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Reinventing a short route to Urdu learning

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

"Is zabaan ke bade nakhre hain (This language throws a lot of tantrums)," an Urdu professor tells a class of around 100 students, who have come from various walks of life to learn the language.

After about a month, these students, comprising graduation students, businessmen, lawyers and writers among others, read Saadat Hasan Manto's 'Karaamaat' in Urdu, some fluently and some with hiccups.

The love for the language, as many of them say, brought them to the Sector 15 building of the Rekhta Foundation, which recently organised this one-of-its-kind short-term Urdu learning course.

"This was my first experience of teaching the basic Urdu script and alphabets to adults," Abdur Rasheed, a professor in the Urdu Department of Jamia Milia Islamia here, told PTI.

"I have been teaching literature for a long time and never faced any problem. But much to my surprise, the way things turned out here, I'm amazed," he says.

Misk Khurana, a student at University's Sri Venkateswara College, says she finds Urdu "very affable and charismatic" and that was reason enough for her to learn it.

"The programme was incredibly good and helped me learn a lot about Urdu language. Not only did it help in opening my horizons to a new language but also brush up the lost essence of Hindi in our life.

"The calligraphy and poetry appreciation class made me further comfortable with the language. In one month, the language has opened a whole new world of Urdu language and words aren't enough to tell how grateful and happy I am after learning it," the 18-year-old girl says.

Similar are the sentiments of 35-year-old Prakhar Dixit, a lawyer by profession.

"I have always been attracted towards Urdu through shers, nazms and ghazals. Learning Urdu in that sense comes naturally for better understanding."

Also, as a lawyer, command over multiple languages always comes handy, says Dixit, expressing happiness over having taken "baby steps" in that direction.

Anushakti Singh, 31, who would be accompanied by her five-year-old son during every class, says now she can read many Urdu words which were earlier Greek to her.

"There are many reasons behind my learning Urdu and love for the language tops the chart. I feel it would enrich my vocabulary, my sense of understanding," says Anushakti, a professional writer.

Sixty-one-year-old Rasheed, who has been teaching for over three decades now, says generally people assume that teaching Urdu alphabets, or for that matter letters of any language or script, is easy.

"But it's not," he asserts, emphasising that one needs to be well versed with other languages as well in order to teach a language and its nuances.

However, he is all praises for his pupils for having learnt the 'rasm-ul khat' (script) in around 30 hours and says teaching adults turned out easier in comparison to college students.

Youth, especially college going students, learn things at their own pace, they know they have lots of time at their hands. But here, the people who came were making adjustments with their professional lives and studies. They showed dedication, diligence and above all passion for learning Urdu, he says.

"Honestly, I'm unable to express this in words. They have changed my ordinary teaching into an extraordinary learning," remarks Rasheed, who among others, wields expertise on the legendary 18th century Urdu poet Mir Taqi Mir.

Buoyed by the "overwhelming" response to their "pilot" short-term Urdu leaning programme, Rekhta has launched more such courses and is even planning to introduce advanced courses, including poetry appreciation classes.

"Our new course has started and again there are many applications. There are doctors, engineers, singers, businessmen, lawyers, housewives, who have joined the programme," says Aparna Pande, manager at Rekhta.

In fact, she informs that the non-profit non governmental organisation has got several requests from cities like Lucknow, Patna, Bhopal, Nagpur, Mumbai and counties like Australia, for similar courses there.

The organisation, working for preservation of the Urdu culture, had earlier started an online programme for learning the language called Aamozish.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, July 16 2017. 12:07 IST