Hyderabad: The 35th edition of the Hyderabad National Book Fair is a treat for the bookworm and an absolute joy for the language aficionado. With more than 300 stalls selling books in different languages, including English and Telugu, one language that is conspicuous by its absence is Urdu.
By the way, Urdu is the second official language of Telangana of which Hyderabad is the capital. If no private bookseller was not coming forward to sell Urdu books the State agency Urdu Academy should have put up one, visitors to the exhibition said.
The Urdu Academy’s website sums up the reason for its existence thus: “Urdu Academy’s functioning, its schemes and projects are meant for the promotion and protection of Urdu language and literature.”
While the Urdu Academy Chairman Khaja Mujeebuddin remained unavailable for comment, those in the know at the Hyderabad National Book Fair confirmed that the Urdu Academy had not set up its stall there. The Exhibitor’s Diary too doesn’t list the Urdu Academy.
Let us compare the attitude of those associated with the Telugu language with those professing love for Urdu. The Telugu Akademi has made serious efforts to set up its unit comprising stalls 102, 103, and 104 reflects a sort of sincerity about preserving and propagating the Telugu language.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the Urdu Academy. Furthermore, the Potti Sriramulu Telugu University too has set up its own stall. If one walks about the sprawling NTR Stadium grounds where the book fair is being organized one will also get to see the Sanskrit Academy at stall 300. There is even a Telugu Islamic publications trust stall.
What is more is that it isn’t only the Telugu Academy that has set up a stall at the Hyderabad National Book Fair. Others such as Nava Telangana publishing house, that has titles in Telugu, too have set up stalls here.
Sources at Book Fair said that over the past four days over 3.5 lakh people have visited the Hyderabad fair. The number is impressive. The Urdu Academy has lost an opportune moment to deliver what it had set out to achieve. That is, two display the rich literature the language has to offer to a large number of people.
The recent Jashn-e-Rekhta in the national capital of Delhi proved that the language is far from dead. And while Urdu aficionados may have some disagreements with this festival, such as the increase in use of devanagari what matters is to speak about the language and continue to keep it in public memory.
Given the fact that the Hyderabad book fair has far seen over 3.5 lakh people buying books, the Urdu Academy forsook a good opportunity and failed to discharge its duty.