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For love of Urdu language

Vimal Chander Joshi , Sept 25, 2012 19:37 IST
You call it Bollywood effect or the immortality of Urdu, the 800-year-old language still reverberates in hearts and minds of contemporary youth, that too loud and clear.
Increasingly, youngsters are learning the language to understand esoteric numbers of Bollywood which, at times, are dotted with Urdu words. Some also sit through the long lectures of Urdu language so as to catch up on the legendary poetry of Mir, Ghalib and Iqbal.


To fulfill the rising demand, several institutes teach the language to non-native speakers who do not have even basic understanding of Urdu script. These institutes include Urdu Academy near Kashmiri Gate and Zabaan in East of Kailash.

Dr Ibne Kanwal, an Urdu professor in Delhi University for three decades tells Deccan Herald: “In the past three-four years, popularity of the language has grown significantly. In all the universities of Delhi — Jamia, Delhi University and JNU, it is taught at various levels. The most heartening trend which we have noticed is that the language is getting popular even among non-Muslims who learn purely out of passion.” He lauds mass media for the prevalence of Urdu which dates back to the era of Delhi Sultanate in 13th century.
Zabaan, an institute in East of Kailash, teaches Urdu in just four weekly classes held every Saturday to cater to the working professionals. “In just four days, a Hindi-speaking person can learn to read and write Urdu,” said Ali Taqi, alumnus of Washington State University and co-founder of Zabaan.

Even Delhi University runs morning classes from 8 am to 9.30 for Hindi-speakers and the language enthusiasts at these classes range from diverse backgrounds — law, history scholars, medicine, young professionals and students. Vijay Kumar Sen, a 24-year-old student of MA (Economics) found himself an outcast when he visited Srinagar as he didn't know Urdu, which is the official language there. “Though Urdu will not help in my education, I have wanted to learn it since my Kashmir visit.”

Another student Varun Chopra attends morning classes at DU’s Arts Faculty so that he can learn ‘tehzeeb’ from this nawabi dialect. Vinod Kumar, a young advocate at Tis Hazari Courts, who also learnt Urdu recently said: “I used to read Urdu poetry written in Hindi but faced difficulty in understanding some words but not anymore. Now, I can comprehend heavy words such as Mutaffir (meaning impress).”

Imteyaz Ahmad, who teaches Urdu at DU’s morning classes said: “We run one year certificate programmes for those who have no prior knowledge of the language. Every year we get close to 200 applications from people in all age groups. As we couldn’t accommodate all into one class, so we divided them into four different sections. We appreciate the fact a number of youngsters learn it only out of love for the language.”

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