Thursday, September 13, 2012

Urdu should be taught in primary schools

‘Urdu should be taught in primary schools’
Aziz Ahmad Aziz
Aaati hai Urdu zaban aate aate. Perhaps these lines by renowned poet Daag Dehelvi have inspired Aziz Ahmad Aziz, a retired English teacher from Hapur, Uttar Pradesh. He has made the survival and revival of Urdu the sole mission of his life. By writing letters to newspaper editors, university vice chancellors and parliamentarians, the octogenarian has set up a technical institute, Al Ameen Institute of Technology, to impart computer diplomas in Urdu to young students. The institute is recognised by the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL).
Aziz has also set up a web portal to record the status of the language in the country and to inform readers about the steps that can be taken to spread it.
Aziz believes that Urdu is an everyday language of most of North India and thus needs a proper push. "Contrary to the perception that Urdu has been on the decline, it has thrived. People from all backgrounds speak Urdu. Almost all film songs are written in Urdu. Most of the bureaucratic and legal communication is done in the language. Urdu is actually a classical and colloquial Hindustani language. We all agree on the beauty and finesse of it, then why don't we learn it in schools?" asks Aziz.
He says that while around nine of the northern states recognise Urdu as their official language, the education policy fails to do justice to the language. "Once Urdu was compulsory in primary government schools, but now it's just an optional subject and that too in government schools. Private schools, especially the English-medium ones, shun it completely," says Aziz. In the last few years, Aziz has extensively communicated with successive UP governments to revive Urdu in government curriculum. Perhaps it's because of his efforts that the Akhilesh Yadav government promises to open Urdu primary schools in Muslim-concentrated areas.