The magic of Urdu poetry: Republic Day Mushaira

Nowhere in the world, poetry has such importance in society as in the Indian sub-continent. After all, where would thousands sit till midnight and after to listen to the poets! There is definitely something magical about Urdu poetry.

The Republic Day mushaira brought back memories of the mushairas of the past. After all, poets of the stature of Shaharyar, Waseem Barelvi, Saghar Khayyami and Zubair Rizvi were present on the stage

chiraaghoN ko bujhaana chaahti hai/havaa bhi aab-o-daana chaahti hai
ameer-e-shahar aaNkheN band karle/Gharibi muskuraana chaahti hai

This couplet by young poet Tariq Qamar set the stage and signalled that new generation of poets is ready to take off. After the Lucknow poet, it was Naeem Akhtar’s turn to wow the audience.

mere tumhaarii baat fasaana to hai nahiiN/hai bhii agar to sabko sunaanaa to hai nahiiN
tum do fareb aur maiN samjhuuN hunar use/itnaa bhii saadgii ka zamaanaa to hai nahiiN

The poet from the historic town of Burhanpur recited his ghazals in ‘tarannum’. And when Navaz Deobandi held the mike, the atmosphere was truly electric. His ghazal with the opening couplets:

jalte ghar ko dekhne vaalo phuus ka chhappar aapkaa hai
aag ke piichhe tez havaa hai, aage muqaddar aapka hai
uske qatl pe maiN bhii chup thaa mera number ab aaya
mere qatl pe aap bhii chup hai, aglaa number aapka hai

And the subsequent ghazals that had couplets like…

sach bolne ke shauq meN nuqsaan to huaa
lekin maiN saare shahar meiN zeeshaan to huaa

Poetesses were also impressive. But the mushaira reached its peak when the prince of Urdu poetry on the platforms of Mushaira, Professor Waseem Barelvi began reciting his ghazals and audiences wanted him to continue reciting his ghazals and geets.

bhalaa ghamoN se kahaaN haar jaane vaale the
ham aaNsuoN kii tarah muskuraane vaale the
hamii ne kar diyaa elaan-e-gumrahi varna
hamaare piichhe bohat log aane vaale the

After him the doyen of Urdu poetry and arguably the greatest poet of Ghazal in the country, Shaharyar, recited his ghazal:

dil meN utregi to puuchhegii junuuN kitnaa hai
nok-e-Khanjar hi bataayegii ki khuuN kitnaa hai

The ageing poet despite his ill health read his ghazal that turned the audience emotional. Elderly poet Saghar Khayyami injected humour into the gathering when he read out his ghazal:

Huuraan-e-khuld husn meN behtar haiN kis qadar
maide kii loii jism hai aur sharbati nazar
har chiiz naazukii meN rag-e-gul se Khuubtar
shab bhar Tatolte raho miltii nahiiN kamar

Above are just a few couplets of selected poets. The Mushaira was organised by Urdu Academy to mark the Jashn-e-Jamhuriyat (Republic Day).

The mushaira organised in Delhi, was a resounding success. Just when you start getting worried about the declining standards of poetry, there is an event that strengthens your belief about the survival of a language as sweet as Urdu and the charm of Urdu shaayri.

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25 thoughts on “The magic of Urdu poetry: Republic Day Mushaira”

  1. Yes, Urdu poetry is fascinating, magical and highly escapist. Perhaps its charm lies in its detachment from reality. Thus is periods of much decandence, eg early to mid 19th century when north Indian society had become very decadent and the elite of the community were reduced to being puppets of the British occupiers and moneylenders, Urdu poetry reached its zenith and the number of high quality Urdu poets was all time high. That great and imaginative Urdu poetry flowered from such a muddy morass is a mind boggling phenomenon.

    What is most cruel though is that in India today Urdu language prose is almost dead. Other than being the medium for religious discourse Urdu prose is no where to be seen. Urdu journalism is reduced to crass sensationalism. Essays or discussion on social, political, economic, technological subjects are very hard to find. Similarly it is rare to find a forum where serioius lectures are delivered in Urdu. Thus from being a rich and imaginative language with a growing and appealing vocabulary, Urdu language is reduced to being a language for entertainment only or a baazaari language.

    Thus today many a Urdu poets do not know how to write in Urdu; they write their poems in Devnagri script using Urdu vocabulary that they have picked up from movies or from Urdu speaking people. The establishment of Maulana Azad National Urdu University a decade ago was a good step to reverese the trend in Urdu language. Let us hope it will bear fruit and revive Urdu prose, thereby restoring the status of Urdu as a serious language.

  2. Kaleem Khawaja,

    The last part of your 2nd para is unfortunately concerning India,
    I suppose, its sad however, Urdu dying out in India.

    But it might happen to Pakistan as well as the trend, specially FreeTV
    culture is assassinating Urdu language and we must fight back.

  3. To claim that Urdu poetry is detached from reality and highly escapist shows an ignorance about Urdu literature. Urdu poetry consists of diverse currents from the romantic, religious to the post-modernist. One should at least read the collected anthologies, now conveniently available in translation and transliteration, before making sweeping and dismissive statements.

  4. Ayub:

    You have hit bull’s eye. It is Urduwallahs themselves who are predicting premature out-dating of Urdu literature. To quote Dushayanta Kumar:

    “Parinde ab bhi par tole hue hain
    hawaa mein sansani ghole hue hain
    tumhi kamzor padte jaa rahe ho
    tumhare khwaab to sholay hue hain
    ghazab hai sach ko sach kehte nahin voh
    Qura’n-O-Upanishad khole hue hain”

  5. I have read the Report in which I found a remark about the condition of URDU.
    Today , I wrote a letter which , you and all the LOVERS of URDU language and URDU literature may read and express their expert views , comments , suggestions. Saghier Ahmed Jafri , Urdu Manzil
    Re: Mizraab-2 / PROMOTION of “”URDU language and URDU literature
    all over the WORLD.

    Bhai Sarwar A.Raz !
    Assalam o Alaikum ,
    Aap ka paigham mila aur seh-mahee URDU Risala “MIZRAAB” ka
    doosra shumara.
    Bohut khoob.Yeh Adabi sisila jarai rakhain.
    Sarwar aur Urdu sai Mohabbet kernai walai tamam Dosto !
    Haqeeqat tou yeh hai keh puri Duniya main URDU LANGUAGE & URDU
    LITERATURE ki dhoom hai kiyunkeh Pakistan,India,Canada,Middle Eastern
    countries,USA,European countries,Bangladesh,UK,France,Denmark, Germany,Sweden,Japan,Thailand,UAE,KSA,Bahrain,Kuwait,Oman,Qatar,
    Afghanistan,Iran,China,Australia,Central Asian countries,Far Eastern countries,South Africa,Asian , African countries waghera main URDU LIKNAI , PERHNAI , BOLNAI walai logoon kai alawa , URDU sai Mohabbet kernai walai Organisers of MUSHAIRAI / ADABI TAQREEBAT / LITERARY & CULTURAL FUNCTIONS ka khoobsurat andaz main ehtamam kernai walai , jahaan kahein aur jitna mumkin hai , URDU KAI FAROGH / PROMOTION of URDU kai lieay khoob aur musalsal kaam ker rahai hain.
    I feel that the LOVERS of URDU literature and URDU language
    in almost all corners / parts / countries of the World,Urdu
    poets,writers,journalists,editors,Urdu media,education,computer
    experts,ladies,students,URDU teachers,professors,sponsors of Urdu
    programs,URDU TV Stations, Radio Stations Urdu Services,Urdu
    newspapers,Urdu weekly papers,Urdu magazines,Urdu websites,good Urdu
    films,dramas,stage shows,musical programs,ghazal/geet singing
    programs etc. are also helping a lot in the PROMOTION of URDU
    I suggest that all of us / Lovers of URDU language and URDU
    literature must get united / work unitedly , have “”PRACTICAL TYPE ,
    non – political namoona , RESULT ORIENTED / PURPOSEFUL URDU
    CONFERENCES”” which may suggest very much useful “””PRACTICAL STEPS
    etc.””” for Real / Wonderful / Continous Promotion of URDU everywhere
    and , DEFINITE STEPS to make URDU more and more POPULAR among the
    young boys and also , among the people of all the age groups , people
    belonging to different nationalities living / working in hundreds of
    countries in this World.
    I wish you and I wish all the Ahl e Qalam / poets, writers, journalists,editors,education,media,computer experts, teachers, students,professors,all the professionals,friends etc. who are carrying out excellent work to promote URDU in every corner of the globe , SUCCESS and BEST PROGRESS now and also in future.
    I have earlier requested many times that , the Govenments, Ministers/Officials/Ambassadors/Language Authorities,Anjumans Tarraqqi E URDU , URDU Boards , Urdu Schools,Colleges,URDU Universities,Government / Private Departments , Organizations , NGO’s , Bazm e Adab / Urdu Language / Urdu literature Promotion Associations,Anjumans,Clubs,Mehfils/URDU Societies etc. must take a lot of interest to Promote URDU everywhere and , to ensure that young people / new generation Definitely learns Reading , Writing , Speaking “” U R D U “”.
    I have requested the Urdu loving people especially those who
    wish to cooperate in my over fifty years efforts for promotion of
    URDU language and URDU literature to contact at any time so that ,
    ETC. for this GREAT PURPOSE.
    Best wishes,
    Saghier Ahmed Jafri , Kalba , UAE.
    Tel. # 00971 50 4454036 ( updated ) ( updated )

    —- Original Message —-
    From: Sarwar Raz
    To: Sarwar Raz
    Sent: Saturday, 2 February, 2008 8:13:16 AM
    Subject: Mizraab-2
    yaaraan-e-adab: aadaab!
    aap ko yeh jaan kar Khushee ho gee keh seh-maahee Urdu
    risaaleh “Mizraab” kaa doosraa shumaarah :on-line: aa gayaa hai. aap
    is ko par dekh sakte haiN. shukriyah!

    Sarwar A. Raz :Sarwar:

  6. I agree with Ayub Khan when he says: “To claim that Urdu poetry is detached from reality and highly escapist shows an ignorance about Urdu literature”
    Who can call the following couplet escapist:-
    “Jis khet se dehquan ko mayassar nahin rozee
    Us khet ke har khoshe gandum ko lala do”

    The fact is that Urdu poetry that I find on T.V. mushairas is far too political.
    Actually the contrary may be true- romanticism may be declining.

  7. Kaleem Khawaja and Ayub

    We are today competing with the developed world making our respectable place in world society. We have neighbors who like SHAREEKS don’t want us to get there. They want to pull us downwards, make us spend on weapons and ignore our poor. Just when you think there was some relief from Chinese side they have started flexing their muscles. Perhaps because they fear losing some of their domination in Asia.

    In situation like above should our Govt. worry about promotion of languages etc that our citizen can do better themselves? Why to expect Govt that is India in this case to do all that we can do better if we decide to. Have you not heard of an evening school in Calcutta where a lot of non-hindi-urdu speaking citizens have joined to learn Urdu in order to understand poetry better?

    If you love Urdu try promoting it! If you love Hindi do so! Bollywood is a Billion Dollar industry today and it has kept Urdu alive. Do people have to speak pure Urdu or Hindi all the time? NO. Indians overall speak Urdu all the time as at least 50% words they use in what is called Hindustani are Urdu words. So Urdu is very much alive in India. When I ask meanings of some difficult words from my Punjabi Pakistani friends whose national language is Urdu they are as ignorant as me (words like Munkir etc). Same is true in India. Indians don’t know the meanings of difficult sanskrit/hindi words either. So the point is that Urdu does not have to be complicated. It can be very simple and straightforward and can be written in Devnagri also. If you read Ghalib’s poetry you will realize that its beauty is in its simplicity. Its so deep at the same time.

    People who say Urdu is dying in India or is dead are those who won’t teach their children Urdu at home themselves but would expect State to include it as a compulsory subject. My Hindu parents had asked our private tutor to teach us Urdu. So I feel fortunate today.
    If you can afford it you can always give a gift of language to your children.

    Urdu has the best of Hindi, Persian, Turkish and Arabic that makes it so special. It is more fascinating in Poetry and Literature so everybody loves it. In other matters people prefer to read stuff in English that is also a country’s own language not foreign any more.

    If I had children one day I will arrange to teach them Urdu myself rather than depending on Govt. alone.

    Indian Muslims should not get mislead by this Urdu thing, they should have their eyes focused on learning English they can return to the luxury or Urdu poetry and literature after they have achieved economic freedom. In short people should learn things they are interested in. Indians love Urdu and its very much alive everywhere.

  8. Suresh Sharma you say “Indian Muslims should not get mislead by this Urdu thing, they should have their eyes focused on learning English they can return to the luxury or Urdu poetry and literature after they have achieved economic freedom. In short people should learn things they are interested in. Indians love Urdu and its very much alive everywhere.”

    Interesting thing here is that Late Firaq Gorakhpuri had once said (and started a controversy) that unless you know English you can not understand Urdu poetry.
    The point here is that we should study more than one language and this applies to all not just to Indian Muslims. It amazes me how many Kerala people speak 4 lanuages fluently- Malayalam, English, Hindi and Tamil. Many people just across the state border in Tamil Nadu speak only Tamil and English. Of the two groups which one is at an advantage in India? In many parts of North India people know only one language, putting themselves at a greater disadvantage at least as far as multi-national jobs are concerned.

  9. Dear LOVERS of URDU language , URDU literature / Ahl e Qalam Khwateen o Hazrat / Friends / Well wishers.
    I am reading all the correspondence , articles , reports etc. pertaining to the condition of URDU in different parts of the World.
    I can say with confidence that Urdu will remain as one of the most important,useful,wonderful,easy and also an excellent RAABTA ki language / Lingua Franca in most of the important areas / countries of this difficult world.
    In the beginning of this century,a few writers were seen talking in URDU Conferences etc. saying that due to certain attitude / behaviour of Governments , Language / Education Authorities / Language Boards / Anjuman Taraqq i Urdu , some Senior poets , writers , Urdu medium English medium “business” right from the standard one / class one and , in the case of new generation , many parents paying too much attention to English first for their children , Urdu “” may not survive “”??
    I always argued with them and never agreed to their thinking.I always maintained that Urdu language and Urdu literature will always survive provided the Urdu loving people now living , working in hundreds of countries / in every corner of the World will continue working hard for PROMOTION of URDU in their areas / countries.
    In my speeches,conversations,discussions,telephone calls to thousands of prominent poets,writers,scholars,journalists,editors,media,education, computer experts,organisers,sponsors of Urdu literary,cultural functions,programs,Urdu loving professionals,students,ladies,businessmen, teachers,professors,heads of education institutions,people belonging to all the professionals etc. , I mentioned that,Urdu teaching schools,colleges, universities,community centres arranging free Urdu classes on Fridays or Sundays,Urdu TV Channels,Urdu Radio programs,Urdu news,views,dramas, newspapers,weekly papers,Urdu magazines,websites,Urdu films in Pakistan, India,Middle Eastern countries,USA,Canada,Asian,European,Far Eastern countries,Australia, Bangladesh,China,South Africa,Central Asian,African countries etc. , Urdu poets,writers,journalists,editors,education,media, computer experts,all the professionals,organisers,directors,producers, singers,actors,music experts,sponsors,businessmen,senior students,ladies etc. are carrying out excellent works day and night in every corner / area of the WORLD for PROMOTION of URDU language and URDU literature all over the World.
    I suugest that all the LOVERS of URDU must get united IMMEDIATELY and request the Governments,Language Development Authorities,Language Boards, Anjumans,Assoiations,URDU Promotion Authorities/Socities/Clubs/ Government and Semi – Government Departments etc. to arrange EVERY SIX MONTHS , proper / practical type / non – political type ( Not Siasi Namoona , Desk Playing Useless Namoona ) , URDU CONFERENCES in which the sincere,serious, honest recommendations , suggestions , views , comments of the responsible , talented , capable type URDU POETS , WRITERS , SCHOLARS must be IMPLEMENTED SERIOUSELY for Proper PROMOTION of URDU EVERYWHERE.
    The Urdu loving people who wish to cooperate in your Brother Eng’r.Poet, Writer Saghier Ahmed Jafris’s over fifty years of continous struggles / efforts to PROMOTE URDU LANGUAGE and URDU LITERATURE may contact at:
    I hope that the poets,writers,students,teachers,professors,journalists, editors,scholars,ladies,media,computer experts and all the professionals etc. will express their views,suggestions on this IMPORTANT MATTER.
    Saghier Ahmed Jafri ,

  10. Sameen,
    When I was talking about focus on English it was primarily about academics. It applies to all Indians actually. But why I categorically said “Indian Muslim” is because there is more cultural and religious pressure on them. So why add on them another obligation of learning Urdu. That seems secondary to me. Urdu is a beautiful language and it’s totally an Indian product. More we add religious flavor to it more damage we cause to the language.

    I also said that providing opportunity to learn one or more languages is one of the best gifts a parent can give to a child. I am very much in support of knowing more languages. Knowing each additional language gives you a chance to live another culture and make more friends. And if you could read and write another language the pleasure is doubled. You can then read the literature of that language in its original form. But it’s a shame (pity) that we do not have that much time to do everything in life.

    In earlier times people were more bound together by language and culture than religion. As far as Kerala is concerned everybody knows that they are survivalist community. One of the reasons behind that is their boldness to try any language. That state was also known for communal harmony as just like Bengalis they also bind by language and culture. Things are slightly different now. I have known many north Indian friends who have lived years in Southern India but have not tried the local language.

    I incidentally know many languages myself and how much it has enriched my life can’t be put in words.

    But you did not comment on one thing. Do you personally feel that Urdu is dead in India?

  11. Mr. Saghier Ahmed Jafri ,

    That is what I was also advocating. If you love something and you feel strongly about something you must do something about it yourself first. Get a Qayeda (book of alphabets) from market teach your children Urdu alphabet. Whe you teach your children Right to Left script its more fascinating as children love doing things that are different.

    I have a close relative who worked all his life towards promotion of Hindi in a non-Hindi environment. Being a teacher he did not earn much and at the cost of his family happiness he spent lot of his funds on his interest. All on his own without any help from the state. Not that everybody started reading Hindi but just for the internal satisfaction that one gets by persuing things that they love.

    Rich nations particularly German and French spend a lot of money to promote their languages that is not possible in India where there are so many languages and each one so rich. But what your country can’t do Rich of the country can do. I know people discredit contribution of Bollywood to languages but it does play a very important role. It provides a share of money that it makes to the writers and poets who write in Urdu,

    You can alway save someone from dying and you can also continue feeling sorry for someone dying. But its the later that most of us do. When it comes to a good step we always wait for someone else to take first.

  12. It is surprising that no one commented on the core problems that Urdu is facing in the last 60 years, which are:
    1. The erstwhile Urdu language that was rich in poetry, prose, and journalism is now mostly the language of poetry only and that of entertainment and Bollywood movies. Urdu journalism, prose and lectures on serious topics have declined drastically.
    2. Number of people who can write in Urdu has dropped sharply in the last 60 years. The number of people whose Urdu vocabulary is good has reduced drastically over the years.
    3. The decline of Urdu in the last 60 years is obvious.

    Some people referenced poetry and some prose written more than 75 years ago to prove that today Urdu continues to be a rich language. Unfortunately today a lot of people think that since Urdu is being spoken in Bollywood movies and other entertainment arenas it is continuing to be a quality language.

    I agree with the comment that it is Urduwala Muslims who carry the primary responsibility for the decline of Urdu language. It is these people who have sharply cut back on teaching Urdu to their children. Even though Urdu is not a Muslim language, most people who speak Urdu in India are Muslims. Urduwala Muslims justifiably complain that the Govt is not supporting the teaching of Urdu in schools in north India, but they do not look at the fact that they are doing almost nothing to save Urdu other than attend Mushairas or quote Urdu poetry. The readability of Urdu newspapers has dropped very low and most Urdu newspapers are not worth reading. The number of Urdu books and newspapers published in India has dropped drastically in the last 60 years.

  13. I agree to what Sharma Sahab has said regarding the need for parents to teach Urdu to their children.

    Kaleem Sahab, Urdu will never die. I tell you, madarsas and poor Muslims will keep it alive. In the late 60s, a famous Urdu poet had openly said that there was no future for Urdu in India because he knew nobody in his family under the age of 18 who could read Urdu.

    And I don’t see such a situation even today. Or the late 80s when Urdu-walas including Ismat Chugtai and lot of others were insisting on changing the script.

    Even before partition or after, there was no newspaper that sold as much as the pan-Indian Roznama Rashtriya Sahara (Urdu) which is today published from Bangalore, Kolkata, Delhi, Lucknow, Mumbai, Kanpur, Patna and Hyderabad apart from a few other locations soon.

    We have an Urdu channel and another would be launched soon. There is less opposition to Urdu now. I have noticed that as one goes upwardly mobile, one feels that Urdu is dying because in that particular society you won’t find people reading Urdu magazines.

    It’s good that non-Muslim business groups have turned towards Urdu. The publication of The Sunday Indian, weekly in Urdu, has been a surprise because of the high quality of paper and the standard of the magazine.

    Poetry is dead in almost every language. It is an era of fiction. (Just a few months back Shamsur Rahman Faruqi’s Kai Chand the Sar-e-Aasman got published and was printed by Penguin.)

    Urdu has managed to produce goods poets lately. In prose also Bihar and Maharashtra have many good writers. The number of literary magazines apart from the mainstream ones, Shair, Ajkal, Aiwan-e-Urdu, Kitabnuma, Naya Daur, Tamseel, Naya Waraq, Intesab….the list is long and all of them are standard magazines.For sixty years Muslims in India have been worried about the future of the language.

    This pessimism must end. We all have to made our individual efforts in all possible ways, through subscribing to a couple of magazines, at least one newspaper, encouraging people to have nameplates and signboards in Urdu also apart from other languages and whatever ways one can think of rather than lamenting about its future.

    I have personally taught Urdu to two of my non-Muslim friends who now subscribe to Urdu magazines. So let’s shed this pessimism and work zealously towards popularizing Urdu.

  14. I and Sabiha Saba are glad to note that many Urdu loving people are discussing about the beautiful,wonderful Urdu language.Its progress,developement, present “condition” and , how best we ( all the lovers of Urdu language and Urdu literature , Urdu poets,writers,scholars,students, teachers,professors, parents,journalists,editors,media,computer experts,language authorities, senior officials,ministers,sponsors of Urdu literary and cultural programs, directors,producers,ceo’s of television channels,radio stations,webmasters, ceo’s of Urdu newspapers,magazines,actors,anchor persons,singers,music experts,Governments etc. ) can make it more and more popular among the people of all the age groups , especially the young boys and girls , new anchor persons , actors , actresses who are using “too many English words” while participating in “Urdu programs , Urdu TV Channels , Radio Urdu services / programs/interviews , seminars , literary discussions , literary , cultural , business , professionals meetings , political – non political speeches , lectures etc.”
    It is IMPORTANT to encourage the businessmen,other interested people / lovers of Urdu language and Urdu literature to establish / arrange as many Free Urdu classes in community centres , near community halls available in many countries such as Middle Eastern,European,Asian,Far Eastern,African countries,USA,Canada,Australia,Central Asian countries,Urdu libraries , Urdu teaching schools,Colleges,Universities teaching Urdu in regular or special evening / night Urdu learning / teaching classes.
    The young boys and girls must be encourages to learn reading , writing , speaking Urdu and , writing Urdu in Urdu Script.
    On the basis of my over fifty years experience in PROMOTION of URDU , I can say with confidence that URDU will survive , progress all the time , become more and more popular among young people / people of all the age groups PROVIDED everyone / all the Urdu loving people , poets , writers , journalists,editors,parents , teachers , professors , businessmen , sponsors of Urdu literary , cultural Functions , organisers , ladies , students , all the professionals etc.take a lot of interest in the PROMOTION of URDU all over the World.
    I AM READY to travel anywhere for this purpose.
    Saghier Ahmed Jafri ,

  15. Friends and admirers of Urdu.
    Again I am surprised to see many emotional comments dripping with the blood and tears of those who admire Urdu language so much. But emotions and tears and wishes can not hide the reality. The reallist in rthe heartland of Ursdu (Delhi,UP, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh) is that:
    – The number pf people who can read and write Urdu (not just speak) has sharply declined since 1947.
    – The number of schools where Urdu is taught and the number of Urdu teachers in schools has sharply declined since 1947.
    – The number of Urdu newspapers with decent circulation in the above Urdu heartland states has sharply declined since 1947
    – The number of Urdu books published has sharply declined
    – Urdu prose: Other than religious Isalamic literature hardly any other Urdu prose material (essays, articles, analysis on mainstream topics ) is published these days in magazines etc.
    – The number of lectures on serious topics in Urdu in various cities has sharply declined since 1947
    – Urdu has today become increasingly limited to public entertainment only

    These are the problems that Urdu speaking Muslims in the above states must first acknowledge and then build solid programs to recover from. Not doing something about these grievous problems and just saying populist, nice sounding wishful things will not stop Urdu’s decline. Just attending Urdu entertainment events like mushairas, or ghazal recitation programs or Bollywood movies will not restore Urdu as a serious language as it was in the pre-1947 period. Let us be pragmatic not emotional.

  16. Kawaja Saheb,

    You are correct in observing that the number of Urdu literate people has declined since partition. But your observations only the down side. Here are a few hopeful facts:

    1. The number of Urdu dailies has actually increased in AP. Four dailies with circulation in thousands are now being published from Hyderabad: Siasat, Munsif, Etemaad, Rehnuma-e-Deccan. This apart from the local edition of Daily Sahara and several weeklies like Saaz-e-Dezzan, Awaaz, etc.

    2. Every year hundreds of students, of all faiths, participate in Urdu classes organized by the Siasat during the summer vacations and pass the exams.

    3. The above mentioned newspapers and those belonging to other areas like Inquilab, Urdu Times, Hindustan Express, Nai Dunia, publish informative articles which are not solely based on emotionalism. Each week they have supplements on women’s issues, current affairs, children’s section, literary supplements, youth and career, etc. Some years ago for the first time I saw an Urdu daily bringing out an auto supllement completely in Urdu including the ads from top companies.

    4.Apart from these dailies we have focussed academic, research, and ideological journals which publish serious article. Here is a list: 1. Urdu Book Review 2. Zindagi-e-Nau, 3. Tahqeeqat-e-Islami 4.Bahas O Nazar 5. Taamer-e-Hayat 6. Urdu Dunya 7. Al Furqan 8. Maarif 9.Akhbar-e-Urdu 10. Iqbal Review, etc.

    5. There has been a sharp increase in the number of new non-religious urdu books being published. It is another matter that their print run is small compared to religious literature. A quick glance at the latest issue of Urdu Book Review will testify this fact.

    6. UBR also informs us that scholars from places as diverse as Dharwad, Bhatkal, and Baroda have recently obtained their Phds in Urdu. It is interesting to note that Maharaja Siyajirao University in Baroda granted to the Phd to Maseeuz Zaman Khan Ansari for his research on Wali Deccani. His supervisor was Dr. Anwar Zaheer Ansari had completed his Phd on Sahir Ludhianwi from the same university without a supervisor.

    While it may be useful to raise the alarm once in a while, it is not good to continously do so. It engenders a defeatist mentality.

  17. Dear Friends,
    The decline of Urdu in India and other parts of the world is because it is labelled as a religous language but the fact of the matter is that URDU is the
    language spoken from Calcutta to Kabil inspite of wrong labelling and
    extremist views of the people of india and pakistan.
    Urdu is the cultural ambassador of North India and pakistan and it has roots in the indian soil.
    Unfortunately even urdu speakers are neglecting the language and as a result second generation of Urdu speakers in USA and Canada is ignorant and unable to speak proper Urdu.
    Urdu is boquet of Indian dialects and it should be preserved.Elites of India and
    Pakistan has adopted english as their first languge which is sad and affecting not only the social/cultural values but depriving the future generation from this beautiful language.If people are not able to write in Arabic script,there must be an alternate ROman script and Devnagari script with all the vowels and phonetic sounds,

  18. Eng’r.Poet,Writer,Editor Saghier Ahmed Jafri’s Letter to all the Friends.
    Dear Friends !
    In the past,I have arranged many Paintings and Photographs Displays / Exhibitions in which the Painters,Artists,Photogrphers participated and presented their woderful paintings,interesting black and white and colour photographs.
    I am also Founder of Urdu – Other languages Mushairai / Sham e Afsana wa Ghazal Programs which also includes the Arabic , Sindhi , Punjabi , Balochi , Pushto , Saraiki , Bengali , Hindi , Gujrati , English languages.
    The poets,writers,journalists,editors present their beautiful poetry,short stories,articles etc.Their works are well appreciated.
    The poets,writers,editors,media,education experts,painters,artists, singers,photographers may participate in our literary and cultural functions / programs.
    Best wishes,
    Saghier Ahmed Jafri ,

  19. I have read all the messages pertaining to the condition of Urdu language and Urdu literature.
    In order to keep the Urdu alive , to ensure that Urdu progresses WELL everywhere and , Urdu becomes more and more popular among the people of all the age groups especially the present and the future generations , ALL of US will have take serious,sincere,rapid,practical actions and NOT the talks or writings only.
    We may be living anywhere / work at any place , we must , I repeat WE MUST form unity.Arrange regular practical style / namoona meetings of really interested,talented, sincere,honest,smart LOVERS of URDU , Urdu loving parents,teachers, professors,talented ladies,able senior students,talented, sincere business experts,professionals,active organisers and sponsors of Urdu mushairai,Urdu international,local functions,Sham e Afsana wa Ghazal / Ghazal , Geet Singing program organisers,Urdu conferences organisers,Urdu Free classes,Urdu teaching school,colleges owners,Urdu TV / Radio owners/ceo’s etc. who may be helpful in arranging such Regular,Practical Type Gatherings where all matters/issues relating to the Promotion/ Progress/ Actions may be discussed and decided in the larger interest of the beautiful language URDU.
    I and Sabiha Saba (Urdu poetess,writer,journalist,chief editor Urdu Manzil) have dedidated ourselves for Promotion of Urdu language and Urdu literature all over the World.We are ready to travel to any part of the World at our expences TO PROMOTE URDU.The LOVERS of URDU may contact us at :
    Saghier Ahmed Jafri

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