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Published On:21 November 2013
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

Baba-e-Urdu Moulvi Abdul Haq: Renowned promoter of Urdu language and literature

By Rohail Khan

Moulvi Abdul Haq (Father of Urdu) was born 141 years’ ago on 16th November 1872 in Hapur, Ghaziabad District, India. He was an acclaimed Urdu educator, writer, critic, linguist, lexicographer, editor, compiler, translator, etymologist, biographer and grammarian. His entire life was devoted to making Urdu the foremost language across sub-continent.

At an early age, young Abdul Haq acquired expertise in Urdu, Deccani, Persian, English, and Arabic languages. In 1894, he obtained B.A from the Aligarh Muslim University. During his formative years, his contemporaries included progressive scholars like Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Moulana Shibli Nomani, Sir Ross Masood, Nawab Mohsin-ul-Mulk, Professor T. W. Arnold.

In his early career, Moulvi Abdul Haq served as Translator at the Home Department and based on his esoteric capabilities he was later appointed Inspector of Schools (Aurangabad, Deccan).

Simultaneously, he also served as Secretary, All India Muslim Educational Conference, where he managed the Promotion of Urdu across the entire British India.

Baba-e-Urdu was a moving spirit behind the establishment of famous “Osmania University”, Hyderabad Deccan; where he was instrumental in curriculum design and development of teaching methods in Urdu for all subjects and faculties.

Under his able supervision, textbooks and reference material were compiled and taught in Urdu. Later on, he served as chairman of the University’s Department of Urdu. Osmania University rose to new heights under his leadership and became second after Aligarh Muslim University.

It was Moulvi Abdul Haq who worked hard to enrich Deccani Urdu literature and make it familiar to the masses. He was the first in unearthing various old rare manuscripts from the archives that remained unattended for centuries. He introduced Deccani literature to Modern Urdu readers and historians and strengthened the roots of the Urdu language.

Having realized the demise of Persian language, Moulvi Abdul Haq made it his mission to place Urdu language head-to-head with English and Arabic. He ensured that Urdu books and material are developed in basic fields of knowledge i.e: medical sciences, arts and crafts, geology, astronomy, mathematics, economics, and social sciences.

In his tenure, he edited rare manuscripts such as Meraajul Ashqeen (1924), Zikr-e-Mir (1928), Bagh-o-Bahar (1931), Sab Ras (1932), Nikat-o-Shoara (1935), Nusrati (1938), Qutub Mushtari (1939), others.

After his retirement from Osmania University in 1930, he compiled and edited a comprehensive and authoritative “English Urdu Dictionary” which is a great service to Urdu language.

Under his asture care, the “Anjuman e Taraqqi e Urdu” (Society for Development of Urdu), emerged as a powerful service organization across the sub-continent. In the 1930s, Mahatma Gandhi and his comrades started a campaign to change the Urdu script. Thanks to the Anjuman and proactive role of Moulvi Abdul Haq, the attempt was successfully thwarted. Thereafter, till the creation of Pakistan in 1947, he fought the Indian National Congress for the cause of Urdu and Pakistan.

In early1948, Moulvi Abdul Haq migrated to Pakistan. During the partition riots, thousands of valuable manuscripts, memoranda, books and articles that he possessed were inadvertently lost. Anti-Islam sections of the British Government had seriously damaged the Anjuman by withdrawing all support in 1945. Moulvi Sahib reached Pakistan poor in health, meager in resources but planted the Anjuman anew, on fresh ground. Under the aegis of the organization, countless books and several important journals were re-produced in Urdu.

During 1948 - 1961, Baba-e-Urdu patronized and inaugurated various “Urdu Public Libraries” and lived long enough to see his dreams come to reality i.e: introduction of Urdu medium institutions of higher learning, establishment of Arts and Science College with Urdu curriculum.

He continually stressed the need for a multi-dimensional multi-region “Urdu University” for which he even called a All Pakistan National Conference in 1959.

Moulvi Abdul Haq, a life-long proponent for Urdu, was the moving force behind making Urdu the National Language of Pakistan.

After a prolonged illness, Moulvi Abdul Haq departed on 16th August 1961 in Karachi. Government of Pakistani, in recognition of his tireless efforts, issued a postage stamp in his honor in 2004.

As a researcher, scholar, critic and lexicographer Moulvi Abdul Haq is a great name in history. It is, however, as the foremost campaigner of Urdu and its greatest servant that Baba-e-Urdu will be remembered for ever by 550 million Urdu speakers around the world.Urdu – Great Language

After Arabic, the largest source of Islamic literature is “Urdu”. Indeed, we must promote and nurture this fascinating language.

Urdu is spoken by “550 million people”, pre-dominantly in India and Pakistan. Significant Urdu speaking communities exist in the Sub-continent, North America, Middle East, and Far East. Urdu is the “national language of Pakistan”. It is widely spoken across India, where it is one of the 22 scheduled languages and official language of five states. The Indian film industry is dominated by Urdu as prime language since 75 years. Urdu is the language of love, peace, poetry, and communal harmony. Over 5,500 Urdu literary societies and associations are serving this great language all over five continents.

Based on the Khariboli dialect of Dehli, Urdu developed under the rich influence of Persian, Arabic, and Turkish languages over 900 years.

It began to take shape in what is now Uttar Pardesh, India, during the Dehli Sultanate (1206-1527 AD), and continued to develop and flourish under The Great Mughal Empire (1526-1858 AD).

The 550 million Urdu speakers make it as “4th largest language in the world”. Let's serve Urdu. Let's promote those who promote Urdu.

Phooloun ki mehek banke bikher jaye gi Urdu,
Yeh wehem hai aey dost ke merr jaye gi Urdu.

[Rohail Khan, a senior banker and social worker, is Chairman of Urdu Academy International. He is actively developing communities through literature, culture, and philanthropy. He can be reached at: rohailkhan00@gmail.com]

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on November 21, 2013. Filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

By Indian Muslim Observer on November 21, 2013. Filed under , , , . Follow any responses to the RSS 2.0. Leave a response

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