Pt Anand Narayan Zutshi Gulzar Dehlavi

By  Asad Faisal Farooqui

The gradual decline of Urdu in its traditional homeland, has made people suspicious about its future, even Urdu-speaking people hardly show interest for this sweet language as a result future seems gloomy for Urdu. Amidst this, there is a man of karma who is confident about Urdu’s future, devoting all his efforts for popularizing and echoing the message of peace through Urdu shairi. Pandit Gulzar Dehlavi is not an ordinary man. He is  an octogenarian leading an active yet simple life. Moreover, he is a person of ganga jamuni tehzeeb. He is a truly Gandhian, wearing sherwani and churidaar pajaama and Nehru cap and working tirelessly for Hindu Muslim harmony through Urdu poetry. He devotes every moment of his life for Urdu. Today national and international mushhairas are not complete without his presence.

He was born on 7 July, 1926 in Old Delhi’s Gali Kashmeerian. Both his father Allama Tirbhoon Nath Zutshi “Zar” Dehlavi and mother Brij Rani Zutshi “Bezar” Dehlavi were Urdu poets. Punditji did his schooling in the Ramjas school and BVJ Sanskrit School. He did his MA from Hindu College, and law from Law College. He also passed Adeeb Fazil and Munshi Fazil examinations of Anjuman Taraqqi Urdu Hind which was then affiliated to Punjab University. He was closely associated with Baba-e-Urdu Maulvi Abdul Haq and Allama Datatrya Kaifi.

For speaking in favour of Urdu, he does not care about anyone. For him, Urdu is not a mere language, it is a messenger of peace, love and affection depicting the true culture of India. “It is our language, our forefathers always used Urdu. How can I treat Urdu badly. There have been politics and conspiracies to destroy Urdu”, he says.

 After Independence, when Government started Science Reporter in English and Vigyan Pargati in Hindi, he was in the forefront who raised the voice for starting science popularizing magazine in Urdu also, and he was supported in this by the then Minister of Education Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. Later he was appointed as the first editor of Science ki Dunia, India’s first popular science magazine in Urdu. He fought 12 long years against government for this magazine until the government relented in 1970, and the first Urdu Science magazine was published in 1975. He served the magazine from 1975-89 as an editor. He said that “it  was very hard time to me when everyone was suspicious about Urdu, and  the government machinery didn’t cooperate with me. For others it is a service or career but for me it is was my mission.” Every year since inception from 1975 to 1985, Science ki Dunia organized a programme to celebrate Annual Science Day and this function was attended  by the nation’s eminent scientists, educational, social and political personalities but the bureaucrats did not cooperate. This didn’t deter him and he continued to work with full devotion leaving no stone unturned for making conducive atmosphere for Urdu. “The  activities against Urdu didn’t make me weak,” he said adding that many official irregularities hindered his work, sometimes paper for printing was not available and other times sanction of certain needs was delayed but there were many personalities like Dr. Naudama, Dr. Syed Hasan Zaheer, Anwar Jamal Qidwai, Pandit Anand Narain Mulla, Deewan Anand Kumar (former VC, Punjab University), Professor Swaroop Singh, Hakeem Abdul Hameed, Professor R.C Mehrotra (former VC, Delhi & Jodhpur universities) who loved Urdu and they were source of inspiration and  helped a lot at hard times.

He said, today the condition for Urdu is favourable and Urdu should be promoted as a language of peace and this is a democratic and fundamental right of Urdu people. Urdu’s future is bright.

It will always flourish because its foundation is based on love and affection.  There are many countries where Urdu is taught at university and school levels. Urdu is a live and active language and it will still be a live language on the dooms day. Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi and Punjabi people use 60% Urdu words. In poetry, pro-Urdu diction has come.

He advised every Urdu-knowing person to take the responsibility to teach Urdu privately to their family members, to their friends and relatives and also teach Urdu script up to the level of class VI to their new generation and this will be sufficient for the development of Urdu. What we see today is a conspiracy against Urdu and the remedy lies in the hands of Urdu people.

Gulzar  aabroo-e-zuban ab hami se hai
Dilli me apne baad yeh lutf-e-sukhan  kahan.

(Based on an interview)