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Urdu and problems of employment
By Abul Faiz Sahar
|Islam has favoured and encouraged trade
and commerce. Prophet of Islam (pbuh), by adopting trade and commerce as
his profession, set an example of honest and independent profession for
the whole world. This profession is also considered ‘sunnat by Muslims.
According to Islamic faith, only God is the giver and only He enables man
to earn a living.
Scientific progress and new technologies have given knowledge, education,
trade and commerce, employment etc new heights and new dimensions. All
languages of the world and its speakers are utilizing these things to
their best advantages. Till recently, in view of the speed and expertise
of these new techniques Urdu speaking people appeared somewhat worried but
now there is no cause of worry. In many new technologies particularly
information technology and computer, technique i.e., hardware is the same
for all languages. Only software has to be changed according to
requirements of the language. Like all languages, Urdu has also its own
software and now it is also deriving advantages of computer and will
continue to do so. It is however a pity that many Muslims, who lay great
emphasis on religious education and ‘sunnat’ in many aspects of our
life, adopt an attitude of indifference regarding Urdu and its use in
educational and other fields. However, in spite of some problems faced or
likely to be faced by Urdu knowing people in employment and trade, people
in large numbers do adopt trade and commerce as their profession. For
example, Memons and Ansari communities are almost fully engaged in trade
and such other independent profession.
But the section of our community whom we consider sensible, educated and
forward looking mostly thinks in term of government, semi-government or
private employment because of convenience, honour and respect, non-arduous
work. I do not mean to advise Urdu knowing people to distance themselves
from such jobs. What I mean is that the number and opportunities of such
jobs being limited, the vast number of our educated youth should adopt
trade and other independent professions or attain technical, professional
and technological excellence by hard work and utilize immense
opportunities of employment within the country and abroad.
There are employment exchanges in almost all important cities of the
country. Moreover, there are innumerable private agencies and placement
services in which hundreds of thousands of unemployed youths are enrolled
for seeking employment. Government jobs are, however, limited to only 2-3
percent but there is large scope for self employment in business, trade,
industry (small scale), agriculture etc.
Education through Urdu medium does not mean education in Urdu only; it
includes English, Hindi and other regional languages as well. As a matter
of fact, students of Urdu medium schools know more languages than any
other students of any other state. Thus they are in a more advantageous
position and to derive greater benefits of opportunities of employment
inside and outside the country or pursue independent professions.
After independence, India was re-organized on linguistic basis. In every
state, education is imparted in schools and colleges in its regional
language which is also the mother tongue of its students. Hence education
in regional languages or mother tongue is no handicap. Effort is being
made to improve it through new and modem techniques and technologies. Some
thing can be done in the case of Urdu also. In order to impress upon Urdu
speaking people the importance of Urdu as mother tongue, I am quoting
below the views of NCERT from its latest document regarding mother tongue.
"The Mother Tongue is the most vital factor for the children’s
growth. The ‘mother tongue’ not because it is the mother’s tongue
but because like the mother, it is central factor behind children’s
mental and emotional make up."
In this way, not more than 15 percent of the country’s population is
engaged in government, semi-government or private firms, jobs which
include speakers of all languages, in which the ratio of Urdu knowing
people is half or at the most, one percent, seeing that the population of
Muslims in India is about 220 million and the number of people whose
mother tongue is Urdu is about 60 million. (However, statistics based on
govt. census is not reliable, for example, in Mumbai, Sardar Jafri's name
does not appear in the census or voters’ lists.) When this is the
position in big cities and of important personalities, the condition in
small towns and far-off villages may well be imagined.