PROJECT ĀDĀB: A Collection of Urdu Poetry

Project Ādāb presents an digitally-curated collection of 15 maestro poets and their selected masterpieces. At its heart however the project is a cultural intervention that attempts to reintroduce Urdu poetry via design and performance.

Project Ādāb (pr. aa-daab) is a multidisciplinary effort to reintroduce Urdu literature. At the surface it does so by presenting a digitally-curated anthology of original recitations, titled Ādāb. This is an assorted selection of fifteen prominent works, each of which represents a notable poet including Mir, Ghalib, Iqbal, Faiz, Josh, Nasir et al. The selection thus conveys a mélange of literary themes and styles that have enriched the literary imagination of South Asia for several generations.

More importantly however, this curation is beyond just an exercise in preserving literary capital; it is at its heart a cultural intervention through design that rebrands Urdu literature. It does so to appeal specifically to the younger generation––generation that is largely bereft of experiencing the rich legacy of Urdu poetry.

In doing so this intervention however first reconfigures how the idea of ‘rebranding’ applies in the said context by exploring it beyond mere recasting of the surface image and impression of Urdu poetry. That is, this demands a reconfiguration of how poetry should be conveyed today. In this vein, this project attempts to render a new digital milieu altogether––one that conveys the selected masterpieces such that the perceived identity of Urdu literature graduates into a more relatable and engaging experience for the contemporary eye.

This digital milieu relies on a methodological framework that broadly draws its epistemology from (1) the concepts and theories in visual communication design; (2) the art of performance; and (3) optimization of the digital medium. In effect, this model constitutes a ‘new convention’ of persuasion. The content, or poetic substance, contained in this complex, experimental infrastructure forms the Ādāb anthology.

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