Community News

Plan to promote Urdu and calligraphy in Old Delhi

New Delhi: Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Corporation (SRC), in order to promote the language of the Walled City (Old Delhi), plans to organise discussions, workshops, cultural programmes in cooperation with art and culture conservation experts. Special focus will be on Urdu and its calligraphers who are mostly residents of Old Delhi. During each session of hour-long discussions, participants will be provided with the basic knowledge of Urdu, correct pronunciation of Urdu words and history of the spoken language (Urdu) of Shahjahanabad. Autobiographies and biographies of the prominent (past) residents of the Old Delhi like Hakeem Ajmal Khan, Mirza Ghalib, Ustad Chaand Khan and a host of Urdu poets like Dagh, Zauq etc and history of the region will be told through Daastaangoi (story telling) and exhibitions. According to a senior officer of SRC, this is to create awareness about its heritage, revival of the language (Urdu) and the art of calligraphy for appreciation of Shahjahanabad. Faiz Hashmi, Mg. Director of SRC says that the promotion of the traditional livelihood being one of the objectives, together with the conservation of cultural heritage, the corporation is supporting the Centre for New Perspectives (CNP) led by Dr. Navina Jafa, a noted cultural activist and academician. Initially, one centre will be set up as a pilot project based on a report prepared by CNP. On the other side, 30-year old Shiraz Husain, an art teacher and painter is trying to do his bit for popularising Urdu by drawing sketches of prominent Urdu poets like Faiz and Manto etc on T-shirts. He wants young people to read Urdu literature but also wants to transform the imagery of the language (Urdu) on the Internet. He believes that in order to appreciate this language, readers should not only read their works but should also recognise them by face. That’s why he is drawing their sketches and writing one or two of their couplets on T-shirts to popularise them. Though his father and sister tried to create love of Urdu in him, it was during his student days in Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi that deepened his love for Urdu literature. He hopes that the T-shirs on which sketches and photos of Urdu authors and men of letters are made will elicit curiosity to learn Urdu among those who do not know Urdu. As regards the role of Urdu in the popularity of Bollywood films, songs and ghazals, referring to poet Gulzar and his film songs and ghazals he says that after listening to them one will realise that Bollywood is incomplete without Urdu.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 November 2016 on page no. 15

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