Dr. Majid Deobandi on Urdu education

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Muhammad Mujahid Syed

JEDDAH — “It’s is very unfortunate that poets have to come down from the lofty standards of the Urdu language to meet the demands of Mushairah (Urdu poetry) lovers in India. In our country, Mushairah has become a profession. The poets have to take care of the needs of their audience in this regard,” said Dr. Majid Deobandi in an interview to Saudi Gazette recently.

Dr. Majid is one of the brightest star in the firmament of Urdu Mushairah in India. He was in Jeddah recently to participate in a poetry gathering.

“The audience in Jeddah are more educated and sophisticated than the audience in India. I have been participating in Mushairahs for more than 34 years, and have been to each and every city of India that ever organizes Mushairah.

“The reason for this free fall in the standard of the audience in India is the lack of knowledge of Urdu language at the primary level. In India, though the audiences loves Urdu poetry, and are sincere in their effort to make every Mushairah a success, the level of their Urdu language becomes evident during the gathering.

“I have participated in Mushairahs in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Dubai, Sharjah, Al-Ain, Muscat, Qatar, Kuwait, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Nepal, but sadly it is in India that I find the lacuna of understanding the metaphysics of the language because of the non understanding of the language at the primary level,” he said.

“The decline of the Urdu language and poetry can be checked by the teaching of Urdu language at the primary level. The results can be miraculous. For the poets who are succeeding on the various Mushairah stages have mostly learned Urdu at the primary and intermediate level. And the grasp of the language at the root has stood them in good stead.

A Ph.D. in Urdu literature, Dr. Majid stated that his topic for the doctorate was Khwaja Hasan Nizami. He was an announcer in All India Radio for 18 years, before becoming a newsreader with Doordarshan Delhi in the Urdu medium.

“The Indian government has allocated funds for the development of Urdu language,” Dr. Majid said, while adding, “Though the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL) and Urdu Academies get a lot of money from the government’s coffers, the opening of Urdu primary schools is still a distant dream for them.”

Also promotion of Urdu poet and writers are marginal Dr. Majid said. “When any writer or poet approaches them for help to publish his or her book, he hardly gets 12 or 15 thousand rupees instead of the 40 or 45 thousands needed for the publication of their works,” he said.

“Also Urdu teachers employed by government-run schools hardly get 8 or 10 thousand rupees and are forced to teach Hindi, English, Math (subjects other than Urdu) by the head masters. While their colleagues get over 45 or 50 thousand for the same service.

“I met Kapil Sibal and others on behalf of our National Monitoring Committee for Minorities Education and asked why Urdu teachers are not hired in New Delhi. And his reply was that trained Urdu teachers are scarce. When we assured that the trained teachers are available, they went cold on our proposal,” he said.

“We should teach Urdu to our children at any cost. It’s the only way to save our beautiful language,” was his advise to parents, while stating that the irony was that Urdu writers and poets who earn millions through Urdu shy away from teaching their children Urdu language. “This is hypocrisy,” he said.

Originally called by his parents Muhammad Majid Siddiqui, Dr. Majid was born on July 7, 1964 in Deoband, Uttar Pradesh. Youngest among his 8 siblings, he coped well with the challenges in life. Before his role as a newscaster, he taught Urdu at degree level at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, for years. Presently he is also a member of administrative staff of Jamia’s Urdu Academy that trains Urdu teachers and is the joint editor of its quarterly.

He holds posts in different important committees. Among them, he is general secretary of All India Urdu Rabita Committee, Naat Council of India, Meezan, a literary, social and cultural society. He is president of All India Minority Education Trust, New Delhi.

He has penned down 7 books till now. He has 2 Urdu poetry collections. He has 2 Hindi poetry collections too. His research paper on Khwaja Hasan Nizami has been published. His latest collection of poetry, “Jugnu Bolta Hai” and second collection of Naat are to be published soon.

Allama Anwar Sabri, a popular poet during India’s freedom struggle, was Dr. Majid’s maternal grandfather. He got inspiration from the poetry of Mir, Ghalib and Allama Iqbal, while, Khumar Barabankwi, Shameem Jaipuri, Kaif Bhopali, and Bashir Badr are his favorite poets. “Irfan Siddiqui was a great poet of our times,” he said.

Some examples of Majid Deobandi’s couplets:

Jiske sadqe men yeh hayat mili
uske hum sachche ummati ban jayen
Kashtiyan humne jala din hain bharose pe tere
Ab yahan se nahin hum laut ke jaane wale
Pahle yeh tai karo ke wafadar kaun hai
Phir waqt khud batayega ghaddar kaun hai
Yeh kaisi andheron ki siyasat hai ke har soo
Jalte hain charagh aur kahin noor nahin hai

Muhammad Mujahid Syed , “Primary Urdu education needed to keep language alive: Dr. Majid,” in Saudi Gazette, June 24, 2015. Accessed on June 24, 2015, at: http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20150624248229

The item above written by Muhammad Mujahid Syed and published in Saudi Gazette on June 24, 2015, is catalogued here in full by Faiz-e-Zabaan for non-profit educational purpose only. Faiz-e-Zabaan neither claims the ownership nor the authorship of this item. The link to the original source accessed on June 24, 2015, is available here. Faiz-e-Zabaan is not responsible for the content of the external websites.

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