N. America’s Show of Support for Urdu
By Ayub Khan

Toronto: Urdu is not a threatened language but is alive and well, proclaimed Dr.Gopi Chand Narang, noted critic and president of Indian Academy of Letters, at a three-day International Urdu Conference held in Toronto from June 17-19. He said that the organization of such conferences in North America proves that Urdu will continue to flourish in the future. He said Urdu should not be restricted to the Muslims alone but should be promoted as a universal language.
The conference, organized by the Urdu Times, was attended by well-known poets, writers, and journalists from Pakistan, India, UK, France, and Canada. Sessions were held on Literature and Modern Trends, Iqbal Studies, Ghalib Studies, Urdu Media’s New Challenges, Religious Poetry, and Women’s Urdu Literature.
Speaking at the conference Zahid Ali Khan, editor in chief of Siasat Daily, Hyderabad, said every year more than 50,000 students from Urdu schools drop out in the state of Andhra Pradesh alone. He said it is vital that the students remain in schools and that the schools’ standards should be raised to meet modern challenges. He appealed to the attendees to sponsor at least one student in a year. Khalil ur Rahman, publisher of the New York-based Urdu Times, announced that he will sponsor the publication of quality Urdu works and that an international jury will select the submitted works.
The conference resolved that immediate measures need to be taken to protect the Urdu script in its present form. Dr. Taqi Abedi, convener of the conference, said the Perso-Arabic script is not the clothing but the skin itself of Urdu language. The conference resolved to form an international committee to solve issues relating to the count of the Urdu alphabet and the teaching of Urdu in Sunday Islamic schools in North America. The attendees appealed to the Pakistani and Indian governments to ease travel restrictions on poets, writers and other literary figures.
The conference concluded with a Mushaira attended by over 1500 people. Dr.Jamil Jalibi, Dr.Shan ul Haq Haqqi, Dr.David Matthews, Dr. Peerzada Qasim, Wakil Ansari, Mona Shahab and other national and international poets took part in it. Another international Urdu Conference is being held in Hyderabad in November.


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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