Saturday, 20 December 2008

Hearst Castle: Guided Tour in Urdu

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: Those visiting the world famous showplace, Hearst Castle, in California will now have a "guided tour" in Urdu.
A Hyderabadi tax consultant settled in Canada has prepared in Urdu the tour guide of the 2.5 lakh acre sprawling historic house museum in the USA. So far, people visiting the museum had the option of learning about its history, artefacts and facilities in different languages except Urdu. Noticing this, city-born Muhammad Shahid Siddiqui, a public accountant in Ottawa, Canada, volunteered to publish a guide of the Hearst Castle in Urdu.
"I found pamphlets, brochures and tour guides in different languages. Though Urdu is spoken and understood by a large section of people, the museum did not have any material in the language. I produced a Urdu copy from the English version," Siddiqui told this correspondent.
The museum management was so pleased by the gesture of Siddiqui that it had promised a free visit to the museum by anyone who gives his reference. The entry ticket of the Castle is 50 US dollars and the management will not charge any fee if the visitor gives Siddiqui's reference.
Siddiqui, who obtained doctorate degrees from Chelsea University, London, and Ansted University of Malaysia, said the Castle management put into circulation his Urdu guide only after a thorough scrutiny of its contents. The material was sent to Urdu department in University of Berkeley for evaluation and only after getting a nod from the University, the Urdu guide was included in the Castle's library and information centre.
Hearst Castle, a Western version of Hyderabad's Salarjung Museum, is one of the largest historic house museums in the world with one of the most sophisticated guided tour programs. It takes about nine hours for a comple guided visit of the Castle.

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