Speakers at a seminar on Urdu literature in Rajasthan here on Sunday affirmed that Urdu as a dynamic language spoken by common people has a bright future and would get more people in its fold with the increasing employment opportunities in academics, media, public relations and book publishing.

The two-day seminar, titled “Rajasthan Mein Urdu Zabaan-o-Adab Ka Maazi, Haal Aur Mustaqbil” (Past, present and future of Urdu language and literature in Rajasthan), was organised by Anjuman Farogh-e-Urdu in collaboration with the Rajasthan Urdu Akademi. Urdu authors, novelists and poets from various districts of the State and from Delhi attended the event at the Chamber of Commerce Bhavan here.

Scholars addressing the seminar said Urdu was developed and nourished mainly in north-eastern parts of Rajasthan after the 1857 uprising, when a large number of litterateurs fled Delhi and took refuge in the erstwhile princely states of Rajputana. Alwar, Bharatpur and Jaipur emerged as the foremost places where Urdu poetry made a tremendous progress.

Urdu Akademi Chairman Habibur Rehman Niazi, inaugurating the seminar, cited a stanza of poet Munshi Heera Lal ‘Shohrat' highlighting the significance of Alwar before Independence: “Shor Hai Sher-o-Sukhan Ka Har Taraf, In Dinon Alwar Jahan Abaad Hai” (Everywhere there is a talk of poetry and literature, at the place where Alwar is situated).

Dr. Niazi said the Urdu Akademi would work for bringing recognition to the literary doyens of the State and carry forward the rich legacy of literary works in Urdu. He called upon the young authors to maintain high literary standards and enrich the language with new experiments in both prose and poetry.

Feroze Ahmed, former head of Rajasthan University's Urdu Department, said the literary history of Urdu in the desert State should be compiled in a systematic manner for helping out researchers. Referring to the lead taken by Rajasthan as early as in the early 18th century, he said Meer Fazal Ali Afzal of Bharatpur and Wali Deccani of Hyderabad had inspired each other.

Minister of State for Education Nasim Akhtar Insaf said the State Government was taking steps for promoting Urdu education in schools and had appointed Urdu-knowing para-teachers in madrasas. “Urdu is reaching large sections of people through ‘Mushairas' (poetic meets) and television programmes,” she said.

Suhail Anjum of Voice of America, New Delhi, said the circulation of Urdu newspapers across the country was constantly increasing and the 938 registered Urdu dailies had occupied the third rank, after Hindi and English, with the combined circulation figures of 2.16 crore. Tremendous opportunities were arising for the youths in Urdu journalism, he added.

Jaipur-based author Shakila Bano said the decline in quality of literature could be checked by evolving new “literary junctions” which could enrich the language by imparting training to young writers. Two new books, “Zakhmon Ke Phool” and “Jadeed Aam Maloomaat”, were also released on the occasion.

Ibn-e-Kanwal of Delhi University's Urdu Department, former Ajmer Dargah Nazim Khudadad Khan ‘Moonis', noted educationist Abul Faiz Usmani, Unani medico Syed Ahmed Khan and Javed Akhtar of United News of India (Urdu), New Delhi, were among those who addressed different sessions at the seminar.

Anjuman Farogh-e-Urdu secretary Zeba Zeenat said her organisation was apprising the younger generation of Urdu's rich cultural heritage and contribution to the freedom struggle through its publications as well as its fortnightly journal, “Hamari Taaqat”. The participants in the seminar were from Jaipur, Kota, Tonk, Bikaner, Sikar, Ajmer, Jodhpur, Jhunjhunu and Udaipur districts.

The language has a bright future, say scholars