Urdu captures Russians’ heart

Ekaterina Akimushkina

Ekaterina Akimushkina  

Russians are floored by the eye-pleasing calligraphy and the sweet flow of the language

HYDERABAD: Urdu intoxicates. And the intoxication is spreading far and wide, tripping people from icy Siberia to the capital city of Moscow. The Russians are floored by the eye-pleasing calligraphy and the sweet flow of the language.

Ekaterina Akimushkina looks a complete Russian in appearance and demeanour but when she expresses herself in Urdu it is a delight to hear her speak.

“The credit goes to the richness of the language and its expressions dripping with sweetness,” says Akimushkina, who teaches Urdu at Moscow State University.

Keen interest

Currently on a tour to Hyderabad to collect Urdu study material for her students, she says students from different parts of Russia are evincing keen interest in learning Urdu as they want to know more about India. Indian films, of course, have contributed a lot generating interest about India and its languages.

Gulzar’s poetry

Gulzar’s poetry encompassing a canvass of human emotions in Urdu is more popular in Russia than India’s other achievements.

Of course, Hindi too is a sought-after subject. Several CDs and DVDs of Indian films are in great demand in Russia and they love the romantic songs and their picturisation, she says in chaste Urdu.


Akimushkina herself was a “victim” of the Indian attraction leading to her deep interest in Urdu.

“My mother worked at the Oriental Museum in Moscow and was a specialist in Indian miniature art. Stories about Indian culture and heritage drew me here,” says the lady who has been teaching Urdu for the past six years.

Apart from Urdu poetry, Sufism too has brought her closer to the language and she is especially mesmerised by the philosophical and romantic poetry of Mushafi, an 18th Century poet.

Among modern writers, she likes the short stories of Intizar Hussain, particularly ones that capture the partition of India, and Khuratullain Haider.

Authors book

Akimushkina, currently in English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU) has written a book devoted to the evolution of ‘Habsiyyat’, a Parsi term to describe prison poems.

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