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.



Sabaq-e-Urdu: Literary magazine revives Shab-e-Khoon era

It was a pleasant surprise to see Sabaq-e-Urdu, a new literary magazine, hitting the stands. The monthly revives the memories of SR Faruqi’s Shab Khoon.

In fact, when I initially flipped the pages, the printing and fonts gave me a feeling that I was reading Shab Khoon. Editor Danish Allahabadi and his companion Riyaz Ahmad must be congratulated for the publication.

Apart from the usual treat of ghazals and nazms, Mohammad Zakariya Virk’s three exhaustive articles about role of Muslims in Europe’s renaissance, eminent Muslim scientists of yore and 42 historials of Al-Andalus are hallmark of the issue.

Majaz’ nazm Aawara has a universal appeal and Mohammd Salim has put an effort in translation. Though I personally prefer KC Kanda’s ‘What to do O aching heart, What to do O frenzy wild’ for ‘Aye gham-e-dil kya karuuN, aye vahshat-e-dil kyaa karuuN’.

Sabaq-e-Urdu has its head office in Bhadohi in Uttar Pradesh and is printed at Allahabad. Faruqi is the patron of the magazine. The magazine costs a mere Rs 25.

Send a cheque or draft to Sabaq-e-Urdu at Sabaq-e-Urdu, Gopiganj, Bhadohi (UP) 221303. The annual subscription is Rs 250 for twelve issues of the magazine.


Two more Urdu monthly digests stop publication

The closure of two more monthly Urdu digests has not been noticed in mainstream Urdu press, as they were magazines that catered to popular interest.

The two Urdu digests, “Sadha Rang’ and ‘Talash’ ceased publication. Earlier, Chahar Rang, Hazar Rang, Aalami Digest, Aatish-e-Gul and Nikhat-e-Gul disappered from the market due to decline in readership.

Now Huma remains the only digest along with Pakiza Anchal of the same group. Two other women-oriented digests Mashriqi Anchal and Mashiriq Dulhan are still publishing. But the trends suggest that their days are also numbered.

In the 80s, suddenly digests had appeared in the market and due to the collection of international stories that were translated in Urdu, they achieved success. In the past there were Shabistan and Mehrab among other digests.

Critics may not take these magazines and digests seriously but it is Jaraem, Pakiza Anchal, Khtoon-e-Mashriq, Biswin Sadi and similar popular magazines that are the first step of reader towards acquiring the literary taste.

Even literary magazines are gasping for breath. Among the few surviving are Ajkal, Aiwan-e-Urdu, Shair, Insha, Kitabnuma, Naya Daur, Naya Waraq and Zehn-e-Jadid. Though Sahara group’s ventures and the publication of Arindam Chaudhary’s The Sunday Indian in Urdu have brought fresh hopes.

But the sad truth is that unless there is a commercial viability, nobody is going to publish Urdu magazines. The cost of paper is rising and advertisements re hard to get for Urdu periodicals/newspapers. With fewer Indians (read Muslims) familiar with Urdu script and the figures dwindling fast, the future is not at all bright for Urdu publications.


Sadaa-e-Urdu: A literary journal from Bhopal

At the turn of millennium when Urdu publications were gasping for breath in Central India, a literary journal Sadaa-e-Urdu began its publication.

Eminent Urdu litterateur Naeem Kausar needs to be congratulated for the success of his magazine. The fortnightly has successfully completed six years and carved a niche for itself amongst Urdu magazines.

I have the latest issue in my hands. The front page has the lead story about the ongoing controversy surrounding Gyan Chand Jain’s book, Khalid Mahmood’s verse on Shaam-e-Awadh, a rare letter written by Dr Jagannath Azad to Ram Lal, report about the demise of the only person in the country who used to write in Urdu, Persian, English, Sanskrit and Hindi simultaneously.


Inside, the tabloid-size magazine has short stories, articles, a collection of 100 most quotable Urdu couplets, several ghazals and Nazms apart from many other features. It is mainly a literary journal but also focuses on socio-political and movie world. And it is priced at just Rs 8. The subscriber can get 13 issues for just Rs 100.

Naeem Kausar is the son of Renowned Urdu novelist the late Kausar Chandpuri. And he has demonstrated how an Urdu journal can succeed even in this era. Of course, Karwan-e-Adab and Intesab are amongst the other Urdu magazines that are doing well.


The Sunday Indian magazine in Urdu

At last, a national weekly magazine has come out with an Urdu edition. The Planman Media that brings out The Sunday Indian, has launched the Urdu edition of the weekly.


Arindam Chaudhuri is the editor-in-chief of the magazine. The English edition was launched in mid-2006 along with some other language editions. Now the magazine has been launched in another 8 languages. Urdu is one of the languages.

For a long period the need for a national Urdu news magazine was felt. However, apart from Sahara group, no other national media group found Urdu publication, a profitable venture.


Mubahasa: Urdu magazine from Patna

It was a pleasant surprise to see Mobahasa, an Urdu magazine from Patna that is now running into its fourth year.

The 240 page magazine is truly a delight for any connoissuer of Urdu Adab. There are thought provoking articles like Shakilur Rahman’s ‘Ahmad Nadeen Qasmi aur Ghalib’ and Ambar Bahraichi’s ‘Kalidas ke ba’ad Sanskrit ki ishqia shaa’eri’, apart from stories, a special segment of poet Khalid Abadi, poems of Rafat Sarosh, Zaheer Ghazipuri and 20 ghazals of Khursheed Talab.

The Ghazal section also has ghazals of Zafar Gorakhpuri, Krishan Kumar Toor, Alqama Shibli, Abdul Ahad Saaz, Haneef Tareeen, Jaafar Sahni, Tariq Mateen, Khursheed Akbar and many other well known poets. Apart from Zehn-e-Jadid and Naya Waraq, I have seen several other voluminous magazines like Karwan-e-Adab and Intisab (Sironj) but Mobahasa looks different and refreshing.

Wahab Ashrafi is the editor. He is a man of letters and surely the periodical bears his stamp. Humayun Ashraf is Assistant Editor. The subscription is Rs 200 annually from within India, 20, 38 and 43 dollars from UK, USA and Canada respectively. The address is Mobahasa Ashrafi House, Harun Nagar, Sector 2, Patna (Bihar). Mubahisa is a standard magazine and should attain popularity.