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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.

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