Poet, prose writer, prosodist, lexicographer and philologist Ishrat lakhnavi's domain was also literary historiography and criticism.
Some of his works, such as Usool-i-Urdu, Zaban Dani and Islah-i-Zaban-i-Urdu, deal with the grammar and correct usage of language. In four slim parts he wrote a series on Urdu prosody. His Aab-i-Baqa is a tazkira, a genre that records the biographical sketches of poets and offers samples of their poetic works with a brief critical analysis. Aab-i-Baqa offers a quick look into the life and works of some 40 poets from Lucknow and Delhi.
Lughaat-i-Urdu is his Urdu to Urdu dictionary. Lakhnavi also wrote extensively on Urdu orthography, Hindi-Urdu controversy and issues related to Urdu and its promotion. But the history and culture of Oudh is the topic that lured him particularly and he wrote on it with a lot of flare and affection.
Lakhnavi's innumerable articles describing the historical and cultural aspects of life in Oudh are full of authentic information as Lucknow was his ancestral hometown and he was an eyewitness to some of the historical events taking place during his lifetime. Together they make a montage that has glimpses of life in Oudh in the nineteenth and early twentieth century: coronations, women of the royal family, poets, writers, courtiers, eccentrics, chivalrous men, literary debates, Hindi-Urdu controversy, old Lucknow's historical buildings, kite-flying, cockfights, Holi, Eid and what not.
Born Khwaja Abdur Rauf Ishrat into a well-off family of Lucknow. He mastered Persian and Arabic and profoundly studied classical Urdu and Persian literature though he had no formal schooling.
Compiled by:M. Nauman Khan