Monday, July 10, 2023

The Travesty of Urdu Councils and Forums

By Mushtaq Ul Haq Ahmad Sikander, New Age Islam 10 July 2023 Urdu was the official language of J&K before the abrogation of Article 370. It still continues to be one of the official languages, still taught as one of the vernacular languages along with Kashmiri till high school to all the students in Kashmir valley. Before J&K that was divided and reduced to a union territory, Urdu language bound each three distinct divisions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh together. Now in the changed scenario each division is pushing for its own regional language like Dogri, Kashmiri, Hindi, Ladakhi and even Punjabi. This language battle will continue. But certainly, the downgrading of Urdu language as official one by inducting other languages did hamper its reach, but it did not impact its growth that already was stalled. There is a plethora of reasons, why Urdu is marginalized, and government neglect forms a minuscule aspect of it, Urdu is suffering because of the neglect of those who claim to be its protectors. Their vested interests have altogether destroyed Urdu as they rendered it a hostage to their whims while exploiting it. Language can be used as an effective tool like religion for personal aggrandizement. ------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Muslims and Urdu Language: From Crisis to Conspiracy ------------------------------------------------------------- Few years back, few teachers, social workers, language activists and an Urdu publisher came together to form an Urdu Council in Kashmir. I as a young person who already was volunteering with an Islamic Trust, where I wasted a decade of my life being exploited by a charlatan advocate who filled his personal coffers at my expense as through my contacts, I got funding for the flood victims of 2014 in Kashmir. At its very office, Urdu council was formed and I became a member too, contributing modest monetary contribution each month. Quite late I got to know that the so-called language activists and publisher had already fell out from an earlier Urdu foundation due to ego and other clashes as happens with most Muslim organizations. Thus these disgruntled members now opened a new shop under the name and title of Urdu Council. I did attend its meetings quite judiciously, but not much pragmatic and actionable steps were taken for the cause of Urdu, except the formation of a committee that decided to meet bureaucrats, other officials of the state and plead with them for the rescue and protection of Urdu language. Basically, Urdu cause was utilized to build personal rapport and liaison with those in power. Sometimes some poetical recitations of local poets were organized. I desist poetry as poets are the most idealist and impractical people, although I do sometimes indulge in poetry but it never is a serious task, in which one’s energy is to be utilized. Poets have only given false hopes, created imaginary world, rendered Muslims emotional, leading to the false priorities and failures that galore the Muslim community today. Hence, I never attended any poetical recitations organized by the council. The publisher pushed his books through official visits, so he always had a vested interest that bound him to the council. Later I left the so-called Islamic trust where the failed advocate was siphoning off the Zakah money meant for the poor or using it for personal aggrandizement and advertisement. Hence being a part of exploitative nexus was to destroy one’s time, money and hereafter. I volunteered my time and money for the cause of poor, orphans and widows only to realize that the failed lawyer was using these funds raised from people for his personal expenses without being accountable before us. I left quietly because if I would have made it public, the trust of people would have shattered beyond repair on trusts and NGOs with an Islamic name. This failed advocate also was a trustee of this Urdu Council, so to be a member of it was to recognize and give legitimacy to this criminal again. I left the Council too and they too did not bother to recall or request me to join them again. Infact they were happy, because now they could conduct the affairs in a dictatorial manner as they abhorred democracy. A person like me who always demands accountability particularly for the money raised and utilized is a liability for those who earn it by raising a false flag about any cause be it of language or religion. I left and they continued with mockery of poetical recitations. They also involved some retired bureaucrats who in power did much damage to the cause of Urdu, but now do not want to be forgotten from public memory utilize such forums to remain in news. Most of them have done nothing on ground for the cause of Urdu, but want to claim and appropriate it for personal clout presenting themselves as its saviours. Infact I informed them that what the council could not achieve and carryout in years with so many members and revenue, I at personal level did much more by translating few books from Urdu into English, reading and reviewing Urdu books for English websites and journals, while every month dedicatedly buying Urdu books for thousands of rupees. Similar is the case with numerous writers and researchers like me who in their individual capacity contribute silently to the Urdu cause, while these Councils and Forums continue to be personal fiefdoms of few individuals who hijack and exploit the Urdu language under the garb of protecting and promoting it. Most of the causes, councils and congregations that are led by Muslims fail to achieve their objectives because the intentions with which they are conceived are not pure. Add to it the fact that most Muslims except those associated with the revivalist movements do not know how to work as a Team. Team spirit, Asbiyah and fellow feeling as community (Ummat Panna) is missing from Muslims. So, when egos, material interests, lust for power and hunger for fame all come together then certainly any collective forum will not become an institution but it will be sabotaged into factions. These factions can then no longer function for any collective goal, but retrograde to battle grounds of personality cults and fiefdoms. Thus, a lot of money, time and resources of community are destroyed and hijacked by a person and few persons will grow materially, monetarily and collectively at the expense of community. The funds and time volunteered will go into making a person rich while community continues to reel under darkness. Hence, Muslim community should very well know the credentials and antecedents of a forum or council, its trustees and members before offering them donation of time and money. It can happen that in the end they may grow disillusioned and any hopes of unity will be decimated to the ground. Forums, Councils and people like these are responsible for pushing the community in the abyss of darkness for their personal interests. They lead to the disillusionment among Muslim youth inspiring them to commit frauds and crimes because they are poor role models in the community, who sabotage every flicker of hope. ---- M.H.A. Sikander is Writer-Activist based in Srinagar, Kashmir URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

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