Facebook generation turns to intricacies of Urdu
It was a red-letter day for the students of the Urdu department of Karachi University — a day many of them will never forget. Some of them would cherish its memories, perhaps, for the rest of their lives.
The venue was the premises of the Anjuman Taraqqi-i-Urdu (ATU) office in the Gulshan-i-Iqbal area of Karachi.
Literary gatherings are almost a routine at the ATU and hardly a month goes by without one or two. But it was a unique literary gathering that took place last weekend because the entire charge of the programme was handed over to senior students of the department. They ran the show, read their research papers and commented on them while junior students, teachers, elders, senior writers, journalists and ATU office-bearers just sat there and watched them.
Even the person presiding over the proceedings was a student and the presidential address that he delivered was no less remarkable than the ones delivered by senior scholars.
The junior students watched the whole proceedings with amazement while the elders with ecstatic contentment.
The brain-child of Azfar Rizvi, the assistant secretary of the ATU, the programme was arranged in collaboration with Karachi University and its Urdu department.
It began with the idea of a brief study tour of the ATU for students of MA/ MS/MPhil/PhD at the KU Urdu department. But Mr Rizvi hit upon something new.
He had been toying with the idea of bringing the students opting for Urdu as major into the mainstream of Urdu literature and language and to groom them for their future responsibilities. So the KU Urdu department and the ATU joined hands to hold a gathering entirely arranged and conducted by the students.
The idea was to engage the students in such a manner that they get the real feel of it and have a kind of hands-on training for literary gatherings.
The purpose behind the event was to encourage and train the students of Urdu departments of universities. It is a kind of a talent hunt scheme also. It began with the KU, but the ATU is planning to invite other universities’ Urdu departments as well and some of them have already shown interest.
The session last week began with a research paper by Aisha Naz, a student of MS (Urdu). She deliberated on the semantic and linguistic features of Sabeeh Rahmani’s naat poetry. Commenting on the paper, Qurrat-ul-Ain Tariq Sarwat, another student of MS (Urdu), termed it a paper well-written but lacking in one area. She was of the view that the writer must have had Sabeeh’s poetry compared
with other poets composing naat.
The second paper, read by Mohammed Hasan, a student of MA (Urdu), highlighted the development and standard of Urdu prose in Baltistan. He shed light on the Urdu writings of different Balti writers with special reference to different genres of prose. Riaz Ahmed, an MS (Urdu) student, said that Pakistani writers living in the different regions of the country including the Northern Areas were showing their creative talent in Urdu as well.
He said that writer Mohammed Hasan belonged to Baltistan, but his command over the Urdu language was commendable.
The third paper written by Julia Sarwar, a student of MS (Urdu), was related to the services of Pakistani Christian poets of Urdu. Giving a brief historical background of the early Christian and non-Muslim poets of Urdu in the 19th and 20th centuries, she recounted the services of contemporary Pakistani Christian poets of Urdu.
The paper was well-received. Commenting on the paper, Tabassum Sagheer, another MS Urdu student, especially highlighted the common misconception that Urdu was “the language of Muslims”.
She said that Julia’s paper proved that Urdu had been a medium of expression for Muslims as well as non-Muslims over the centuries and Baba-i-Urdu Moulvi Abdul Haq had said in unambiguous terms that Urdu was the language of everyone and if any religious group that truly helped develop and flourish Urdu, it was the Hindus.
The session reflected the multi-coloured and variegated aura that Urdu has. Not only was the genre of naat talked about, but also the Christian poets of Urdu were discussed. Similarly, the Northern Areas’ contributions to Urdu literature were whole-heartedly appreciated. Nitasha, a student of MA (Urdu) conducted the programme.
Faizuddin Ahmed, the president of the session and a student of MS (Urdu), beautifully summed up all the papers. With remarkable aplomb, he commented on the papers and added some more insight into them.
In this era when both electronic and print media mete out a ruthless treatment to Urdu, this programme was a ray of hope.
Anjuman Taraqqi-i-Urdu’s role in nurturing future writers, critics and research scholars of Urdu is simply great.
So finally the Facebook generation is starting to turn to the beauties and intricacies of Urdu literature. What a change!