Call for Urdu journalism to reinvent itself

  • Venkaiah Naidu hails Urdu media’s role in nation-building

Hyderabad: Urdu journalism and Urdu newspapers had contributed significantly to Indian freedom struggle and their contribution to nation building was second to none, Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting M Venkaiah Naidu said on Saturday.

In his inaugural address to the workshop on “Capacity building for working Urdu journalists of Telangana” organized by Maulana Azad National Urdu University in collaboration with National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language at DDE Auditorium, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Gachibowli, Hyderabad, the Union minister said: “India has a great culture and heritage, we shall preserve them. We should feel proud of our culture, heritage and country”. He said Urdu journalism is an integral part of the media and communication landscape of the country. Urdu journalism also should go all out in taking advantage of new technological advances that are radically changing the way information is reached to masses, he added.

No complete and authentic history of the Indian freedom struggle can be written without taking into account the contribution of Urdu journalism and its role in the freedom movement, he said. “Who can forget Maulana Azad’s newspaper Al-Hilal which espoused the cause of Hindu-Muslim unity and strengthened the inclusive ideals of Indian nationalism? “Maulana Azad’s publications were aimed at encouraging young Indian Muslims into the national struggle for independence and were committed to Hindu-Muslim harmony”, he added.

Who can ignore the contributions of the Urdu newspapers like Naqeeb e-Hamdard, Pratap, Milap, Quami Awaaz, Zameendar, Hindustan, to name just a few in spreading the ideals of nationalism amongst the Indian youth? Venkaiah Naidu asked.

“Urdu is not just the language of Muslims alone but of all Indians. In fact, the first newspaper of Urdu language Jam-i-Jahan-Numa, was founded by Harihar Dutta in 1822 in Calcutta. The second renowned Urdu newspaper was also started by a Hindu, Munshi Harsukh Rai, in the year 1850.

With the advent of the social media and the Internet and the availability of news from a variety of platforms which includes mobile phones, it is imperative that Urdu journalism re-invent itself and finds out ways in which to reach out to its readership through different platforms. Urdu has moved from the realms of literature and into the domain of science and technology as this University itself stands a witness to this endeavor.

The Union minister expressed the hope that the workshop will be an enriching experience for Urdu journalists and should allow them to upgrade their proficiencies, hone their skills, and acquire new technical skills that should allow Urdu journalism to thrive and flourish. The I&B Ministry is taking several initiatives to reach out to people in their own language. In PIB headquarters in Delhi, we have a separate Urdu cell for translating all press releases into Urdu so that Urdu readers also can benefit.

All India Radio is a pioneer in reaching out to masses in regional languages. Urdu has been part and parcel of radio broadcasting starting from pre-independence era. Today, many knowledge based programmes and news bulletins are carried by All India Radio in Urdu language. Digital connectivity through the Internet has also been taken up by AIR in respect of eight channels which include Urdu as well.

Recently, the I&B Ministry brought out a new policy on print advertisement to ensure fairness among various categories of newspapers/journals. Accordingly, special encouragement is being given for regional language/dialects. Newspapers in Jammu & Kashmir shall stand to benefit from this initiative.

The Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) has been conducting six-month Urdu Journalism course since 2013-2014. The course has been upgraded to full one-year PG Diploma level from the current academic session. The course is aimed at enhancing the skill of practitioners of Urdu journalism. He appealed to parents to encourage their children to speak in their mother tongue rather than in English. “Nothing wrong in learning English, but we should not become Englishmen,” Venkaiah Naidu said and hoped that Maulana Azad National Urdu University and National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language will strive hard in promoting and developing the Urdu language. -NSS

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