Based on literary, cultural, and historical importance, this list tries to present some of the most remarkable works in Urdu. It is not limited to literature and includes books on history, culture, philosophy and religion. Readers may, of course, disagree and make their own lists. The list is not in order of preference.
1. Kulliyat-i-Sauda: collected works of Mirza Rafi Sauda, one of the classical Urdu poets.
2. Kulliyat-i-Meer: collected works of Mir Taqi Mir, one of the greatest of Urdu poets.
3. Bagh-o-bahar: a dastan, written by Mir Amman, is an example of simple yet idiomatic classical prose.
4. Fasana-i-ajaib: a dastan, penned by Rajab Ali Baig Suroor, is among the samples of the most ornate classical Urdu prose.
5. Gulzar-i-Naseem: one of the best Urdu masnavis, composed by Daya Shankar Naseem.
6. Kulliyat-i-Insha Allah Khan Insha: collected poetical works of a maestro.
7. Kulliyat-i-Nazeer Akberabadi: collected works of a classical yet modern poet.
8. Divan-i-Ghalib: one of the greatest works in Urdu poetry.
9. Khutoot-i-Ghalib: letters by the great bard.
10. Kulliyat-i-Zauq: collected works of one of the maestros of Urdu poetry and idiomatic expression.
11. Sahr-ul-bayan: one of the best Urdu masnavis, composed by Mir Hasan.
12. Marasi-i-Anees: the elegies composed by one of the greatest poets of the genre.
13. Rubaiyaat-i-Anees: the maestro offers the best quatrains in Urdu.
14. Marasi-i-Dabeer: elegies composed by a great poet rivalled only by Anees.
15. Kulliyat-i-Aatish: collected works of another great poet of the Lucknow school.
16. Mazameen-i-Sir Syed: a selection of essays of one of the pioneers of the genre of essay in Urdu.
17. Bahr-ul-fasahat: a masterpiece on the art of prosody by Najm-ul-Ghani Rampuri.
18. Kulliyat-i-Akber Allahabadi: collected poetical works of a humorist and satirist.
19. Kulliyat-i-Nazm-i-Hali: collected poetical works of one of the pioneers of modern Urdu poetry.
20. Aab-i-hayat: a critical study of Urdu poetry and poets by Muhammad Hussain Azad.
21. Khayalaat-i-Azad: collected satirical essays of Nawab Syed Muhammad Azad.
22. Kala pani: an autobiography by Jafer Thanesari.
23. Seerat-un-Nabi: life of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) in seven volumes, by Shibli Naumani and Syed Sulaiman Nadvi.
24. Shair-ul-ajam: critical analysis of Persian poetry by Shibli Naumani.
25. Ibn-ul-vaqt: a satirical novel by Nazeer Ahmed Dehlvi.
26. Fasana-i-Azad: a humorous novel-like dastan by Pandit Ratan Nath Sarshar.
27. Sanam khana-i-ishq: a collection of ghazals by Ameer Meenai.
28. Gulzar-i-daagh: a collection of ghazals by Daagh Dehlvi.
29. Kulliyat-i-naat: by Mohsin Kakorvi, one of the best naat-writers of Urdu.
30. A dictionary of Urdu, classical Hindi and English: by John T. Platts.
|A dictionary of Urdu, classical Hindi and English by John T. Platts|
31. Farhang-i-Asifiya: compiled by Syed Ahmed Dehlvi, it is one of the most authentic of Urdu dictionaries.
32. Umrao jaan ada: a novel by Mirza Hadi Rusva.
33. Muqaddama-i-shair-o-shaeri: a treatise on modern Urdu criticism and poetics by Altaf Hussain Hali.
34. Yadgar-i-Ghalib: a biography of Ghalib by Altaf Hussain Hali.
35. Miftah-ul-qavaid: Urdu grammar in two volumes, by Fateh Muhammad Jalandhari.
36. Qavaid-i-Urdu: Urdu grammar by Moulvi Abdul Haq.
37. Kulliyat-i-Iqbal: collected works of one of the greatest poets of Urdu.
38. Kulliyat-i-Zafar Ali Khan: collected poetical works.
39. Noor-ul-lughaat: compiled by Noor-ul-Hasan Nayyar, a dictionary much underrated despite its merits.
40. Mazameen-i-Farhat: humorous essays by Farhatullah Baig.
41. Prem Chand ke afsaane: a selection of short stories.
42. Ghubaar-i-khatir: a collection of letters by Abul Kalam Azad.
43. Anarkali: drama by Imtiaz Ali Taj.
44. Manto ke afsaane: a selection of short stories.
45. Tlism-i-khayal: a collection of short stories by Krishan Chandr.
46. Mazaameen-i-Rasheed: satirical essays by Rasheed Ahmed Siddiqi.
47. Majmooa Hasan Askari: collected critical works of Muhammad Hasan Askari.
48. Pitras ke mazameen: humorous essays by Pitras Bukhari.
|Pitras ke mazameen|
49. Kausar trilogy: a social and cultural history of Indo-Pak subcontinent in three volumes by S.M. Ikram.
50. Bar-i-azeem Pak-o-Hind ki millat-i-Islamia: written by I.H. Qureshi, it is a comprehensive history of Muslims in the subcontinent.
51. Mazaameen-i-Saleem Ahmed: the collected critical works.
52. Khutbaat: this book of Maulana Mowdoodi’s has run into over 100 editions.
53. Urdu encyclopaedia of Islam: Published by Punjab University, Lahore, in 23 volumes.
54. Urdu lughat taareekhi usool par: the most comprehensive, 22-volume Urdu dictionary published by Urdu Dictionary Board, Karachi.
55. Urdu thesaurus: compiled by Rafiq Khavaer and published by Muqtadira Qaumi Zaban, Islamabad.
56. Encyclopaedia Pakistanica: the one-volume work by Syed Qasim Mahmood.
57. Ganjeena-i-gauher: a collection of pen-sketches by Shahid Ahmed Dehlvi.
58. Bajang aamad: humorous memoirs by Colonel Muhammad Khan.
59. Urdu ki aakhri kitab: a satirical work by Ibn-i-Insah.
60. Aag ka darya: a novel by Qurrat-ul-Ain Hyder.
|Aag ka darya: a novel by Qurrat-ul-Ain Hyder|
61. Khuda ki basti: a novel by Shaukat Siddiqi.
62. Aangan: a novel by Khadija Mastoor.
63. Chiragh tale: essays by one of the most prominent humorists, Mushtaq Ahmed Yousufi.
64. Afkaar-i-Pareeshan: peppered with satire, the essays were written by Justice M. R. Kayani.
65. Dunya gol hai: a travelogue with Ibn-i-Insha’s typical humour.
66. Jadeed Urdu shaeri: a two-volume treatise on modern Urdu poetry by Aziz Hamid Madani.
67. Safar dar safar: travel account by Ashfaq Ahmed, in his usual style.
68. Tareekh-i-adab-i-Urdu: the monumental, four-volume history of Urdu literature by Jameel Jalibi.
69. Urdu shaeri ka mizaaj: a critical work by Wazir Agha.
70. Mazameen-i-Siraj-i-Muneer: essays on literature, culture and history.
71. Kulliyat-e-Aziz Hamid Madani: collected poetical works.
72. Basti: a novel by Intizar Hussain.
73. Khama bagosh ke qalam se: satirical literary criticism by Mushfiq Khwaja.
74. Sarguzasht: memoirs by Z.A. Bukhari.
75. Zarguzasht: memoirs by Mushtaq Yousufi.
76. Aam lisaniyaat: a comprehensive work on linguistics by Gian Chand.
77. Ma fiz-zameer: a collection of humorous poetry by Zameer Jaferi.
78. Shaukhi-i-tehreer: a collection of humorous poetry by Syed Muhammad Jaferi.
79. Tareekh-i-falsafa: a one-volume history of philosophy, translated by Moulvi Ehsaan, published by Karachi University.
80. Falsafe ke bunyadi masail: basics of philosophy, by Qazi Qaiser-ul-Islam.
81. Aam fikri mughalte: common theoretical misconceptions, written by Ali Abbas Jalalpuri.
82. Aanandi: short stories by Ghulam Abbas.
|Aanandi by Ghulam Abbas|
83. Maqalat-i-Sherani: research papers on Urdu and Persian languages and literature by Hafiz Mahmood Sherani, in 10 volumes.
84. Mabahis: critical essays by Syed Abdullah.
85. Lisani masael-o-lataaef: collection of interesting articles on Urdu language, by Shan-ul-Haq Haqqee.
86. Kashshaf-e-tanqeedi istelahaat: a dictionary of literary terms by A. Hafeez Siddiqi.
87. Urdu imla: scholarly work on Urdu orthography by Rasheed Hasan Khan.
88. Yadon ki baraat: an autobiography by Josh Maleehabadi.
89. Nuskha haae vafa: poetical works of Faiz Ahmed Faiz.
|Faiz Ahmed Faiz.|
90. Kulliyat-i-Josh Maleehabadi: collected poetical works.
91. Tadveen-i-hadith: a history of Hadith by Manazir Ahsan Geelani.
92. Khushboo: a collection of Parveen Shakir’s poetry.
93. Gulaftab: a collection of modernistic poetry by Zafar Iqbal.
94. Parvaaz: humorous essays by Shafeeq-ur-Rahman.
95. Kulliyat-i-N. M. Rashid: collected poetical works.
96. Kulliyat-i-Majeed Amjad: collected poetical works.
97. Khutbaat-i-Bahwalpur: a collection of essays on Islam by Dr Muhammad Hameedullah.
98. Aavaz-i-dost: cultural and historical essays by Mukhtar Masood.
99. Dar-i-dilkusha: memoirs by Sheikh Manzoor Ilahi.
100. Any novel by Ibn-i-Safi: the great writer of detective fiction.
Published in Dawn, March 16th, 2015