Masters, I joined a public school in Muzaffarpur as a
teacher. Later I was promoted to Principal of that same school. My
association with the student organization, Students Islamic Organization
of India (SIO),gave me the chance to serve in its headquarters at
Delhi as Secretary of Official Activities. I moved to Delhi in 1985.
Unnecessary delays in the session delayed my Masters examinations till
1986. Unfortunately it was delayed further due to my fulltime
involvement with SIO.
I retired from SIO by the end of 1989 and joined
Markazi Maktaba Islami as Production Manager. During my stay here I got
enough chance to contact publishers from different languages including
English. I keenly observed and learnt the working style of Urdu
publishers. My relationship with the Delhi Publishers Association
developed, and I participated in most of its seminars, symposia and
workshops. Most major amongst them was the ten-day international
publishing workshop of the internally acclaimed institute, Institute of
Book Publishing, Delhi (founder S.K Ghai).
IMI: How did you form your bond with Urdu literature?
A: My association with Urdu began during my
childhood. I studied Urdu and Persian in school and was fortunate that I
got the best teachers in both the subjects. I read books by eminent
authors and Islamic scholars in 8th class, and read some chapters of
Gulistan & Boostan. I studied books by Allama Iqbal, Maulana Hali,
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Maulana Abdus Salam Bastawi, Sir Syed, Maulana
Abul Ala Maudoodi, Ibn Safi and Prem Chand as well. Besides Alif Laila I
studied some volumes of Tilism-e-Hosh Ruba.
By matriculation I had studied hundreds of books by
dozens of authors. From the very beginning I had an interest in suspense
novels and read Ibne Safi who was my favorite novelist. After
matriculation, I studied English suspense fictions of two prominent
authors, Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle. But I found less
realism in their books compared to Ibn-e-Safi. Reading and writing in
Urdu was my interest that's why I chose it as one of the subjects
in intermediate. I studied the famous book Tarz-e-Nigarish and was made
aware of the methodology and technique of translation from English into
Urdu. Till graduation I didn't have any problem in choosing
streams of study but afterwards I looked for a specialized subject of
study. I studied literature, history, sociology, Islam, biographies and
books on religions. Later I also studied books of science and
IMI: How did you come to launch Urdu Book Review, and
how is it different from other journals?
A: My association with the publishing industry and
chances to read books of that nature, particularly a book by Marshal Lee
Bookmaking and other books How to break into publishing by Margan, gave
me ample chances to understand the real picture of modern book
publishing. The materialistic mindset of Urdu publishers & vested
interest towards Urdu brought the picture in the forefront that their
hollow claim of “love for Urdu" is nothing but an empty
rhetoric. In style, technique and commerciality, Urdu publishers were
lagging behind the publishers of English and other languages.
On the other hand so called custodians of Urdu
literature --- publishers, intellectuals, authors and poets
didn't see the gloomy picture of the Urdu language. Their motive
was earning big bucks. In conclusion, their association with Urdu was
customary. Still, they were making the utmost efforts to help Urdu
survive. A few years before I planned to launch Urdu Book Review, I had
studied Islamic Book Review published from England. When I was
associated with the publishing industry I studied an English journal
Book Review. These journals inspired me to launch Urdu Book Review.
Urdu has an abundance of litterateurs, poets,
intelligentsias, Ulemas, teachers, research scholars and students at
each and every age. But in independent India nobody thought to publish a
journal on the Urdu book industry for the Urdu readers. Seeing this
dilapidated situation and negative approach of Urdu book publishers, I
felt an ardent need to publish a journal. Though this work was not easy,
the first issue of Urdu Book Review came into existence on November 1995
with the help of some of my friends. This thirty-two paged issue got
tremendous accolades, and Dr. Aquil Hashmi, the then chairman of
Department of Urdu at Osmania University in Hyderabad, wrote a detailed
review on it in the Urdu daily Siasat. That initiative placated many
magazines/newspapers in India and abroad to publish reviews on Urdu Book
Review. Due to its content, presentation and objective approach, Urdu
Book Review was recognized in the Urdu world and became famous as a
IMI: You have been publishing Urdu Book Review for
eleven years now, what kind of difficulties you have faced in this
A: Because Urdu Book Review was neither inaugurated
by any organization nor did it have any individual support, it faced
monetary difficulties from the very inception. Its life members made all
efforts to help it run, though. In the beginning, some Urdu
litterateurs created an environment of non-cooperation, but the
Almighty fortified their efforts. Teachers of Urdu didn't give
any support to Urdu Book Review either. A large number of them are not
cooperating even today.
In contrast to them, teachers and students from other
areas of study not only appreciated Urdu Book Review but also supported
it morally and financially. These were life members belonging to science
and engineering faculties. This journal has not only become a necessity
for the Urdu world but also fulfills its requirements with firm
determination. There is a lot to be done in order to make it more
efficient and beneficial for the masses. Due to lack of funds and
associated problems, we don't have a proper office nor do we have
staff. But for the past eleven years, Urdu Book Review has been
published bimonthly without any interruption.
IMI: What changes you have seen in the last eleven
years for Urdu books?
A: In the production of Urdu books, it has of course
improved in quality of presentation and publication aspect. There is now
a variety in the selection of subjects. The abundance of books on Urdu
poetry is not enough though. Other issues are almost untouched or less
preferred. There is a dearth of books on comic literature. It is
unfortunate that in the 20th century, even after imitating Europe and
America, there has been no drastic change amongst the Urdu publishers.
There is an increase in the piracy activities.
Development in science and technology has helped make
Urdu publishers more ambitious. But Urdu textbooks for curriculum are
still in dearth, in science and technology topics Urdu is almost bleak.
Also there is not one good Urdu dictionary. If our literati had had a
positive approach for Urdu, it would have grown to some extent.
IMI: Why arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t there any Urdu books on the
Sciences & Information Technology?
A: When your mood is upset it isn't even
possible to eat the best foods that are being served. Likewise, if a
language is deprived of the practical life, its creative importance dies
down. Creative knowledge is creative literature. Once upon a time Urdu
had books in abundance on each and every field of learning. French
scholars used to translate contents from Urdu into their own languages
for gathering knowledge on different sciences. When Urdu was deprived
from practical lives, it lost charm. People began to realize that this
language was defunct and so they cut their relations with it instantly.
I myself have studied Chemistry and Physics in Urdu.
Hyderabad has seen its golden age where science was taught in Urdu. For
the last sixty years Urdu has lost credence due to biasness. Its
identity was lost because it didn't have any relation to
practical life. If Urdu can be associated with practical life then, I
hope, there will not be any scarcity of Urdu books for all areas of
sciences and other subjects too. This work has already started in
Pakistan. In India NCPUL has attempted in this regard and has published
books of science in Urdu.
IMI: Why do you think it is that professors of Urdu
don't purchase Urdu magazines and newspapers?
A: When they are provided free then why should one
purchase. But it is a truth that if the mental level were changed the
output would be likewise. Unfortunately the post independent educational
system was designed in such a way that scholars and talents found the
scope of their educational achievements in a few scores of bread.
University and College professors come into the same group discussed
above. They secure degrees, get jobs and have no worries --- their
future is secure. They become part of this "political paradox of
knowledge". If they don't get jobs in universities/colleges
they simply join some office.
Reading habits develop through parental inheritance,
the environment and from where one belongs. These not only educate
generations but also prepare them to learn morality. This is not
confined to professors/teachers but applies to all who get an education
and have the goal to get a career. Their drawing rooms are full of
precious items but they don't have a single shelf where an Urdu
book can find a place.
IMI: Why is it that Urdu does not have a magazine
like Competition Master?
A: If the custodians of Urdu look into this area
there is no reason why such magazines cannot come out before us.
Attempts have been made in Maharashtra recently, to achieve this.
IMI: What can you tell us about the future of Urdu
A: I am anxious about the future of Urdu instead. The
future of Urdu Book Review is conditional. If Urdu stays alive then, of
course, this journal would also remain alive. If determination continues
and there is a will to do something, even a lack of funds could be
overcome. But without funds and determination this can't be
continued for long. If this condition doesn't change, it's
possible that this journal would have to be shut down. But I am hopeful
that the next generation would look into its progress. They would have
to have concrete plans and employ the best of efforts to make it better