Saturday, 12 November 2005
Urdu regains lost glory in Hyderabad
November 12, 2005
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Nov 12: Urdu, the language of poets and nobles, is fast regaining its lost glory in this historic city what with Urdu newspapers taking up the role of educationists and reformists in the Muslim society.
Hyderabad has the distinction of being the largest hub of Urdu newspapers in the Indian sub-continent after the Pakistani port city of Karachi. A new Urdu daily with ultra-modern printing technology is all set to hit the news-stands later this month heralding a new phase in the Urdu newspaper industry of the country.
And all the existing Urdu newspapers in the city have geared up to meet the challenges being thrown in by the new Urdu daily, Etemad, which is coming out with technologically-advanced printing machines and hi-fi editorial team.
Etemad, owned by the family of MIM supremo and former MP Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi, will be the fourth major Urdu daily from the capital city of Andhra Pradesh. The other three main newspapers being Munsif, Siasat and Rehnuma-e-Deccan.
The Owaisi family's offer of generous perks and salaries to Urdu journalists,
calligraphists and computer operators has become the talk of the media circles. Urdu journos who hardly used to get Rs 6000 a month are now being paid a salary of between Rs 15,000 and Rs 20,000. Attracted by the offer, even journalists from north India have applied for posts in the newspaper.
"The combined circulation of Urdu newspapers in Hyderabad is more than that of any city in India. Only Mumbai comes somewhere near Hyderabad in terms of circulation of Urdu dailies. Hyderabad occupies the second slot in the Urdu-speaking world after Karachi," says Syed Fazil Hussain Parvez, who edits the popular Urdu weekly Gawah.
Even while procuring advanced printing technology, Urdu newspaper barons feel that the emergence of another Urdu daily in Hyderabad will not eat into the existing circulation. "The circulation of Siasat has not been affected after Munsif relaunched itself. Hyderabad has more scope for Urdu readership.
Etemad will create its own readership without affecting any of us," says senior journalist and Siasat editor Zahid Ali Khan. Siasat is going to change its design and editorial content in tune with the changing times.
Rehnuma-e-Deccan, the oldest exant Urdu newspaper in Indian sub-continent, is also going in for the latest printing machinery while Munsif is planning to launch a Urdu TV channel. "There is no dearth of Urdu readership in Hyderabad," observes Nasim Arifi, editor of Etemad.
The Urdu newspapers have created their own base of readership through educational programmes. The Abid Ali Khan Educational Foundation set up in memory of Siasat founder has been instrumental in teaching Urdu to about 25000 people every year. The Munsif daily has opened Urdu schools in the city.
"While Urdu is losing ground in the north, it is gaining popularity in Hyderabad. It is mainly due to high standards of journalism and educational activities of Urdu newspapers. Our standards are the best in the world. Even the Urdu Press in Pakistan is no exception," says Syed Vicaruddin, editor of Rehnuma-e-Deccan.
Etemad is going to be the most modern Urdu newspaper in the country both in terms of quality and editorial content, says Nasim Arifi. Though it is being brought out by the Owaisi family, the newspaper will maintain its independent identity. "It is a good trend that Urdu journalists and Urdu journalism have finally got the recognition they deserve. Modernisation of Urdu papers is also a welcome step when Urdu is losing ground elsewhere," Zahid Ali Khan observes.
Siasat is planning to launch a school of journalism for training of Urdu journalists while Munsif proposes to start an edition from Delhi.
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