Urdu is not dying: Gulzar
EMINENT lyricist, film director and litterateur Gulzar, who was here on the inaugural day of the three-day 17th Hindi-Urdu Sahitya Award Committee’s literary festival being held at Ganna Sansthan auditorium, differed with the general perception that Urdu was dying in absence of proper attention.
“Much has been said about the danger that the language is facing. I disagree. I feel Urdu is safe. Yes, it’s not the same language that it was — lett’s say 50 years back. It can’t be. Every living language has to undergo a change with time. And then, I guess, there must be those who feel that Hindi, too, is not getting its due,” he said amidst thunderous applause.
He added: “About 80 per cent of what is spoken in our films is Urdu. We converse in Urdu on a daily basis without realising that we are using the same language that we often feel is dying. Of course, it’s not dying. I feel that all that we need is to provide proper teaching in both Hindi and Urdu to our children at the elementary level and work on their pronunciation.”
Gulzar was felicitated with the Sahitya Shiromani award while eminent poet and chairman of UP Bhasha Sansthan Gopal Das Neeraj was honoured with the Sahitya Kaustubh Award. Besides, several other prominent writers and poets were honoured on the occasion.
Earlier, actress and social worker Shabana Azmi felt that Urdu’s neglect was primarily due to the indifferent approach of politicians. “If proper books are not made available then how would those desirous of learning the language be able to grasp it?” she asked and then called for a national debate on formulating a policy for the revival of both Urdu and Hindi. Well-known actor Farookh Sheikh felt it was futile to expect the politicians to come forward and help the cause of Urdu. “Politicians are obsessed with their own concerns. To expect them to do anything for Urdu will be foolhardy. But, if more and more people show love for the language then the politicians, too, will be forced to take the necessary steps for a politician excels in reading the pulse of the people.” It was wrong to say that Urdu was a language of the Muslims, he added. “It’s the language of the country. But, even if it was the language of a particular community, should one discard it? he asked.
Haryana Governor Dr AR Kidwai, in his address, also spoke on the same lines and made a case for preserving the unity of Hindi-Urdu.
He also released Kalam-e-Moin, a book on the life and times of well-known writer Moin-ur-Rahman Kidwai. Jharkhand Governor Sayyed Sibtey Razi spoke on the contribution of Kaifi Azmi. Both had words of praise for the secretary of Hindi Urdu Sahitya Award Committee, Athar Nabi for organising a literary fest that was aimed at promoting linguistic harmony. Nabi said that his committee would continue to hold such functions for providing a common platform to litterateurs, writers, poets and intellectuals to voice their thoughts.