Aligarh: The Indian Diaspora Washington DC Metro hosted a comprehensive online conference on “WBU Scholars’ Contribution to Urdu Literature and Criticism: The Role of the English Department.” The talk, coinciding with remarks by Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, was delivered by Professor Mohammad Asim Siddiqui, Chairman of the English Department, AMU.
“Today, as we celebrate Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, the discussion of documenting the history of the Department’s contribution to Urdu literature and criticism becomes highly relevant,” Professor Siddiqui said as he began his in-depth investigation of the literary scene at AMU, particularly at the Department. from English. Aware that there is a whole list of important names who have directly or indirectly contributed to the promotion of Urdu”, he began his discussion by referring to Urdu writers and poets and their works since 1947.
He highlighted how the faculty of the Department of English has been at the forefront of producing poetry, fiction, drama, criticism and Urdu translations into English. He mentioned the work and contribution of Prof. Khawaja Manzoor Hussain, Dr. Salamatullah Khan, Prof. Asloob Ahmad Ansari, Prof. Masoodul Hasan, Prof. Zahida Zaidi, Prof. Maqbool Hasan Khan, Dr. Amin Ashraf, Prof. Mohd Yasin , from the teacher. S. Wiqar Hussain, Prof. Farhatullah Khan, Prof. Shahnaz Hashmi, Prof. Najma Mahmood, Prof. AR Kidwai, Prof. Syed Asim Ali and Prof. Atia Abid.
“There are several factors responsible for the popularity of Urdu translation and review today, including the internet, the change in the nature of English studies, and the availability of large and small publishers willing to publish translations,” said Professor Siddiqui. He also touched on some interesting facts during his speech. So, Faiz Ahmad Faiz sent the first draft of his poem “Ye daghdaghujala ye Shan ghazeedasahr” to Khawaja Manzoor Hussain which he read at many gatherings in Aligarh.
Professor Siddiqui dwelt at length on the contribution of Professor Khwaja Manzoor Hussain, Dr Salamatullah Khan, Professor Asloob Ahmad Ansari and Professor Zahida Zaidi. Khwaja Manzoor Hussain’s fundamental contribution to the translation of Russian playwrights into Urdu and his works on Iqbal and the Urdu ghazals have been particularly singled out by Prof. Siddiqui. “Dr. Salamatullah Khan’s books titled Hemingway, AmrikiAdab ka MukhtasarJayeza and Almiyan aur DoosreMazamina de Majaz are notable for their clean style and rich content,” Prof Siddiqui said. He discussed the vast scholarship of Professor Asloob Ahmad Ansari evidenced in his various books on Ghalib, Iqbal, Urdu romances, Urdu ghazals and his memoirs and sketches. He expressed the opinion that of all the writers and poets produced by the Department, Prof. Zahida Zaidi’s work will have a longer life as his plays will experience an afterlife through their English translations. He discussed the use of the absurd technique in many of his plays. Prof. Siddiqui also addressed Prof. Zaidi’s thematic and stylistic concerns in his plays Bahut Door TakRaatHogi, Sahra e Azam, his novel Inqilab ka ek Din and his various collections of poems, reading his nazms and his definition of poetry.
He also read excerpts and poems from the works of Dr Salamatullah Khan, Professor Masoodul Hasan and Professor Najma Mahmood.
Earlier in the welcome speech, Professor Nazia Hasan, Department of English, AMU said that Aligarh has always been a center and stage of culture and literature.
In his closing remarks, Dr. Masood Ali Beg dwelt on the literary and cultural context of Aligarh. He also talked about the contribution of Prof. Masood Husain Khan, Prof. Khateeb S. Mustafa and Dr. Nadir Ali Khan to Deccani Urdu.
During the lengthy Q&A session, which was attended by over 125 participants, including well-known scholars such as Prof. Emirita Francis Pritchett, Prof. Anisur Rahman, Dr. Syed Amir, Ms. Qamar Rahman, Ms. Hamida and others, many important issues related to Urdu literature have been raised. Professor Imtiaz Hasnain, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, graced the occasion with his presence from start to finish.