Focusing on Urdu
September 26 2017 02:12 AM
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Faisal Hanif was elected the chairman of Bazm-e-Urdu Qatar in 2009.

By Mudassir Raja

“The future of Urdu as a daily use language does not seem bright overall. Urdu speaking families do not encourage their children to speak the language at homes as they are getting more and more attracted towards English. Efforts are necessary to keep the language alive” 
– BUQ Chairman Faisal Hanif
By Mudassir Raja

Bazm-e-Urdu Qatar (BUQ) has been actively trying to keep the Urdu language alive and promote literature among expatriate communities in the country since its inception in 1959. It was founded to provide a platform to talented upcoming poets in Qatar and prominent poets from India and Pakistan.
“Our mission is to keep Urdu alive among expatriates through different literary activities that BUQ arranges in Qatar regularly. The events provide a sort of relief to the expatriates as they are busy in their professional life in Qatar,” BUQ Chairman Faisal Hanif tells Community.
“The future of Urdu as a daily use language does not seem bright overall. Urdu speaking families do not encourage their children to speak the language at homes as they are getting more and more attracted towards English. Efforts are necessary to keep the language alive as it is a very beautiful language with rich literary traditions,” says Hanif.
“Urdu speaking expatriates should bring their children to different events organised by BUQ to be introduced to the language. I take my children to mushaira gatherings arranged by BUQ, often against their will. More and more expatriate families from Pakistan and India tend to speak English with their children at homes and they get education in English at schools in Qatar,” Hanif, who hails from Pakistan and was brought up and educated in Qatar, says. 
Hanif, a finance and banking expert, sees Urdu as the third most widely understood and spoken language in Qatar. “After Arabic and English, Urdu, if Hindi also bracketed with Urdu, is spoken and understood by majority of expatriates from India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh. Most of Hindi speaking expatriates may not know Urdu but they understand the language and converse in it,” says the chairman who has been associated with BUQ since the late 1990s. He was selected its chairman in 2009.
“Initiated in 1959, BUQ aims at encouraging new Urdu expatriate poets and introducing them with prominent men of letters from India and Pakistan. A good number of people attend our mushaira events that are a regular feature of BUQ. The BUQ also provides training and guidelines to budding Urdu poets as they start part time in Qatar alongside their professional career. Many expatriate poets may have good imaginations for poetry but they do not follow the right diction,” says Hanif who got acquaintances with Urdu literature in Germany, where he spent time as a student.
Hanif adds, “I founded a small group Guzargah-e-Khiyal (Road of Imagination) under the auspices of BUQ in 2014. Under this group, an event titled Ghalib Symposium is organised every month. When I started the programme, my aim was to introduce Urdu speaking expatriates with Mirza Ghalib, a famous Urdu poet from India, in general and to new upcoming poets in particular. The symposium is now a regular feature of BUQ since 2014.”
An Urdu essayist and literary critic himself, Hanif goes on to say, “I have formed another small group titled Iqbal Academy Middle East in Qatar. Urdu speaking expatriate must also have the knowhow of Dr Iqbal, another poet and philosopher.”
Speaking about the history of BUQ, Hanif says that no one knows the man who started the Bazm. “We however have a very old member of BUQ who confirms that it was started in 1959 and has been active since then. In mid 90s, members developed some difference and another organisation was created. The new organisation is also busy in promoting Urdu but BUQ remains in the limelight.”
The chairman further notes, “All members with the BUQ are volunteers. They are expatriates working in different fields but also give time to literary activities under BUQ. Qatar has always provided a conducive environment to the BUQ to arrange literary events freely and independently.”




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