a bridge between languages, cultures, and histories. He wrote several poems about freedom as part of the struggle for  India's independence. It is our hope and endeavor that the prize will serve to continue his life's work in a small way.


The winner of the 2022 Jawad Memorial Prize for the translation of a single short story was Sana R. Chaudhry. The runner-ups were Shama Askari and Sabyn Javeri.

We are excited to offer the prize for translations of poetry on the theme of Freedom this year. Translators residing anywhere in the world are invited to submit (unpublished) translations into English of an already published Urdu poem. The winner gets INR 25,000 (USD $350) and a certificate, and the runner-up gets INR 10,000 (USD $150) and a certificate. Submissions are judged blind. Please read the rules carefully before submitting.

We encourage all scholars and translators to submit and spread the word. The deadline is August 30, 2023. 

Details and Rules:

Translators are invited to submit translations into English of an Urdu poem (already published) with a theme of Freedom. You are free to interpret freedom broadly as long as it is apparent to the jury.

The poem should be between 10 - 50 lines.


Translators can submit more than one entry.

The original poem in Urdu must either be free of copyright claims (65 years after the death of the poet) or the translator must obtain the Urdu poet's permission before submitting.

Please upload your translations with 'Jawad Memorial Prize Submission' in the subject field. The Urdu original should also be attached as either a pdf, jpeg or word document.


The poet's name must be mentioned in the document, but NOT the translator's name. 


The translator's name and a short biographical note (50 - 100 words) should be mentioned in the body of the email.

The judges will not be announced beforehand. Submissions are judged blind, so please do not write your name anywhere on the document submitted.

The submission must be an attachment with either a .docx or .rtf file.

The winning entries will be announced on or before January 1, 2024. (Please note that there will not be an award ceremony. The winners will be contacted individually and awarded their respective prizes.)

The decision of the judges is final.

The winning translator and the runner-up must consent to their work being published on the website as well as any other media platform for publicity purposes.

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