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Published in the 1-15 July 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

International Urdu Conference in Toronto

By Ayub Khan

The Milli Gazette Online

Toronto: Urdu is not a threatened language but is alive and well, proclaimed Dr. Gopi Chand Narang, noted critic and president of Indian Academy of Letters, at a three day International Urdu Conference held in Toronto from June 17-19. He said that the organization of such conferences in North America proves that Urdu will continue to flourish in the future. He said Urdu should not be restricted to the Muslims alone but should be promoted as a universal language. 

Dr. Satya Pal Anand speaking at the Urdu Conference Also seen are poetess Mona Shahab, BBC Urdu broadcaster Raza Ali Abedi and Dr.Abdur Rahman Abd
Dr. Satya Pal Anand speaking at the Urdu Conference Also seen are poetess Mona Shahab, BBC Urdu broadcaster Raza Ali Abedi and Dr.Abdur Rahman Abd 

The conference, organized by the Urdu Times , was attended by well-known poets, writers, and journalists from India, Pakistan, UK, France, and Canada. Sessions were held on Literature and Modern Trends, Iqbal studies, Ghalib studies, Urdu Media's new challenges, Religious poetry, and Women's Urdu Literature. 

Speaking at the conference Zahid Ali Khan, editor in chief of Siasat Daily, Hyderabad, said every year more than 50,000 students from Urdu schools drop out in the state of Andhra Pradesh alone never to return to studies. He said it is vital that the students remain in schools and that the schools' standards should be raised to meet modern challenges. He appealed to the attendees to sponsor at least one student in a year. Khalil ur Rahman, publisher of the New York based Urdu times, announced that he will sponsor the publication of quality Urdu works and that an international jury will select the submitted works. 

The conference resolved that immediate measures need to be taken to protect the Urdu script in its present form. Dr. Taqi Abedi, convener of the conference, said the Perso-Arabic script is not the clothing but the skin itself of Urdu language and that no compromises should be made on it. The conference resolved to form an international committee to solve issues relating to the count of the Urdu alphabet and the teaching of Urdu in Sunday Islamic schools in North America. The attendees appealed to the Indian and Pakistani governments to ease travel restrictions on poets, writers and other literary figures.

The conference closed with a Mushaira attended by over 1500 people. Dr. Jamil Jalibi, Dr. Shan ul Haq Haqqi, Dr.David Matthews, Dr. Peerzada Qasim, Wakil Ansari, Mona Shahab and other national and international poets took part in it. Another International Urdu Conference is being held in Hyderabad this November.

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