A class apart: Learning Urdu an ‘experience’, both as hobby and new skill | education | Hindustan Times
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A class apart: Learning Urdu an ‘experience’, both as hobby and new skill

education Updated: Feb 07, 2017 12:30 IST
Rameshinder Singh Sandhu
Rameshinder Singh Sandhu
Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
Urdu language

Prem Singh Bajaj teaching Urdu to his students at Punjabi Bhawan in Ludhiana.(Gurminder Singh/HT)

Language is the gateway to a new world, every language that you learn let’s you explore the cultural, social and literary nuances of myriad hues. The Urdu language classes conducted by the department of languages at Punjabi Bhawan of the city is one such place that lets the connoisseurs of this regal language continue with their learning pursuit albeit for different reasons.

This Urdu class is a class in itself, hosting about 30 students hailing from different age groups and varied walks of life including several senior citizens, each has an interesting reason behind taking up Urdu classes here. 

For 22-year-old Bhavneet Singh who is studying charted accountancy, this class is meant to enrich his vocabulary which he believes could be an asset for his passion for writing songs. 

“I have been writing songs since last several years but whenever I meet literary personalities, they always suggested me to learn at least basic Urdu so that my songs can be richer as according to them Urdu has many rich words. So, when I came to know that language department is coming up with Urdu classes, I could not let this opportunity go”, shares 22-year-old Bhavneet Singh, a student of charted accountancy who, right after his college heads directly to this class that’s conducted daily from 3 pm to 4 pm except Sundays. 

Similarly, 22-year-old Sandeep Dutt, an IT student says, “His love for literature triggered him to be an Urdu student. It is a well know fact that Urdu literature stands richest of all, so how could I ignore these classes. Thanks to one of my friends, who was part of the same class last year and told me about. Every day, I am gaining more insight into the language although it is an elementary six months course.” 

Then there is a 50-year-old advocate Sandeep Singh who despite his hectic schedule manages to make time for this one hour class. Ask him what fostered him, he replies smiling, “I was ready for this language course last year as well but work load of cases did not allow me but I never wanted to miss it this year, as learning basic Urdu was always on my mind since it is a very sweet language like French. Secondly, in courts at times you have to go through several old documents that are in Urdu and I feel once you learn this language, it can be very helpful while reading the Urdu documents as well.” 

Tarlochan Singh Lamba (66) who runs a construction business considers these classes like a hobby class and ardently states, “Besides my work, I wanted to indulge in some interesting hobby. That is why, as I came across an advertisement on Urdu classes on social networking, I said why not take up these classes like a hobby. After all, I knew they would keep me busy and make me learn something new.”

Same is the case for Dhanvinder Kaur (65), a retired government primary school teacher and Narinder Singh (72), a retired public health officer who underlines with elation: “Learning new languages is always exciting and learning should never stop be it at any age”, they voice as one. 

On the other hand, there are also some students who learn this language to get some additional jobs where Urdu is mandatory. One of them, Neha (24), a business administration student said, “I am planning to take a part time job in a court or in revenue department where many old documents in Urdu have to be read and they keep looking for those who can read and understand Urdu. So, why not learn it to grab these opportunities?” 

Many students also agree that being part of this class that has students of different ages and backgrounds also proves an interesting learning experience and offers an exposure with a difference. 

 Elderly complete the course; youngsters leave midway 

 Prem Singh Bajaj (85) who has been teaching this course since last several years said that as the course advances, elderly or middle aged students continue to show interest but some youngsters even leave the class midway. Citing reasons he states, “Before leaving, the youngsters usually say that they have exams or other hobby classes but it can’t be ignored that it could also happen because these classes are for free and one loses nothing, if one leaves. On the other hand, retired students stick with us till end of the course who also give the written test and get awarded certificates by the language department.”

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