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October 19, 2019

Step motherly treatment to Urdu lamented


October 19, 2019

As an educationist deep-down, Dr. Sher Ali has taught at various institutes during his academic career. Being a bibliophile and a keen reader of Urdu literature, he has written countless research and critical articles over the last 15 years for the eminent literary and research journals.

His other works include Tradition of Urdu Poetry in England: A Critical and Research Study, being published by Majlis-e-Taraqqi-e-Adab, Lahore (wherein covering the beginning of Urdu language there, he mentions Navab Karim-u-din, the ambassador of Bahadar Shah Zafar, who wrote travelogue in 1842); a book containing literary articles, and a project of Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) on Dr. Tauseef Tabbusum.

Mention of Urdu poetry in England remains incomplete sans distinguished poet Iftikhar Arif, one time the head of Urdu Markaz London. Names of poetasters Basir Sultan Kazmi, Saleem-u-Rehman, Iftikhar Jalib, Mukhtar-u-Din Ahmad, Ghulam Qadir Azad, Arshad Latif, Yasmeen Hameed, Yashab Tamanna, and Winston Plouse are also there.

Talking to The News, Dr. Sher Ali remarked: “Urdu enjoys the status of being the mother tongue of 80 million people around the world. It enjoys the status of being the national language of Pakistan. It is spoken and understood all over the world. The total number of the people speaking and understanding Urdu, is more than 200 million.

“I fail to comprehend why step motherly treatment is being given to Urdu language which helped the Pakistan movement succeed. Importance of national language in transmitting national heritage and cultural ethos to the future generations is the need of the day.

“The present treatment given to the Urdu language might not get better soon. However, several institutions set up by the government are trying to promote Urdu within their capacity.”

He also told of the stories that matter but too often remain unheard: “Increasing corporate culture of higher education threatens its most essential values dismantling one of its defining characteristics: the professoriate.

“The rise to prominence of any university is defined by the central role of autonomous professors who can be both scholars and teachers. Yet in today's market-driven, rank and ratings-obsessed realm of higher education, corporate thinking prevails: faculties are used for optimum proficiency, output, and competitive advantage; unexpected crowds of blue-eyed guys nowadays fill the demand for professors,” he lamented.

“Although overall situation is discouraging, serving as Chairman Urdu Department Alhamd Islamic University, Islamabad and as Editor of HEC-Approved research journal of the same university, I endeavoured to inculcate love of Urdu in students,” he said.

On the quality literature he commented: “It cannot be produced until the critics stop favouritism and give impartial opinion on any piece of literature. Cheap ways of profile-raising demoralize the original writers.”

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