(Last Updated on : 17/05/2012)
Raunaq Banarasi is one of the first native Urdu language
speakers to write for Parsi theatre
. He was originally from Varanasi
. His parents settled in the Deccan where Raunaq was born in 1825. They died when he was 18, and his grandmother took him to Nagpur
, in the state of Maharashtra
. Later, he moved to Mumbai
where he worked in a cotton mill in Parel. Well-versed in Persian and Urdu literature
, he had a keen interest in poetry. In the Indian city
of Mumbai, he was drawn to theatre.
Life in Theatre for Raunaq Banarasi
At some point Raunaq Banarasi joined the Victoria Company
. At first he joined only as an actor but later also functioning as a reviser, translator, and playwright. In his short literary career, he wrote and adapted over twenty plays, mostly idealistic and moralistic, on traditional tales of romantic love. His opus includes Benazir-Badremunir i.e. "Benazir and Badremunir" in 1880, not to be confused with Aram's 1872 version, Laila-Majnun i.e. "Laila and Majnun", Ashiq ka khun i.e. "Murder of a Lover", Baharistan-e-ashk i.e. "Spring of Tears", Sangin Bakavali i.e. "Petrified Bakavali", and Chameli gulab or "Jasmine and Rose". As with other Urdu dramatists of early Parsi theatre
, allegations of plagiarism exist against Raunaq too. He is reported to have committed suicide on the Victoria Company's stage in 1886. At that time he was performing a tragic role in Ashiq ka khun.
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