Address at the 2- day Seminar on 200 years of Urdu Jounalism (with reference to Maharashtra)
Address by Shri CH Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Maharashtra at the inauguration of the 2- day Seminar on ‘200 years of Urdu Jounalism (with reference to Maharashtra)’ organized by the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language of the Ministry of Human Resource Development at Kari Library, Anjuman I Islam, Mumbai at 11 am on 19th March 2016
Shri Haribhau Bagde, Hon’ble Speaker of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, Padmashree Muzaffar Hussain Saab, India’s well known journalist and Vice Chairman of the National Council for Promotion of Urdu language, Shri Irtiza Ali, Director of the National Council, distinguished invitees, journalists, Urdu lovers, ladies and gentlemen,
I deem it a great honour and privilege to associate myself with the inauguration of the Seminar on ‘200 years of Urdu Journalism, with reference to Maharashtra.
At the outset I congratulate the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language and more particularly Janab Muzaffar Hussain for his initiative in organizing this Seminar in Maharashtra.
Shri Muzaffar Hussain is a familiar name in Maharashtra. His columns are published in many languages across the country and in Maharashtra. He has rendered a yeoman’s service to journalism and through it, to the cause of national integration. I congratulate him for his appointment on the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language. I am sure, he will bring his experience of all these years to the bear in promoting the language among the people.
I understand that the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language has brought out CDs to teach Urdu to people in a simple manner. I was pleased to note that Shri Murli Manohar Joshi as HRD Minister in the Vajpayee government was instrumental in establishing the Council. I am glad to note that during the last 18 years, the number of Urdu readers have increased because of the initiative of NCPUL and its employment oriented programmes. I congratulate the Council on this day.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The contribution of the Urdu Press, Urdu writers and journalists to India’s freedom movement was of the highest order. The press played a critical role in the first war of Independence in the year 1857. But the young generation and many of us know very little about 1857 which was the first major jolt to the British Crown. I think there should be a separate chapter on the first war of Independence in the school and college text books. This chapter should highlight the contribution of Urdu press, Urdu journalists and Urdu writers so that there is greater awareness about the role of Urdu in the freedom struggle.
As you know I come from Telangana and I often mention of a journalist Shoaibullah Khan. I feel sad that very few people have even heard of the name of Shoaibullah Khan. He was a journalist, perhaps only the second, after Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi of Kanpur who became a martyr, while fighting for the nation and fighting for the freedom of expression.
Shoaibullah Khan published a newspaper Imroze. When the journalist wrote articles against the oppressive Nizam rule and criticized the Nizam for his opposition to joining with India, his hands were chopped off and subsequently he was killed.
Since people had forgotten Shoibulla Khan and his work, I got a statue of Shoaibulla Khan prepared and presented it to the press club in Hyderabad.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Urdu was the language of the masses, and Urdu remains the language of the masses. It is one of the sweetest languages I have heard. Thanks to the influence of Urdu on the Hindi languages, Indian films were understood, watched and admired even in far off countries like Egypt, Indonesia, Russian Federation cuontries and many others. It has to be said that Bollywood played an important role in popularizing and promoting Urdu language.
As Governor, I often receive Presidents and Prime Ministers of various countries at Raj Bhavan. They are very keen on inviting Bollywood to their countries. I venture to say, but for the contribution of Urdu language, Bollywood would not have spread to such distant lands as it did. It has played a critical role in promoting national and universal integration.
The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi has taken several proactive steps to create an atmosphere of friendship and goodwill between India and Pakistan, whose national language is Urdu. I believe that Urdu language can help us build the bridges of friendship and foster people to people contact and cooperation between India and Pakistan.
Many people are doing good work to promote and popularize Urdu in their own small way.
Some time ago, I had read a story of one teacher from Nagpur, Mohammed Qamar Hayat. This teacher has made it his life mission to teach Urdu to students, elders and professionals free of charge for the last several years.
I am told there are many teachers like him who have dedicated their lives for the promotion of Urdu language and literature. I appreciate and applaud their work, even though they may not be amidst us at this function today.
Today students are keen to learn foreign languages. They are learning German, Spanish, French and so on. Nothing wrong with that. Learning a language always helps people to understand the culture and traditions of other societies. It also helps them to earn a good income.
Last week I read a story of a person, – a poor person from Bihar. He learnt Spanish and is making a good income as a translator in Maharashtra. Likewise I do feel that we must take steps to promote Urdu, Arabic and Persian Languages. In the coming years, there will be demand for people who are bilingual or multilingual.
We need efforts to remove the misconception in the minds of the people that Urdu is a language of the Muslims. It is sad that Urdu is seen only as a language of Gazals and Sher – Shayari. We have to change this perception. Today government of India brings out its publications in Urdu. Maharashtra also brings out its official publication Lokrajya in Urdu.
Maharashtra has a large Urdu speaking population. We have many Urdu newspapers published from Mumbai for the last several years.
I will appeal to Urdu writers and journalists to contribute articles on Urdu in Marathi, Hindi and regional languages also.
Thought should also be given to organizing Urdu Sahitya Sammelans alongside Marathi Sahitya Sammelans.
Urdu is India’s language and Urdu is our common heritage. It is our collective responsibility to restore the languages its glory. We must identify and honour people who are doing selfless service to promote Urdu language and literature.
I want to tell you that the gates of Raj Bhavan shall always be open for people who are keen on promoting the Urdu language in Maharashtra. As Chancellor of Universities, I will definitely support Universities promoting the study of language and research in it.
I will also call upon the National Council to identify, nurture and promote small institutions that are doing silent work for the promotion of Urdu for the last several years.
With these words, I congratulate the National Council and Padmashree Muzaffar Hussain Ji organizing this Seminar and wish the participants fruitful deliberations.
Jai Hind Jai Maharashtra