Thursday, August 18, 2011

'Read And Buy Urdu Newspaper' campaign succeeds in Delhi: Will you subscribe an Urdu paper now?

Activists selling Urdu paper to policeman Subash Chand
It was heartening to see the recent campaign in Delhi that aimed at popularizing Urdu newspapers and urging readers to buy them.

Almost 1,500-2,000 Urdu newspapers were sold at the spot in a matter of few hours. This is a positive step as it shows activism on part of the Urdu-speaking populace.

Rather than keeping expectations from the governments, it's the job of the speakers of a language to take care of it. That Urdu lovers hit the street is definitely a welcome sign.

Daily Sahafat's Mohammad Anjum reported that the campaign was launched at the gate of Jama Masjid. The organisation members marched to Matia Mahal and adjoining areas for the 'Akhbar Faroshi Tehreek'.

Clearly, the success of this drive shows that there is no lack of readers if the newspapers have quality and content. Activists representing various fields had gathered after reciting 'fatiha' at the grave of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, and began approaching traders and citizens, urging them to buy the Urdu newspapers.

The Urdu lovers were asked to support these papers and make it a habit to buy papers rather than borrow it from a neighbour or a shop owner. The activists stressed on the fact that Urdu papers' existence is vital, as they raise issues concerning Muslim population apart from creating awareness among minorities.

International Human Rights Protection Association (IHRPA) head Shameem Ahmad, Head of Department (Urdu) Dayal Singh College Dr Maula Bakhsh, editor Andaleeb daily M Mustaqeem Khan, poet Shoaib Raza Fatmi, Dr MR Qasmi, Sahafat bureau chief Dr Mumtaz Alam Rizvi, journalists representing Akhbar-e-Nau, Hamara Samaj were part of the drive.

Earlier, activists have sold Urdu papers like Azad Hind and Akhbar-e-Mashriq in similar fashion in Muslim pockets in Kolkata in the past. The fact that governments don't give enough attention to either civic issues or other problems that are written about in Urdu papers should be a cause of concern, said speakers.

The participants in the drive urged people to buy Urdu papers so that it sends a clear message to Centre and State governments that the language is alive. The fact is that over the years, Urdu journalism has made fast strides in India, particularly, since late 90s.

After the launch of Roznama Sahara, the multi-edition Sahafat, Aag, new papers in Hyderabad and J&K, Urdu newspapers are now visible though they aren't reaching readers in far-flung colonies and new areas due to lack of proper distribution network.

Now the papers are attractive and also carry kids' and women's sections though there is still lack of adequate cartoon strips. Children are drawn towards papers due to cartoons and editors of the Urdu papers must realise this important aspect.

For years Urdu papers have focused on politics and neglected children. Few papers have daily cartoon strips. They must strike chord with the young generation, particularly, teenagers and kids. Besides, proper attention should be given to on-spot reporting, career guidance, sports and women's issues.

Most Urdu papers are now on the internet and this also shows the change sweeping across Urdu journalism in India. If you are a Urdu speaker, subscribe an Urdu paper. This will be your biggest service to your mother tongue. Will you do that?

[Photo courtesy Urdu daily Sahafat, Delhi]