URDU NEEDS ATTENTION,
BY JAVED ZAHEER
Center of excellence is the most appropriate title for the city of
Toronto. It deserves this recognition because of the tremendous
contribution being made in all fields by people of all walks of life. The
progress is evident and not assumed and has made Canada proud.
Urdu language too is getting
full attention, promotion and official recognition in Canada, thanks to
Toronto and immigrants. It is fast growing, gaining popularity and carving
its deserving place in the society. Now and then various local and
international intellectual, social, cultural and religious activities are
held and largely attended by the people. A large number of people come
from abroad, who not only help in richness of the society but also help
promote Urdu, culture and values worldwide. They possess tremendous
knowledge and are helping end the era of darkness.
The main focus worldwide is
and should be on how to protect and promote Urdu in the society, all our
generations and people. Urdu being both charismatic and majestic because
of its excellent qualities keeps absorbing other languages in the most
beautiful way. Urdu in reality is an ocean and other languages keep
falling into it like rivers. The fragrance of Urdu keeps spreading
everywhere and fast.
Urdu is like the sky studded
with billions of shining stars. It is like the river from where millions
benefit and quench their thirst. All attempts to suppress and destroy Urdu
have miserably failed and instead it is benefiting all societies and
cultures of the world in its own natural way. Its root in the people is
very deep. By neglecting Urdu one cannot endanger it. Instead it is vice
versa. Those who leave it become rolling stones and live on the mercy of
others. In short, one cannot harm Urdu but only benefit from it. Urdu is a
living legend and its charm is inescapable.
To promote Urdu, the Weekly
Urdu Times of America and Canada organized the Aalmi (International) Urdu
Conference Toronto 2005 in Toronto at Days Hotel from June 17-19, 2005.
This was the second international Urdu conference organized here.
World’s leading and distinguished scholars, researchers and poets
attended in large numbers including from India Gopi Chand Narang (Sathiya
Academy), Dr Qamar Raees, Shahid Maholi (Director of Ghalib Academy),
Zahid Ali Khan, editor of Daily Siasat, and Prof. A. A. Fatmi of Allahabad
University’s Urdu Department and editor of quarterly Urdu literary
magazine Naya Safar). From Pakistan Dr Jameel Jalibi (ex-Vice-Chancellor
of University of Karachi), Ata-ul Haq Qasmi (Columnist of Daily Jang),
Nayyar Jehan and Rehana Roohi. From England Dr David Matthews, Syed Ashoor
Kazmi and Reza Ali Abidi. There were many participants from the United
States including Vakil Ansari and Dr Abdul Rehman.
The list of prominent and
distinguished guests is very long. Almost all the participants were
renowned and leading personalities including Dr Shanul Haq Haqqee and Jim
Karygiannis, MP, who is very popular in the South Asian community because
of his interest and contribution.
This Urdu conference is
claimed to be the first of its kind held in Toronto. It proved very
successful. The interest shown in the conference was remarkable and made
the occasion memorable. The attendance was full in all of the highly
DECISION: It was decided in
the conference that efforts would be made to protect Urdu script by all
means. Awareness and interest would be created in the kids. They must be
taught Urdu at home and at Sunday schools. Ways must be explored to
attract them towards Urdu and make them understand its importance. An
international committee would be formed to protect and promote Urdu
literature by all means. The problems must be sincerely and seriously
attended, studied and solved.
The distinguished speakers and
participants presented their views and exchanged ideas about how to
protect and promote Urdu. Some of the messages are as follows:
Jim Karygiannis, MP, said:
"Urdu language is respected and recognized in Canada. The Canadian
Charter of Rights has been officially translated into Urdu. The pace of
progress of immigrants is very good. The future is very bright and the day
is not far when their children too could become prime minister. They have
made a place for themselves and now they must prepare themselves for the
challenges ahead." Jim presented as a token of gift the Canadian
Charter of Rights to Jameel Jalibi and the organizers.
Gopi Chand Narang said:
"There is no need for worry or disappointment because Urdu is a
living language. Problems do exist but we have to have faith in the
language to solve them. When there is crisis we must have more faith. The
problems faced by Urdu in India and Pakistan could only be solved by the
people there. Languages cannot be killed or created and as regards Urdu
its face is very beautiful."
He said: "There is no
need to be sad. Urdu has progressed and has produced world-class poets.
The communication and artistry of Urdu is very natural, impressive and
makes it beautiful. Although I know seven languages but Urdu has attracted
and impressed me the most. Urdu should not be monopolized. All lovers of
Urdu must work together. Urdu media and channels must be promoted. Urdu
speaking in homes is very important. Find ways to attract the new
generation towards Urdu. This is very important for promotion of
Dr Shanul Haq Haqqee said:
"Urdu is as old as any modern language. It has survived and
progressed despite fear of extinction due to the conspiracies. Urdu is
vanishing as our young and coming generations cannot protect Urdu.
Policies are being made to destroy it."
Dr Jameel Jalibi threw light
on the state of Urdu and stressed on its proper protection. He said it is
a victim of neglect.
Dr Qamar Raees said: "In
Toronto a lot is being done for Urdu. In a very short period Urdu has
achieved remarkable progress. It is all due to the efforts of the people.
Urdu needs serious and full attention. In India it is in danger and in a
very bad shape. The roots are rotting. Urgent positive and practical steps
are needed to save and protect Urdu."
Prof A. A. Fatmi said:
"Urdu has spread from Lucknow, Delhi and Karachi to London, New York
and Toronto. It has the unique quality of reaching everywhere and ruling
minds. Urdu is facing a very difficult time and needs proper attention.
Great scholars including Gopi Chand Narang are contributing tremendously
in giving Urdu its status."
Zahid Ali Khan said:
"Urdu is suffering in both India and Pakistan. Efforts must be made
to create awareness about the need, scope and importance of Urdu.
Thousands of children in Hyderabad Deccan quit education and opt for jobs.
This situation is extremely alarming. For the last over 50 years the Urdu
lovers were only shown dreams of serving Urdu. Now is the time to expose
them to reality. With only $5 we can help educate a child in India."
Zahid Ali Khan invited the
audience to the International Urdu Conference being held from November
18-20,2005, in Hyderabad Deccan, India. Daily Siasat will organize this
conference in collaboration with Urdu Times of America and Canada.
Dr Abdur Rehman said:
"Holding of this conference shows that we are serious and ready to
serve and promote Urdu. We have to find out what we have been doing, what
we are doing and what could be done for Urdu. Follow up of the work on
Urdu is extremely essential for its protection."
Syed Ashoor Kazmi said:
"The fault lies with us for keeping our children away from Urdu. Now
we must make a commitment to teach Urdu to one person at least. In order
to keep contact with roots we must create awareness and interest about
Dr Syed Taghi Abedi, who
shares the credit of success with Shahid Hashmi, said: "The focus
must be fully on promotion of Urdu and not authorities. We need to create
proper understanding about sensing the importance of our principles,
values and issues. This will teach us to help and respect each other.
Promotion of Urdu is the best source in this connection. It can help
revolutionize thinking of the people." He thanked the organizing team
members for the great support extended in giving the moot the shape of
Reza Ali Abidi said:
"Urdu now needs full attention. It is time to protect it because it
is being neglected. The recommendations must be realistic and implemented.
It is time for becoming practical doing something positive."
Dr David Matthews, who speaks
Urdu fluently and spoke only in Urdu during his stay here, said:
"Urdu is an international language and is spoken and can be spoken
and understood anywhere in the world. Urdu lovers are spread everywhere.
The future of Urdu is bright and there is no need for worry and
MAN OF THE MOOT: Khalilur
Rehman, Publisher of Urdu Times, paid rich tributes to Shahid Hashmi and
said: "Without Shahid Hashmi holding of this conference would not
have been possible. He worked tirelessly and contributed tremendously in
ensuring its great success."
Shahid Hashmi keeps conveying
his popular message: "Promote Urdu in the real sense instead of
selling and commercializing it. Time has exposed the exploiters, who kept
fooling the people. Now the saner elements are taking charge of the
affairs and serving and promoting the cause sincerely. Now is the time to
join them on a common platform in the interest of all."
Khalilur Rehman also paid
tributes to Dr Syed Taghi Abedi and all the team members for the very
successful sessions held. All the presentations were of high quality and
enjoyed by the audience. Both Urdu and people gained tremendously from the
enjoyed the Ghazal and Mushaira events as well. In the Ghazal program.
Yasmin Rashid from USA and Tahir Jamal from Canada entertained the
audience with their beautiful presentations. They won hearts of the
The Mushaira was very good but
most of the people, who eagerly wanted to hear the guest poets, were badly
disappointed and frustrated because the turn of the foreign guests came
very late. The local poets were in very large numbers and despite each
given very little time consumed most of the time. The bad expression was
clearly evident on the faces of the people. Reza Ali Abidi prepared a poem
exclusively for children but by the time his turn came it was too late and
the children had left and there were few people present in the hall. This
made him very sad.
Dr Syed Taghi Abedi defended
the sequence and told the audience that it was the decision of the
committee. He said that in all good Mushairas the turn of the renowned and
leading poets always comes in the end. At that time those few present are
the real lovers of poetry.
People hoped that next time
this aspect must be taken into consideration and both the guests and
audience respected and entertained accordingly. People were of the view
that they keep hearing the local poets and this was the best occasion and
opportunity to hear in full the foreign guests. Both the audience and the
poets should have been given the chance to please each other. Had the
sentiments been respected, the Mushaira could have become really lively,
entertaining and memorable. There is always room for improvement and the
organizers must understand this. They did well but must do better next
time. Mistakes must be noted and avoided.
BOOKS EXHIBITION: A books and
poster exhibition was also held. It attracted a large crowd. Over 1000
books were put on display.
The entry to the conference
was free but not the food. Shahnawaz Restaurant arranged stalls and
provided very delicious food to the people at nominal rates.
BAZM-E-ANJUM: The Bazm-e-Anjum
Missisauga, Ontario, Canada, too organized an evening in honour of Gopi
Chand Narang on June 21, 2005. A large number of selected people were
invited. The question and answer session was very informative. Mashkoor
Hassan Burney hosted the event. Dr Shanul Haq Haqqee presided.
International poets and scholars from India Dr Qamar Raees, Shahid Maholi
and Prof A.A. Fatmi, Rehana Roohi from Pakistan, David Matthews from
England were among the distinguished guests.
I THANK THE ALMIGHTY FOR HIS
BLESSINGS AND MY SUCCESS
DEDICATED TO SERVE, CREATE
NOTE: WITH PERMISSION TO
ETHICALLY PRINT, USE AND FORWARD.
Javed Zaheer (Masters in
International Relations), Canadian of Pakistani Origin (CPO), Professional
Freelance Journalist, Veteran Active Member (VAM) of Toronto Press Club,
Council Member of Karachi Press Club, former Senior Sub-Editor of
Pakistan’s leading English Daily DAWN. Address: 1709-35 Thorncliffe Park
Drive, Toronto, Ontario, M4H 1J3, Canada. Tel # (416) 696-0981.