Friday, December 30, 2016

Delhiites’ Love For Urdu in 2016

By Raza Elahi

“Urdu jise kahte hain tahzeeb ka chashma hai,

Wo shakhs mohazzab hai jisko yeh zabaan aayi”
-- Ravish Siddiqi

To regain some of the lost glory of Urdu, the lovers of the language organized a lot of activities in Delhi in 2016. The city, once a hub of Urdu during the Mughal era, witnessed Jashn-e-Rekhta, Jashn-e-Adab, World Urdu Conference, various saminars, dramas and mushairas (poetry recitation) etc. this year.

The love for the language, kept the audience glued to their seats in all these programmes, featuring some of the country’s most distinguished Urdu litterateurs, poets, critics, journalists, lyricists, ghazal singers, dastangos (story-tellers) and qawwals etc. The most heartening was the attendance of youths in those programmes which showed their liking for this beautiful language.

In the first week of February, National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL) organized three-day World Urdu conference titled, “Two Hundred Years of Urdu Journalism: Past, Present and Future Prospects” at Delhi University. It saw paper presentations from Urdu scholars from India and abroad. Cultural activities, including Mushaira and play Main Urdu Hun, were also be part of the event.

Kamna Prasad, Urdu activist and the founder of the Jashn-e-Bahar Trust, invited a galaxy of Urdu poets like Dr Pirzada Qasim, Amjad Islam Amjad and Abbas Tabish from Pakistan, Farhat Shahzad from USA; Zamin Jafri from Canada and Dr Zubair Farooq from the UAE for annual Jashn-e-Bahar mushaira on a breezy early February evening at DPS, Mathura Road. Famous Indian poets Waseem Barelvi, Popular Meeruthi, Aalok Shrivastav and Farhat Ehsaas also made their presence felt with their meaningful poetry at the event

While Shrivastav said, “Ye sochna galat hai ke tum par nazar nahin; Masroof hum bahut hain, magar be-khabar nahin”, Barelvi recited, “Woh mere chhere tak apni nafratein laya to tha; Maine uske haath chume aur bebas kar diya.”

In its efforts to keep Urdu vibrant among the public, Rekhta Foundation headed by industrialist Sanjiv Saraf, hosted three-day Jashn-e-Rekhta in mid-February. “No other language can match the sweetness and glory of Urdu that I consider to be the language of love, romance, sophistication and culture. Let me concede that Delhi’s tehzeeb (culture) is Urdu tehzeeb,” said Sanjiv Saraf, on the occasion.

In one of the sessions “Yeh Kaisa Ishq Hai Urdu Zabaan Se”, famous lyricist and poet Gulzar said, “Urdu faqiri mein bhi aristocracy ka mazaa deti hai.” He spoke about the nuances of the language and Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb. He recited one of his popular nazms, “Kitaabein", which points to how we seem to have “broken up” with books and how our daily life is slowly losing charm in the wake of digitalisation:

“Jo shaamein unki sohbat mein kata karti thi'n,

Ab aksar guzar jaati hain computer ke pardo'n par...

Kitabein maangne, girne, uthane ke bahaane,

Jo rishte bante the ab unka kya hoga.”

The jashn saw over 100 poets, litterateurs, novelists, journalists, critics, actors, artists and lyricists from India and Pakistan. It included sessions on luminaries of Urdu language like Mirza Ghalib, Sadat Hassan Manto, Kaifi Azmi, Akhtarul Iman etc. Prominent among those participated at the jashn were Gopi Chand Narang, Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi, Gulzar, Shamim Hanafi, Tom Altar, Nandita Das, Imtiyaaz Ali, Anwar Masood and Abbas Tabish. etc.

Plays like Ghalib ke Khatoot, Dara Shikoh, Kaifi aur Main were presented amid huge applause. Students could be seen in huge numbers at the grand mushaira, qawwali, ghazal singing and baitbaazi (verse competition) which were part of the event.

In March, many renowned Urdu poets from India, Pakistan and US like Pirzada Qasim (Karachi), Farhat Shahzad (USA), Javed Akhtar, Waseem Barelvi, Iqbal Ashhar, Dr. Gauhar Raza, Nawaz Deobandi , Dr. Malikzada Manzoor Ahmad and Bekal Utsahi graced the poetic evening at Modern School, Barakhamba Road, for Shankar-Shad Mushaira. Akhtar stole the limelight with his nazm, Ye Khel Kya hai. Ghazal Ka Safar, an evening that enthralled and left the listeners with a greater appreciation and insight into the beautiful but difficult art of the ghazal, was also organized in the same month at India Habitat Centre.

The city witnessed Delhi Urdu Academy's Mushaira-e-Yaum-e-Jamhuriya in February and Drama Festival in November. This year Saeed Alam’s Pierrot's Troupe held many shows like Ghalib and Lal Qila Ka Aakhri Mushaira at different auditoriums in Delhi-NCR for Urdu lovers. Jashn-E-Qalam, a platform that marries the tradition of storytelling with literature, in Mumbai two years ago, showcased Saadat Hasan Manto’s Padhiye Kalma, Rajinder Singh Bedi’s Chechak Ke Daag and some others at south Delhi’s GreenR CafĂ© in July.

Rekhta Foundation held Shaam-e-Sher in November to celebrate romantic poetry and the music of Akhtar Shirani. Danish Iqbal, Salima Raza and Asma presented a theatrical performance where they combined his work with music and anecdotes from his life.

Jashn-e-Adab festival, which was held at India International Centre on December 10-11, saw discussions on the influence of Urdu on Hindi cinema, Urdu and university culture, and the tradition of adab (respect). A mushaira, featuring Javed Akhtar, Farhat Ehsaas, Khushbir Singh Shaad and others, enthralled the audience where Akhtar recited his new composition, Naya Hukumnama.

There were also a recitation of Mirza Ghalib’s poetry by actor Tom Alter, performances by ghazal and sufi singer Kavita Seth and dastagoi by Darain Shahidi at the festival.

In December, Ghalib Institute organised a mushaira and a play Budh Ghalib.

The Urdu world, however, got many shocks in 2016. The year saw the demise of famous poets Nida Fazli, Dr. Malikzada Manzoor Ahmad and Bekal Utsahi.


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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Yeh Hai AAP Ki Dilli

Yeh Hai AAP Ki Dilli
Following heavy rains in the national capital, waterlogging and traffic snarl for hours brought Dilli to a stadstill on most part of Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Second Edition of How to Become A Good Journalist Hits Market

After the overwhelming response to the first edition of How to Become A Good Journalist, Atlantic Publishers has released the second revised and enlarged edition of the book.
The author of the book Raza Elahi, a senior journalist having spent two decades in media industry, has added four new chapters viz, Broadcast Journalism, Digital Age Journalism, Online Journalism and Tips for Writing for the Web. Catering the requirements of young journalists and media students, How to Become A Good Journalist covers all aspects of Print, Online and Broadcast Journalism.

The book discusses the making of a newspaper/magazine by devoting chapters on news selection, news writing, reporting, editing, page-making and headlines etc. Besides discussing art of interviewing, nuances of feature writing and importance of 5Ws and IH of a news copy, Raza Elahi has selected around 200 words/expressions and listed their correct usages. The author has also picked up raw copies of reporters and edited them in the chapter ABC of Editing. The chapter Headline Hunter takes the readers through interesting aspects of headlines. The book also describes the finer points of writing for TV and radio as well as for the Web. Keeping in mind of the latest technological advancement, the writer briefs the readers how social media and digital technology help journalists.

According to Raza Elahi, this book will be immensely helpful to the students in their editing, reporting and writing skills in all the three formats of journalism. It will also refresh the skill-set of those already in the profession. The book is equally beneficial to aspiring journalism and mass communication students. Sanjay Kumar, Editor, MSN India, says the addition of new chapters on broadcast and online journalism has made the book more worthy for freshers. The inclusions of topics on technological components and web journalism will definitely give the readers an added advantage.

P Ramesh Kumar, Assistant Editor, Times of India, describes How to Become A Good Journalist a perfect guide to young journalists, Interns and media students. How to Become A Good Journalist is priced Rs 395 (hard bound) and Rs 250 (paperback) and is available online at,,, as well as at leading bookstores across the country. The book can also be ordered at

KJ Bennychan, Mumbai bureau chief of PTI, says all the important features of journalism, including freelance journalism, have been included to make this book a complete package on the subject. The best aspect is that the book is written in a simple language and cogent style.

Khaja Hashmi, a marcomm professional with GE India involves in training and strategy planning, likes the example-based approach of this book. He finds that How to Become A Good Journalist will also interest general readers as it will help them in effective communication in English language.

Chandra Vardhan, a senior journalist working with DNA, Ahmedabad, says this book is a useful companion to budding journalists as it offers useful tips on journalistic writing, editing, reporting and social media.

The first edition of the book was launched in 2009. It is in the reference books' list of many leading media institutes of the country.

Raza Elahi has worked in various capacities with leading national and international newspapers and media houses like Khaleej Times (Dubai), The Economic Times, The Pioneer, The Financial Express and exchange4media etc.























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Monday, January 4, 2016

2016 Edition of Journalism & Advertising Entrance Exam Guides Launched

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