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Urdu beyond academies

Munawwar Rana. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar.   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Noted Urdu poet Munawwar Rana was bestowed with Sahitya Akademi Award (National Academy of Letters) 2014 for his book Shahdaba (A Collection of Beehives) December last. He was in the Capital for Jashn-e-Rekhta celebrations and was happy to talk of the ebb and tide in the affairs of Urdu.

The poet pointed that the language definitely suffered a setback due to events of 1947 leading to its identification with Muslims. “Prior to this Urdu was very popular and the fact that Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s wedding card was in Urdu proves the point. Post Independence it survived due to its culture and a legacy which is more than 500 years old and of course its ardent followers.” Quoting a line from a poem wherein the poet states that he can leave his religion but not his language, Munawwar highlights his point.

The present scenario is witnessing increasing youth participation in events connected with the language and he credits this to easy availability of different works including that of Ghalib in Hindi. “Traditionally both the languages have been described as inseparable sisters, each lending its uniqueness to the ethos of this country. The translations have made the rich Urdu literature accessible to Hindi-speaking readers. This is bound to draw them to the original language and text.”

On the issue of festivals and event being held in cosmopolitan spaces the poet points out that even in the past there were mushairas and ghazal mehfils in places like Bhilai, Rourkela and in many districts of Punjab. Their frequency and number has dwindled as several televisions channels are showing programmes on ghazals and Urdu poetry.

Munawwar is categorical that it is the Government’s responsibility to propagate all Indian languages though he suggests what probably only he could. “They should wind up all the Urdu academies which despite receiving funds have done little for the language. Instead an Urdu officer should be appointed in each district to help in spreading the language by offering guidance and proper teaching facilities.” In fact he looks forward to the language reaching its pinnacle when the language is adopted by 25 per cent non-Muslims.

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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 2:34:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/urdu-beyond-academies/article7015537.ece

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