Friday, April 29, 2005

The Urdu University

A few days back, I happened to visit Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MAANU), the first Urdu university of the Indian Sub-continent. The University is located on the outskirts of Hyderabad - Deccan, and is spread over a huge campus.

Hosted by

Though the University didn’t seem to be crowded with students, as you’d see in any other university in India, a bunch of veil-clad ladies (Hyderabad, man!) around their respective classrooms, and another bunch of them approaching the University in an over occupied auto-rickshaw, gives you the sense of warmth and encouragement – for these are the people coming here with the spirit of eruditeness, to gain knowledge in their beleaguered mother tongue. Also, the fact that with all their conservative and modest appearance and background, they are here to learn, to educate themselves in the language they love and know best.

In the University, I met Rehana Sultana, a lecturer. She talked about the various coursed being offered. Among all the one that I found interesting, and also quite noble, was Diploma in Women’s Social Affairs. This course, she told me, deals with the women’s affair - be it personal or social - of the contemporary world. It would be both classroom training as well as some fieldwork – essentially going and attending to some problems women are facing, and working with NGOs etc. She told me that the focus of this program would essentially be the women from the Urdu speaking populace.

Another course that really made me happy was an MBA in Urdu – yes, Masters of Business Administration. This, I thought, was a good development. In the future, I believe the University should have courses like Fashion Designing, too.

All this development in the Urdu education reminds me of the once Urdu-rich Osmania University (another Hyderabad offering!). Osmania, I’d like to remind, pioneered the system of imparting education in Urdu in India. It was the only University to impart education in a native Indian language i.e. Urdu, during the time of British hegemony over the Indian education system.

Now we have another University that has Urdu as its medium of learning. MANUU carries hopes of millions. It is an institution that has to shoulder the responsibility for the development and betterment of Urdu as a whole. It has to repeat the Osmania’s feat of the yester years. In fact, the circumstances demands that it does it all the more better.

MANUU: A Long Road Ahead!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

مظحب تو بس۔۔۔ - The Only True Creed...

مظحب تو بس مظحبِ دل ہے
باقی سب گُمراحی ہے
mazhab thoe buss mazhab-e-dhil hai
baaqee sub gumraahee hai
the only (true) creed is the creed of the heart
all else is heresy

بناکر فقیرون کا ہم بھیس ٖالِب - The Spectacle of Power and Pelf

بنا کر فقیروں کا ہم بھیس غالِب
تماشأے اہلِ کرم دیکھتے ہیں
banaa kar faqeeroN ka hum bhais Ghalib
thamaasha-e-ehl-e-karam dhaikthay haiN
Taking the guise of the poor, the dervishes, we, O Ghalib,
Watch the spectacle of the blessed; of power and pelf
—Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib

صنم - The Poet's Object of Devotion

The word (or trope, or concept) Sanam (صنم) is often used in Urdu and Persian poetry and is some times translated to "idol". In the humble opinion of this فعیر (Faqeer, if you will), just by itself and with no elaboration, that is a rather basic translation of the concept.

"Object of complete and utter devotion and allegiance" comes much closer. The poetry of Sufism, of course, in its inimitably paradigm-subverting way, keeps the question of whether the Sanam being addressed is made of flesh, stone, or is a Higher Being open--and often fluidly shifting in the mind of the reader/listener. If you keep that in your mind (that the Sanam could be the Ultimate Cosmic Force, or an idol of stone, or your ... fleshy...beloved) you start to scratch the surface of the worlds Sufi poetry opens up to your mind...


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

دُعا - A Prayer for the Creative from Iqbal

ٓA post on the blog by one of our co-contributors here drew my attention to a prayer from Iqbal that seems like it is for people like us, striving to be creative despite our mainly pedestrian, vanilla lives:

I thought I would attempt my own translation:
خُدا تُجھے کسی طوفاں سے آشنا کردے
کے تیرے باحر کی موجوں مین اِزطیراب نہیں

Khuda tujhey kisee toofan se ashna kar dey,
Key terey baahar ki maujon me iztirab nahin.

(May) God make your acquaintance with a storm;
For the waves on the surface of your existence are devoid of tumult.

Friday, April 15, 2005

کھتے ھین اگلے زمانے مین کؤی میر بھی تھا - Acknowledging the Shoulders We Stand On

I included the following in the article on Urdu in the Wikipedia; thought I would share it here:
ریختھ کے ایک تٔم ھی اُستاد نھین غالِب
کھتے ھین اگلے زمانے مین کؤی میر بھی تھا
''Raikhtha kai aik thum hee ustadh nahee Ghalib
Kehthay hain aglay zamaanay main ko'ee Mir bhee thhaa
You, alone, are not the master of 'Raikhta', Ghalib
They say that in days of yore, there was one called Mir
—Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib

Thursday, April 14, 2005

اسلام علیکم

..اردو مین کوشس حے

For the record; between 8 and 10 pm (Pacific Standard Time), I finally learnt--for the first time in my life, I kid you not!--how to write Urdu properly. Thank you, QadeerAhmed Rana aka "shahpar86"!