Now, three prestigious Pakistani universities have started outsourcing evaluation of dissertations on Urdu literature to Indian experts. The exercise underpins the unusual ways in which the two countries —often tethering on the edge of war — continue to connect.
India is where Pakistan’s official language — Urdu — was born and many of its men of letters had migrated to Pakistan after the Partition, such as Saadat Hassan Manto.
The Karachi University, Qaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, and the Alama Iqbal National Open University, Karachi, have tied up with Anjuman Taraqqi Urdu-e-Hind (Organisation for Progress of Urdu in India), a 110-year-old Delhi-based institution, to have it examine, guide and assess Pakistani students pursuing M.Phils and PhDs.
Anjuman Taraqqi Urdu-e-Hind has historical linkages with its Pakistani counterpart, Anjuman Taraqqi Urdu-e-Pakistan. The outsourcing is notable, since Pakistan continues to be a chief Urdu-speaking nation, though many ethnic languages abound.
Indian scholars appear so taken in that they wanted to keep the original manuscripts as trophies. Almost taking the cue, the Pakistan universities let them do so.
A section on these dissertations, Gosha-e-Ibne Insha, inside Tarraqui’s Shibli Memorial Library is to be launched by Pakistan’s high commissioner in New Delhi Shahid Malik, on August 6.
The research areas often focus on politics, history, afsana (a fiction genre) and personalities. “The manuscripts give me a unique view of current Pakistani politics and life,” said Khaliq Anjum, an 80-year-old Indian Urdu expert, who heads Tarraqui Urdu.
Indian scholars in demand include S.R. Kidwai and Aslam Parvez. “I think the collaboration shows Pakistani academia’s trust of competency and objectivity of Indian Urdu expertise,” Shibli Memorial Library’s librarian Shahid Khan said.