Where once people of North India called their lingua franca “Hindustani”, which included vocabulary from Hindi and Urdu, now there is a noticeable divide, so that, strangely, Hindi is associated with Hindus and Urdu with Muslims, possibly thanks to the increasing polarisation of a society bombarded by a mix of religion and politics. It is here that authors like Madan Lall Manchanda, who has been writing on modern Urdu literature for several years now, contribute to dissemination of knowledge that many of today's youngsters might miss, especially with English education becoming the norm.

Among his notable works is “Glimpses of Modern Urdu Literature” (K. K. Publications), in which his articles, published in English dailies and journals, have been compiled. The book introduces the reader to literary figures ranging from Ghalib and Zauq to the present-day writers.

“The book is divided into three sections,” he explains. “Poetry, fiction and drama.” Manchanda received the Urdu Academy Award for his earlier collection of essays on literary and social aspects, “Karvan-E-Urdu”.