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OU Urdu Department turns 90

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Festive note: Syed Abdul Mannan, T. Tirupathi Rao and Ziauddin Ahmed Shakeeb at the seminar on Tuesday.
Festive note: Syed Abdul Mannan, T. Tirupathi Rao and Ziauddin Ahmed Shakeeb at the seminar on Tuesday.

K.Vijaya Bhaskara Reddy

The department, which was established in 1918 along with the university, played a pivotal role in attaining a distinct recognition for the varsity

HYDERABAD: Memories came flooding back as former Osmanians recollected the golden era of Osmania University’s (OU) Urdu Department, at a two-day international seminar conducted here on Tuesday to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the department. The department, which was established in 1918 along with the university, had played a pivotal role in attaining a distinct recognition to the university.

History of the university and that of the department were almost inseparable till the police-action in 1956, said Mohd. Mahfooz Ali Siddiqur, a mathematics professor who did his M.A. in mathematics in Urdu medium way back in 1945. OU became the first university in India to offer higher education in an Indian language.

Dar-ul-Turjuma, the translation bureau of the department translated hundreds of books in different subjects from English, French and German into Urdu.“We had Max Planck’s work on quantum physics and Will Durant’s Story of Philosophy in Urdu,” he remembered. The Nizam VII, Mir Usman Ali Khan was said to have earmarked a staggering Rs.12 crore for the bureau.

A university with an Indian language as medium of instruction caught the imagination of country, Dr. Rahimuddin Kemal, a constitutional law expert who did a B.A. in Urdu medium in 1944, said proudly. Rabindranth Tagore immediately wrote to the Nizam appreciating his efforts to get Indian higher education out from the clutches of English, he said. Chief guest at the seminar, Ziauddin Ahmed Shakeeb, a London-based archivist, requested the university to revive law, medicine and engineering courses in Urdu medium. Dr. Taqi Abedi, a Toronto-based physician and literary personality, brushed aside the claim that Urdu is an endangered language. “There are about 40 Urdu language publications in Canada and USA,” he said. The current Head of Department, Prof. Fatima Begum, said the department has been translating several works into Urdu, continuing its initial legacy. Vice-Chancellor of OU T. Tirupathi Rao, Chairman of Anjuman-e-Taraqqi-e-Urdu, Syed Abdul Mannan and MP Aziz Pasha were also present on the occasion.


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