Source : The Tribune
It’s a beautiful language that has traversed a long course and Urdu surely refuses to die. Here’s checking out some Urdu enthusiasts from the city
The language of poetry, of prophets, of ancient emperors; and today, celebrated through calligraphic tattoos; there is a journey that the language Urdu has traversed. Ridden with political highs and lows; dotted with rich literature, pretty much like its script – from right to left.
It didn’t come as a surprise when recently Shabani Azmi, once again professed her love for Urdu. “During childhood, I couldn’t even understand the language, but it was like music filling up my years.” She is not the first. At the late Jagjit Singh’s 70th birthday celebrations, Gulzaar expressed his love for Urdu and how. “Badi aristocracy hai zubaan mein, Urdu bole toh fakir bhi nawaab lagta hai.”
It might take special effort getting used to a left to right script, but there are people who haven’t given up on the language!
Dr. HK Lall, the first-ever doctorate in Urdu from Panjab University and currently taking classes at SD College, has been teaching the language since the 1976. “Urdu is not a language, it’s a culture. Ek teehzeeb hai is boli mein. A delicacy that no other language has.” He adds, “If you overhear two people talking in Urdu, everybody will stop to hear and wonder at the beauty of the words.” It was long back when he started teaching, at the time paid a meager 100 rupees a month for one hour of Urdu classes. After 12 years, that amount was doubled to Rs 250 and to Rs 500 after another 12 years! “But it was only sometime back at the insistence of Manpreet Badal that the amount was raised to rupees 5,000 a month. The finance minister of Punjab has studied abroad, but I don’t know why he has some soft spot for this language.”
Today, at SD College, he draws a vibrant mix of enthusiastic students from all age-groups, though mostly past their middle age.
Rama Sharma, retired principal, Kendriya Vidyalaya, took to the language during childhood, when her father would recite poems. However, she got a chance to formally learn it further only sometime back. “There is so much rich literature that this language gives access to,” she says. Not to forget the poetry and philosophical writings by some of the greatest Urdu writers ever. At the Department of Urdu, Panjab University, of the total 75 seats allocated for certificate course, there are 70 students pursuing the one-year course, while there are only 24 students pursuing a Master’s in Urdu in the department, as against a total of 30 available seats.
Laughs Dr. Lall, “Once an Urdu lover from Jharkhand got in touch with me, saying how Urdu is currently in ICU and I am the only doctor available.” We hope it’ll survive.