Tributes pour in for Urdu poet Shuja Khawar

Eminent Urdu poet Shuja Khawar passed away in Delhi. Shujauddin Sajid alias Shuja Khawar was an important name in contemporary Urdu poetry.

A host of programmes were organised to pay tributes to the late poet. In Delhi, many events were held. Urdu Tehzib, Angla Arabic School Old Boys’ Association, Delhi Urdu Club and Maulana Azad Educational & Medical Society held condolence meets.

People recalled how Shuja was among the two Muslim IPS officers (Asad Farooqui was the other) who had been deployed along with other officials to arrest Indira Gandhi during Janata Party rule in 1977.
Shuja, a former IPS officer, had quit service in the midst of his career (in 1994).

Jatinder Parwaz said that Shuja had recited in mushairas along side legends like Firaq Gorakhpuri, who also considered him a gem among poets. “Firaq said that he cherished reciting along with him”, he recalled. Shuja Khawar’s death has left a void in Urdu literature.

Shuja had also flirted with politics briefly. After a paralytic stroke, he had been bedridden for years. However, he had lately regained health and was again attending literary functions. He died suddenly due to heart attack.

Read Shuja Khawar’s couplets and his literary achievements here.


New Urdu magazine hits stand in India

Roshan Shama is the latest Urdu magazine launched in India. The magazine, which is in a digest form, has been priced at Rs 25.

It’s after a long time that a new social [or family] magazine in Urdu has been launched from Delhi. Though news magazines have been launched in recent past, there was no social magazine that could fill the void after Shama, Bano and Biswin Sadi stopped publication.

Shahid Siddiqui, who is known for his weekly Nai Dunia, has begun publishing Roshan Shama. It would be a rival to Pakiza Anchal. The latest issue also has a story on Pathan brothers–Irfan and Yusuf.

The fact that is not a ‘desk story’ and the writer went to the Pathan household, for the interview and a first-hand coverage, is indeed laudable. Otherwise it has become a norm to write desktop reports.

Apart from Shahid Siddiqui’s novel, there are ten short-stories, three short novels and four other long stories that will be published in parts in the coming issues.

In order to engage reader, several columns have been introduced in the digest. Historical novels and stories other than Urdu poetry and religious information fill the rest of the pages.

Unlike Huma, which often publishes Pakistani writers’ stories without even giving credit to Suspense digest and other magazines from across the border, Roshan Shama has most of the content written by Indian writers.


Wrong, misspelt Urdu on Delhi signboards

Delhi is the national capital and dozens of organisations working for the cause of Urdu are present in the City but erroneous spellings and wrongly written Urdu on signboards, hurt every Urdu-knowing person.

Daily Sahafat’s journalists Ali Raza Adeel and Mohammad Ahmad Khan’s report about the disinterest of Urdu Academy and individuals towards rectifying the mistakes, highlights the issue once again. The problem is at different levels.

Lack of interest of citizens and falling standards of Urdu-knowing painters are some of the reasons behind such blunders. Bazaar becomes Bajaar and Muhiuddin becomes Moinuddin. Even worse when the board is near the mazar of Maulana Abdul Kalam Muhiuddin Azad. It’s time that Urdu anjumans and activists join hands and ensure that qualified persons are consulted and after due approval, the signboards are painted.


Ghulam Nabi Azad criticised for oath in English, Urdu speakers upset

Ghulam Nabi Azad

Ghulam Nabi Azad

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad has faced criticism from Urdu speakers for taking oath in English.

Azad, a former Union Minister and an ex-Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, was expected to take the oath in Urdu, the official language of the state which he belongs to.

Besides, Indian Muslims predominantly speak Urdu and are emotionally attached to it. The Urdu Development Organisation (UDO) has condemned Azad’s decision to take oath in English, which is not his mother tongue either.

UDO office-bearer Bahrul Uloom has urged other Muslim leaders who are supposed to take oath during the next cabinet expansion, to express their love for Urdu, which is one of the official languages of India.

Azad was sworn in as a cabinet minister by president Dr Pratibha Patil after the recent Lok Sabha elections gave a decisive victory to Dr Manmohan Singh-led Congress government. In the past, Muslims have generally taken oath in Urdu.

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Urdu Poetry: 200 Ghazals and Nazms

Urdu poetry transcends geographical boundaries and is understood and loved by millions who can’t read a word written in Urdu script. I am happy that my other blog now has a collection of 200 selected ghazals and Nazms, each in Urdu, Hindi and Roman English scripts, for the benefit of readers. Read.

Due to the linguistic politics, Urdu unfortunately got identified as a language of Muslims in India, and the script of the langauge suffered as a result. However, the poetry remained as popular as it was in the past.

When you intend to put the gems of Urdu poetry on the web, you can’t ignore that a vast majority of readers can’t read Urdu script (especially Indians). While Roman script was used for writing Urdu even in Indian Army, it has certain restrictions.

Though devanagari script is quite scientific, it also has some limitations. When I started blogging I aimed at publishing the best of Urdu poetry. I soon learnt that one has to use all the three scripts as most of the readers understand Roman but are not too comfortable with the transliteration.

So I decided to write each ghazal or Nazm in English, Urdu and Hindi scripts. Roman and Hindi supplement each other. For example, if a person can’t understand a word in Roman, he can read it in devanagari and be able to pronounce it clearly.

Of course, those who can read Urdu, will have no problem. But they will also get help in pronounciation of difficult or confusing words by reading the Roman text. The result is that now there are over 200 Ghazals and Nazms which you can read at this website. Click

From classical masters like Mir, Ghalib, Momin, Dard and Dagh to progressive poets and the modernist stream, we have tried to incorporate the best verses of each generation.

Nazms are often neglected but on this site you will get to read poetry of Akhtarul Iman, Faiz, Majaz, Ibn-e-Insha, Sahir, Nida and many others. The number of posts is now well over 200 and it will keep growing.

The beauty of Urdu poetry, especially ghazal, lies in the fact that though it has at least five to six couplets, each couplet can be separately used and quoted. The quotability makes Urdu poetry unique and the ‘sher’ reverberate from pan kiosks to parliament of India.

Click to read Urdu poetry.

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Campaign for Urdu signboards in Mumbai

The campaign to put up signboards in Urdu that has set off in Mumbai. It’s been quite long since we last heard of such a drive from anywhere in India.

The Qaumi Majlis-e-Shoora (QMS) has started the ‘Urdu tehreek’ and nameplates written in Urdu have been put up again. The drive has started from Bhindi Bazaar and will soon spread to other parts of the metropolis and later to state.

The recent incident in which the Urdu nameplate of leader of the Samajwadi Party councillors (corporators) group in BMC was removed by Shiv Sena, seems to have jolted the Urdu-speaking populace.

The fact is that Urdu is one of the official languages of Indian republic and ought to be given its rightful place along with other languages. Over 2.5 million (25 lakh) people speak Urdu in Bombay alone. Organisations in other cities across the country must also take the lead and emulate QMS. Every Urdu-speaker must ensure that at least his nameplate would be in Urdu and the shop will have Urdu signpost.

Noor: A standard Urdu monthly for children

For almost six decades, Noor, has been the leading children’s magazine in the country and has helped keeping Urdu alive among the young ones in India.

The Noor digest is published from Rampur (Uttar Pradesh) and is a must in every household where Urdu is spoken. Along with Umang and Payam-e-Talim, Noor is among the few standard periodicals for kids whose mother tongue is Urdu.

Priced at Rs 18 per month, the annual subscription costs Rs 200, however, if you want it through registered post the charge is Rs 410. For subscription you can contact

In the past, Khilaunda, Toffee and Kaliyan were among the major children’s magazines but now few such magazines remain. And all Urdu lovers must patronise them.

For subscription you can send money order and also write a post card with the details of money order slip to Idara-e-Alhasanat, Old Khandsar, Rampur (UP), 244901.