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HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Lucknow, November 07, 2012
Bibliophiles would soon get to browse an Indian version of Wikipedia in Urdu script. The National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language is all set to launch the online encyclopaedia in February 2013. Bestsellers published by the council would also be available in the form of e-books in a couple of months, said Khwaja Mohammad Ikramuddin, director of the council at the 14th All-India Urdu Kitab Mela, which got underway at the Centennial College in Qaiserbagh on Tuesday. The fair would continue till November 11 from 10am to 9pm.

The event - organised jointly by the National Council for Promotion of Urdu language, UP Urdu Academy and Urdu Academy Delhi - brought a multimedia Urdu learning module for the lovers of the language.

The module’s CD that teaches Urdu in 40 hours was released on the inaugural day of the fair by Jitin Prasada, MOS HRD, government of India. The software, which was launched a few months ago by the council in Delhi, is now available in a CD, said the organisers.

“Along with teaching the basics of Urdu in English, the module also aims to introduce learners to the basic culture of the language. It begins with basic alphabets and goes up to teaching the grammar,” said Ikramuddin.

With its rich collection of Urdu books, the fair is being held in Lucknow after a gap of six years. And while the traditional books on poetry continue to be the bestsellers, also a great hit at the fair are the e-versions of these books.

Publishers Al Hasanat Book, Delhi have introduced e-Quran, which comes with a pen that reads the verses of the holy book in 10 different languages. “The reader can select the language of his choice and place the pen on the Arabic verses of the Quran. The pen reads the verses in the chosen language aloud,” said the stall owner. The book is available for Rs. 3,600.

The book fair also has on display DVDs of ghazals, poems, famous Pakistani plays and books for children.