The Allure of Aligarh

A Poetic Journey into the University City

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the book

An illustrated coffee table book about Aligarh’s poetic landscape with the finest poetry in appreciation as well as criticism of Aligarh from the stalwarts of Urdu language and culture.

Urdu and Aligarh

A Match made in Heaven

Every corner of Aligarh boasts of its centuries-old history. Apart from its culture and Convention, it has also been the home base for some of the greatest poets the Indian subcontinent has ever produced.

While the city does not have any monuments or tombs to exhaust you on your next visit, what it does have is that old-world charm whose ambience will consume you and break all the clichés of how you perceive a city’s history.

The Magical Aura of Aligarh

You will realize that Aligarh is a character that you need to live up to, and its quirky nature will bind you and yet allow you to be free.

Its distinctive, intimate, majestic, and discernible spirit has an emotional point of reference rather than a topographical one. It carries a simplicity that you will not just find anywhere. Be it the old and the new or Science and poetry, Aligarh is where the Union of such contradictions transpire.

AMU :Pilgrimage to Aligarh

But it is the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) that put the city on the world map. From witnessing historic movements to bringing poetic brilliance of its culture, every inhabitant of Aligarh wears AMU’s badge with pride. Several poets have expressed their unending love for she’r-o-shayari and honed their art within the walls of this majestic University.

The alumni carry the love and respect for its institution and the City, both of which stand as a backbone of their creative journeys in life after having experienced the ambience of Aligarh.

Aligarh will blossom a sense of nostalgia... It will happen to you!
You are bound to immerse yourself in the compendium of this timeless city.

Huma Khalil


Author Introduction

Huma Khalil, an alumna of the Aligarh Muslim University, where she studied English Literature, Huma Khalil is an author, translator, and the editor of Bazm-e-Adab—an Urdu magazine wherein women writers contribute from around the globe. She regularly translates short stories and articles from Urdu into English for several publications.

forMobileImg Her latest work, Many Summers Apart: Gems from Contemporary Urdu Literature, is the transcreation from Urdu to English of her father, Khalil-ur-Rahman Azmi’s, seminal volume on the progressives, Urdu Mein Taraqqi Pasand Adabi Tehreek. A member of the advisory board of Rekhta, the largest online website for Urdu language and literature, Huma is currently writing and creating content for audio visual media on the life of Urdu poets.


David Lelyveld

Author of Aligarh's First generation

In troubled times, nostalgia for blue skies past achievements can be a kind of consolation.
Over a century and a half, Aligarh went through both political and social turmoil as well as literary and scholarly creativity. To recall this history can inspire some hope for renewal .

Irfan Habib

Historian and Professor Emeritus, AMU

As a student of the university seventy years ago, I relish memories of both mushaira (poetic gathering) and numaish (exhibition) one is so grateful to Huma Khalil for bringing that variegated past back to life.

Anubhav Sinha


I wish I could write in detail about Aligarh. I am so happy Huma has done that wonderful work.

Zarina Hashmi

Artist and Calligrapher

Huma's book is excellent to explain why I love poetry even though it has been more than four decades since I left Aligarh. Many like me who lived in that ambience infused with she'r-o-shayari tried to replicate the same wherever they lived all over the world.



My Aligarh

The First City of Joy

  • Aligarh Exploring the Shahr-e-Tarab
  • MAO to AMU From Conception to Realisation
  • Sir Syed Ahmad Khan The Visionary who Immortalised the City
  • Women’s College A Celebration of Womanhood

Aligarh through a Poetic Lens

  • George Peuch Shor The French European Connect
  • Akbar Allahabadi Biting Satire in Opposition of Aligarh
  • Altaf Hussain Hali Impact of the Poet and the Biographer
  • Asrar ul Haq Majaz Aligarh through a Romantic Lens

Through the Mind’s Eye

  • Numaish A Tale of Nostalgia in a Festive Ambience
  • Tehzeeb The Fine Art of Etiquette
  • Solidarity The Spirit of Camaradie
  • Tassavur to Tasveer Performing Arts and Creativity
  • Changing Ambience Travelling through Time

The Air of Aligarh and the Imli Tree

  • (The book ends with Muzzafar Ali's postscript giving a detailed account of own life in poetry as an Artist, a Filmmaker, a Photographer having derived inspiration from his days in Aligarh)
  • Flights of Courage Precious Pearls in the Sea of Aligarh
  • Urdu and Aligarh Presence of Aligarians in the World of Urdu

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India USA & Canada UK