No one has monopoly over Urdu: Prof. Rizvi

June 27, 2018
Abdul Rahman M. Baig

Saudi Gazette

— “No one has a monopoly over a language. A language is not merely a tool to communicate; it has its own history of evolution and development, a whole culture is behind it,” said a noted academician here at the weekend.

Delivering his keynote address at an event organized by Urdu Gulban Jeddah, a literary club for the promotion of Urdu language, Prof. Khurshid Rizvi, chief guest at the event, highlighted the immense role played by Urdu language in the Indian subcontinent that helped in the overthrow of the colonial British Empire.

Some sections of the society, he said, regard Urdu as the language of the Muslims. “This is bigotry pure and simple. It (Urdu) has been the language of the common masses and it will remain so even in the face of concerted attempts to limit its scope,” Prof. Rizvi said.

Prof. Rizvi is a multifaceted scholar of oriental languages who possesses equal dexterity in Arabic, Persian, Urdu and English while also being well-versed in Punjabi. He also ranks highly among the Urdu poets, researchers and men of letters in Pakistan. In recognition of his literary services, Prof. Rizvi was decorated with one of the highest civilian awards in Pakistan — Sitara-e-Imtiaz — in 2008.

Prof. Rizvi lauded several literary organizations in the Gulf, which have been tirelessly making efforts to protect Urdu language and its associated history and culture. Poetry sessions, seminars and workshops, he said, are being organized all across the Gulf and other parts of the world by those who really love and adore Urdu. “They are doing it against all odds, and that is remarkable,” he said.

Talking about the future of Urdu language, Prof. Rizvi sounded very optimistic. “To some extent, the popularity of English medium schools has endangered the future of Urdu, but we can pin our hopes on the new generation for the promotion of the language. The new generation is the standard-bearers of our national language in Pakistan,” he said.

Another renowned academician and a famous Urdu critic, Prof. Shamim Hanafi, echoed Prof. Rizvi’s sentiments and said Urdu is a viable and lively language which has, despite several evil attempts from some vested interests, has been flourishing in the Indian sub-continent.

“It will continue to grow whatever its opponents do,” he said. “It is the language of the masses; the language of a common man. It will not be easy for anyone to belittle its importance,” Prof. Hanafi said.

Prof. Hanafi is an Urdu critic, dramatist and a proponent of modernist movement in Urdu literature, and has authored many books on modernism including “Jadeediyat ke Falsafana Ahsaas”, “Jadeediyat aur Nai Shairi” and “Nai Sheri Riwayat.”

Prof. Hanafi presently resides in New Delhi and serves as patron to many literary societies and organizations like Rekhta and Jashan-e-Adab.

He is also a great advocate of bonhomie between Hindi and Urdu and travels the world over for this purpose. He is of the opinion that a curriculum should be designed where both Hindi and Urdu should be taught together. This, as per him, will bridge the gap between the two languages and also revive the mutual tradition of both the languages. Hanafi also emphasizes the need to protect both languages from religious extremism and politics.

Earlier, Mahtab Qadr, president of Urdu Gulban, welcomed the keynote speakers and other guests and presented a short introduction of Prof. Rizvi. Hasan Bayzeed introduced Prof. Hanafi to the audience. He also paid rich tributes to his contribution in the preservation and progress of Urdu language.

Later in the evening, local poets recited regaled the audience with their latest poems. Afsar Barabankwi stole the evening with his melodious rendition. The program was deftly compered by Muhammad Aslam Afghani. Sadiq Hussain proposed the vote of thanks.

June 27, 2018
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