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.
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!