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Published in the 1-15 Sep 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

AP CM should head Urdu Academy

By M Baqar Husain Shaz

Is Urdu only the language of Muslims and only Muslims should press the government for its survival and promotion? This is a question whose answer is known to everybody.

Urdu is an Indian language whose sweetness and beauty is admitted by everyone. Urdu academies are involved in the promotion and development of the language across the country. They provide facilities to Urdu medium students and award prizes to poets and writers and assist them financially to publish their works. They also encourage Urdu journalists and provide financial assistance to Urdu newspapers and writers.

Some of these academies, however, confine their activities only to organising mushairas, literary functions and distributing prizes. Many of them are not serious about the promotion and popularisation of Urdu and do not try to remove the hurdles in the progress of the language. The Urdu Academy of Andhra Pradesh is the worst example. Its board of governors includes such persons who do not have any knowledge of Urdu. This is a great injustice to the language.

Urdu Academy has its own building in Moti Gali locality of the Old City but its office has been shifted to Haj House, Nampalli. The Academy bears the rent. Is it not a waste of its financial resources?

Urdu is not the language of Muslims only. If it would have been considered the language of all communities, Academy’s office would not have been shifted to Haj House. Governments have shown little interest in the promotion and development of Urdu. The chief minister and other ministers do not participate in even important functions of the Urdu Academy, while many dignitaries attend the functions of Telugu Academy.

In many states chief ministers themselves are presidents of Urdu academies. For example, chief of the Delhi Urdu Academy is Shiela Dikshit, and its vice president is M. Afzal. The president of Bihar Urdu Academy is Rabri Devi. In Andhra Pradesh, president of Telugu Academy is the chief minister. Like Telugu Academy, why does the chief minister not head Urdu Academy? Why a different standard has been adopted in Andhra Pradesh? If the chief minister himself becomes Urdu Academy’s president, the performance of the Academy will certainly improve and translation of textbooks in Urdu and their publication will be done in time. On the contrary if he appoints a less influential person in this post from the ruling party, all his efforts will be to prove his loyalty to the party and its policies and little will be done for the promotion of Urdu. Let us hope that chief minister Dr Reddy himself takes over as president of the AP Urdu Academy and takes sincere and dynamic steps for the promotion and popularisation of the language. 

Baqar Shaz is editor of Saz-e Deccan Urdu daily of Hyderabad

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