‘More than Muslims, Hindus are flag-bearers of Urdu’

Published on Nov 10, 2021 11:31 PM IST

Urdu is the language of love not of a community, said Farhan Wasti, who established Jashn-e-Urdu (which organises the biggest Mushaira of the world in Dubai and Delhi)

People browse through books at the book fair organised at the Islamic Centre of India, Aishbagh (HT Photo)
People browse through books at the book fair organised at the Islamic Centre of India, Aishbagh (HT Photo)
By, Lucknow

Urdu is the language of love not of a community, said Farhan Wasti, who established Jashn-e-Urdu (which organises the biggest Mushaira of the world in Dubai and Delhi).

Talking on the phone from Dubai on World Urdu Day (Tuesday), he said, “Urdu is the language of the country (India). I love Hindi and Urdu both as Hindi is my mother tongue. I established Jashn-e-Urdu with the help of friends like Kumar Vishwas and Alok Srivastava who are Hindus. Today, the Mushaira and Kavi Sammelan of Dubai and Delhi are considered as the most prestigious in the world. Even Pakistani poets crave to participate in the event.”

Meanwhile, here in Lucknow, scores of youth, scholars, poets and writers, cutting across religious lines, participated in ‘Jashn Urdu’, a day of conferences, seminars, a Mushaira, and an Urdu Book Fair, on World Urdu Day, at the Islamic Centre of India, Aishbagh.

Maulana Khalid Rasheed Farangi Mahali, chairman, Islamic Centre of India, said, “You will not believe that more than 80% of the crowd at the Islamic Centre for Jashn-e-Urdu was Hindu. Many of them came directly from Hanuman temple with Tikas on their forehead to purchase an Urdu book. More than 2,000 Urdu books were displayed in 10 stalls and a number of them were sold. I am happy to see the success of the festival. Next year it will be even bigger.

“In the very first session of the conference organised as part of ‘Jashn Urdu’, we discussed the contributions of Raghupati Sahay, Firaq Gorakhpuri, Jamuna Das Akhtar, Ram Lal, Dr Jagannath Azad, Krishna Chander, in the development of Urdu. The participation of the common Lucknowite in such festivals exhibits the cosmopolitan culture of Lucknow.”

Echoing that sentiment, professor Parvez Malikzada, noted Urdu scholar and editor of ‘Imqaan’ Urdu magazine, felt that today, more than Muslims, Hindus were learning this language of peace and love. In other words, they are the flag-bearers of Urdu.

“It’s wrong to label Urdu as the language of Muslims only. Ghulam Hamadani Musafi used the term Urdu for the first time in 1780. The Mughal rulers called this language Hindi or Hindavi. In written form, it used the Persian script. That’s why people think of it as the language of Muslims,” Malikzada said.

He said, “Urdu poetry was made rich by the contribution of poets like Brij Narain ‘Chakbast’ who composed his own Urdu narration of Ram’s story. He was the one who decided to interpret Hinduism through the idiom of Urdu high literature. He was born in Lucknow.

“Lucknow has inherited not just the poetry of Majaz and Mir Taqi Mir, but also of Chakbast, Krishna Behari Noor, and Sanjay Mishra ‘Shauq’. That’s why Lucknow is one of the most secular cities in the country, both politically and culturally. The interest of most youths in Urdu is a logical continuation of this tradition.”

Malikzada said, “The art of marsias, rubais started by Mir Anees is protected and taken to a new high by a Hindu like Sanjay Mishra ‘Shauq’. One rubs one’s eyes in disbelief when an Urdu poet with a name like Mishra (a Brahmin) recites poems in praise of Hasan and Hussain, like Malik Muhammed Jaisi writing about Lord Krishna. This can only be found in Lucknow.”

He added that there was some magical connection between Urdu and Lucknow. It is perhaps the only city where Urdu was not confined to a community. Lucknow has produced master Urdu ghazal writers like Krishna Behari Noor, who was popular for his unique style of poetry recitation. Everyone knows Ram Prakash ‘Bekhud’, Khushbir Singh ‘Shad’ and Manish Shukla, not only in India but in other parts of the world.”

Sanjay Mishra Shauq said, “Urdu is the language of the masses, not of a community. That’s why today hundreds of youths are learning Urdu. Just go to Urdu Akademi and you will find 95% Hindus in the classes. This shows language has no religion.”

Noted Urdu critic Dr Sharib Rudaulvi said, “No one can forget the contribution of Professor Jagannath Azad, Anand Mohan Zutshi, Gulzar Dehlavi, Daya Shankar Naseem, Krishna Chander, Anand Narayan Mulla, Ratan Singh, Bharat Bhushan Pant, Ram Prakash Bekhud and Malik Ram, who was an authority on the works of Ghalib.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Anupam Srivastava is a Special Correspondent with Hindustan Times, Lucknow. Has produced exclusive stories in medical, civil aviation, civic, political and other issues for over 20 years.

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