Sunday, January 22, 2006

State of Urdu newspapers in India & Etemaad's website

The website of newly launched Urdu daily Etemaad is impressive. Though difficult to find the site because of the spelling of etemaad.

It is among the best Urdu sites I have seen. Like Hindustan Times and Times of India website, it also brings to you the entire page in the form of epaper on the screen.

Truly Hyderabad has remained the fortress of Urdu in India. While papers in Uttar Pradesh have seen a great decline lately, Lucknow has seen a growth in circulation, particularly since Rashtriya Sahara Urdu was launched.

The Lucknow edition of Sahafat is doing well. Also, Indian Express' local Urdu daily "Qaumi Khabrein' is beautifully printed and is an eight-page standard newspaper.

Apart from this 2-3 other papers like Eqdaam, Waris-e-Urdu etc are being published but none of these papers are available on net. The Mumbai newspapers Urdu Times, Hindustan and Inquilab are doing reasonably well.

 Mumbai is thus another citadel of Urdu journalism. Situation in Karnataka where Salaar and Pasban are old newspapers and West Bengal where Kolkata has Akkas, Azad Hind among the main newspapers, is not very rosy though.

In Madhya Pradesh Urdu Action's Bhopal and Burhanpur editions are the saving grace. Famous Urdu daily Nadeem that is now in its 70th year is a dying institution sadly. Though Muslims easily switched to Hindi newspapers in Rajasthan, parts of UP, MP and Bihar, the 95% Hindu-Sikh Punjab still has the mass circulated Hind Samachar.

Though its circulation figures have dropped to less than 50,000 in recent years. However, it faces no immediate threat because the sister publications in Hindi and Punjabi are earning profit. The group is named after it and the owners have an emotional bond with this paper.

Hind Samachar remains the only newspaper in Urdu that is published on glossy paper. In Bihar and Jharkhand a few newspapers are carrying the tradition. The popular paper in this region is Qaumi Tanzeem apart from Akhbar-i-Mashriq.

Hope remains from Jammu and Kashmir the sole state with Urdu as state language in India. Many newspapers are published and circulated fairly well. Delhi has Qaumi Awaz, Rashtriya Sahara and a few other newspapers. The old papers like Milap, Pratap that are still read by the elderly Hindu-Sikh.