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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Dear "Books & Authors" …

It's nice to have a magazine like yours (a lot of your stuff is awful but there are some good pieces in it, too!) that 'caters' to a reading public. The size of the public can be assessed by the size of your mag … so it is truly a tribute to DAWN that it hasn't pulled the magazine off.

One expects, however, that the Editor of Books & Authors will ensure that the Urdu often printed in it is ok. Today's Kaatibs know little of that language. Typing the right keys on the keyboard isn't enough. Also, like most of our current teachers in schools, they know poor Urdu and even less of Poetry.
My daughter, Ragni, was told by her KGS Urdu teacher when she and her classmates didn't want to borrow badly printed Urdu books from the library - specially when they were reading interesting and well-designed work in the English books - that they would "need to know Urdu - because how else will you talk to your servants".
Neither do our book publishers! Take a look at the popular Urdu series by OUP here, now used in several schools, and you'll see how bad - even awful - the Poetry section is. Some of it is even put in by the teacher who couldn't find good poems from anywhere — and she can't write poetry to save her life. Other publishers are much worse.

In today's edition of your magazine (Print Version, of course, because the Net Version doesn't show the Urdu parts), Intizar Husain, in his Literary Notes' Poets of their times (what a terrible title … but that's what newspapers do!) wrote about Urdu Poetry.

It is imperative that you should have looked at the quotes and made sure that they were correct. The shayr I am referring to is Mir's (not Mayyar's).

The second misra' has been ruined beyond belief by the kaatib. Imagine those who are new to poetry reading this and using this second misra' in their conversations.

Please, Editor saheb[a], do pay attention in the future. Or let someone who understands Urdu do it for you. It's very important. It's our National Language, just in case you've forgotten.

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Blogger mystic-soul said...

What bothers me now is that Urdu newspapers themselves have detriorated so bad in last 10 years.

"Roman English" should be granted now official status as all TV Dramas/shows Titles are moving away from Urdu 'khat'

12 December, 2011 11:17

Blogger Salman Ansari said...


Fantabulous write up !

I do not know how I ended up here , but ended up reading the whole nine yards !

However, the illustration caught my eye, I think the Shair by Mir is not correct. As far as my memory goes, it reads:

mujh ko shaair na kaho Mir ke sahib hum ne
Dard-o-Gham kitne kiye Jam'aa toh deewan kiya.

its been ages since I read it in urdu rams-ul-Khat, but I still remember that the word JAMA was there .I recited that in many BAIT BAAZI competitions in my school days !

Just a thought !

Salman Ansari

13 December, 2011 23:35

Blogger Zakintosh said...

Yes Salman ... your shayr is right. DAWN published that shayr in its Books & Authors page and I was so upset.

13 December, 2011 23:56

Blogger Asfiya said...

BJ, I share your annoyance. I am not at all an expert on Urdu poetry, but it amazes me how rare it is to come across a correct shayr written in public forums and mass media.

Though Rishad and I rather enjoy the mistakes we come across (it's almost a genre on its own), there is one example that still makes my hair stand on end even after the lapse of two, three years since I came across it. May I share? A friend put this on his facebook profile and he wasn't joking...

Nahin jaanta koi bhi haqeeqat hai kya momin/
Dikhta Qari hai, haqeeqat mein hai Quraan.

It's not even funny, plain distressing I find :-(

15 December, 2011 00:08

Blogger Zakintosh said...

@Asfiya: That is hilarious, Afiya … and tells you a lot about the 'believer', too.

15 December, 2011 04:01

Blogger Asfiya said...

It's painful! Also sounds like Momin's shayr instead of Iqbal's. Mutilation extreme :-D

15 December, 2011 09:00


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