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‘Urdu needs government fillip to flourish’
By Jamil Khan November 17, 2012
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DUBAI: The overall state of literature in Pakistan, especially that in the Urdu language, is good. However, with English having made deep inroads through social media, survival of the Urdu script is in grave danger.

Thus stated Amjad Islam Amjad, a prominent Pakistani writer, poet and playwright, while talking to journalists during an informal interactive session in Dubai on Friday.

The session, also attended by Anwar Masood, another poet and literary figure from Pakistan, was organised by the Cultural Committee of Pakistan Association Dubai (PAD) at a local restaurant in Dubai, and attended by prominent Pakistani authors Tahir Zaidi, Tariq Rehman, among others. 

Amjad said Urdu was one of the four most widely spoken languages in the world other than English, Chinese and Arabic, with its users spread in every nook and corner of the world.

He shed light on the various stages of the language’s existence and how Englishmen, after they had instituted the East-India Company, used this language to communicate with the natives.

“In the 1800s, the Englishmen, having realised that Urdu was the only language in the sub-continent that was spoken and understood throughout the region, declared it as a common language. On the other hand, especially for the Muslims, the language compensated for the loss of Persian and Arabic, which were being predominantly used for literature and religious purposes,” he said.

Amjad suggested the government in Pakistan should take radical measures to give due status to the Urdu language if it had to survive and remain in good shape.

“The time has come for the concerned authorities to incorporate relative words from other regional languages into Urdu and make the language a common representative mode of communication for everyone,” he added.

Anwar Masood, responding to a question, said there was a time when Pakistan had many poets who did comic poetry, especially in the ‘60s and ‘70s. He lamented that their numbers now had dwindled to only a few.

“The new comic poets lack a strong grip of the language, an anomaly which should be corrected on a priority basis,” he said.

Amjad, who has written many dramas for Pakistan’s national television centre, had once refused to write a sequel to his widely acclaimed drama ‘Waris’ in the early 1980s.

“Originally, we had a good team that produced the serial. Now, however, it is very difficult to arrange an equally good team,” he added.

He also praised the role of many institutions in churning out professionals in many fields, like acting, technicians, among others, pointing out that their dedication could result in restoring Pakistani dramas to the golden age of yore.

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