Urdu newspapers played key role in freedom struggle, nation-building: Venkaiah

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 here today.

Delivering inaugural address at the inaugural session of 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 here, 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, QuamiAwaaz, Zameendar, Hindustan to name just a few in spreading the ideals of nationalism amongst the Indian youth?, he said.

‘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 dominion of science and technology as this University itself stands a witness to this endeavor. The union minister expressed hope that this 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 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. During the world war, Urdu broadcasts were used to communicate with the Indian troops serving in Europe, Africa and in Mediterranean region. After the world war, Urdu broadcasts became more prominent in India as domestic broadcasting became very popular. Domestic Urdu broadcasts also gained prominence with the expansion of radio broadcasting. Today, many knowledge based programs 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 includes Urdu as well.

All India Radio offers a bouquet of programmes from a number of stations across the country in different time bands, most in the evenings. Some of the prominent stations broadcasting programs in Urdu language are: DD Urdu is doing a wonderful job in spreading Urdu language in the country. DD News with its news bulletins in Urdu language only helps to propagate Urdu language. Recently the Ministry brought out the New Print Advertisement policy in pursuance with the broad social objectives of the Government that ensures fairness among various categories of Newspapers/Journals. The policy mentions relaxation in empanelment procedure to provide special encouragement 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 capacity building and enhancing the skill of practitioners of Urdu journalism. Language and culture has a definite relationship. We must teach our children to speak in their mother tongue rather than English. Nothing wrong in learning English we should not become Englishmen. Venkaiah Naidu hoped that Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) and National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language will strive hard in promoting and developing the Urdu language and in impacting vocational and technical education in Urdu medium through conventional and distance modes and also keep pace with contemporary trends in technological advancements. (NSS)