Urdu and Jamia Millia
You will, no doubt, be surprised to learn that everyone who participated in foundation of Jamia was also somehow associated with Urdu language and literature.
By: Wasim Ahmad Alimi
Jamia Millia Islamia was established on 29th October, 1920 at Aligarh, subsequently shifted to where it is now today. Mahatma Gandhi and Jawahar Lal Nehru left no stone unturned to support Jamia since its emergence.
You will, no doubt, be surprised to learn that everyone who any how participated in foundation of Jamia was also somehow associated with Urdu language and literature.
The founders of Jamia Maulana Mahmood Hasan, Maulana Mohammad Ali Jouhar, Hakim Ajmal Khan, Abdul Majeed Khawaja were originally eminent Urdu writers and poets. Their contributions to Urdu language are never forgettable.
Maulana Mahmood Hasan was a famed Islamic scholar and at the same time he was also a literary craftsman of Urdu. One of its founders, Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar was a distinguished poet and Journalist. In the same way, Hakim Ajmal Khan and Abdul Majeed khwaja both were acclaimed Urdu poets.
Among the founding members of Jamia, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, was a prominent Urdu scholar whose beautiful writings of Urdu prose sometimes compared to divine words. One may witness the same while reading his collection of letters titled as Ghubar-e- Khatir. Dr Mukhtar Ahmad Ansari was also a great lover of Urdu language.
The cherishers of Jamia Dr Zakir Hussain, Prof. Mohammad Mujeeb and Dr Syed Abid Hussain were the great wordsmiths of Urdu. Dr Syed Abid Hussain had translated a dozen of books from English and German to Urdu. He translated Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru’s Book Glimpses of World History, Discovery of India and An Autobiography in Urdu.
Dr Abid Hussain had also translated Mahatma Gandhi’s world-renowned book My Experiment with Truth and one of Rabindra Nath Tagore’s books in Urdu language. These books were published from Maktaba Jamia limited, a publishing house of Jamia Millia Islamia.
Professor Mohammad Mujeeb was an impactful scholar, philosopher and Urdu playwright. His plays Khana Jangi, (Civil War) Hubba Khatoon, (The Lady Hubba) Kheti, Anjaam, Heroine ki Talaash, and Doosri Shadi are known as the basic Plays of Urdu literature. He was great fan of legend Ghalib.
Dr Zakir Hussain whose tireless services to Jamia is as obvious as sunshine, was also very passionate lover of Urdu language and literature. His book Abbu Khan Ki Bakri is considered a significant piece of Children Literature.
All those who nurtured Jamia had a dream to focus on Urdu language and literature and therefore they tried their best to glorify Urdu by their possible writings. And so that this dream may come true, Maktaba Jamia was founded in 1923.
Under this publication house, myriads of valuable Urdu books written by great Urdu scholars of Undivided India and widely circulated. In which Mahatma Gandhi, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Prem Chand, Firaaq Gorakhpuri, Majnu Gorakhpuri, Ranjindra Singh Bedi, Ismat Choghtai, Khwaja Ahmad Abbas, Qurratul Ain Haider and Ali Sardar Jafri’s works worth mentioning here.
Maktaba Jamia started issuing premier and prestigious monthly magazines Payam-e-Taleem in 1923 for Children and Kitab Numa for elderly scholars in 1926 which are regularly being issued even today.
A world fame journal, Resala Jamia is also being published from Zakir Institute of JMI setting the milestones for Urdu literature. The well-known Urdu Short Story ‘Kafan’ by Munshi Premchand was originally published in the same journal.
Dr Zakir Hussain Central Library of JMI is known all over the world for its rare collection of books and manuscripts and has an attraction for the researchers from every corner of the world.
Department of Urdu since its initial days from 1972 is playing vital role in nourishing Urdu Language, literature and research across the nation. Prof. Gopi Chand Narang, Prof. Unwan Chishti, Prof. Mohammad Zakir and Prof. Shamim Hanfi have been much celebrated teachers and great literary persons of this department.
They are known for their valuable academic works everywhere Urdu is being studied and taught. Professor Muzaffar Hanfi, Prof. Hanif Kaifi, Prof. Shamsul Haque Usmani, Prof. Khalid Mahmood and Prof. Sharper Rasool are also extraordinary teachers of the department. Some of the great name like Professor Ralf Russel, Professor Shamsur Rahman Farooqi, Qurratul Ain Haider, Ashok Vajpaee had been associated with department as visiting Faculties.
Recently in 2012, Ministry of Culture, Government of India, commemorating 150th birth anniversary of Rabinra Nath Tagore, had assigned Urdu Department a historical work “Tagore Research and Translation Scheme”. Under this project, 13 books were published, some of them were translation of his original works and some were noted as research works on him.
His Nobel awarded Book Geetanjali and venerable novel Gora, his short stories, memories, dramas were translated and published. Under this scheme, several lectures, seminars, workshops and cultural programmes were arranged by Urdu Department. The set of all books were presented to his Excellency Parnab Mukherjee (then president of India) who expressed his immense pleasure and satisfaction.
Even today, most of the faculty members’ research and creative works are much appreciable and more than 500 scholars and students are associated with the department. Jamia had, have and will have a firm relation with Urdu.
(The author is research scholar, Department of Urdu, Jamia Millia Islamia. The write-up has not been edited by the OT staff.)