Urdu was born, Russell writes, "out of the need of Muslim invaders of India from the 10th century onwards to create a literature in which they could communicate with their Indian subjects. Slow to gather literary momentum, it is now one of the great literatures of the area". This collection, selected and translated by Russell, includes the work by Ghalib, Saadat Hasan Manto, Ismat Chugtai, Prem Chand, Krishan Chander and many others. There are sections on popular literature, love poetry, the novel, new and traditional names. Notes on writers and further reading are included, as well as extracts from the letters of Ghalib.