Tag Archives: Urdu

7th international moot: Launch of Yousufi’s fifth book marks the start of Urdu conference



KARACHI: 

The fans of Mushtaq Ahmed Yousufi have been savouring his four celebrated books for the past 24 years, enjoying every page and taking delight in each sentence. The iconic nonagenarian humour writer has now come up with a fifth book to add to ‘Ahd-e-Yousufi’ [the Yousufi era].

The launch of his book, Shaame-e-Shair-eYaaran, was the bang that started the seventh International Urdu Conference on Thursday evening. The ceremonial launch of the author’s book will help remember the conference in Urdu literary history for hosting the one-of-a-kind event of Ahd-e-Yousufi that stretches back 53 years when the author published his first book ‘Charagh Talay’ in 1961.

For the first time in his life, Yousufi, who is now 96 years old, had allowed to hold a launch ceremony for any of his works, which also include Khakam Badahan (1969), Zarguzasht (1976) and Aab-e-Gum (1990). Expectedly, the lawns of the Arts Council of Pakistan were jam-packed with his exuberant admirers who gave a standing ovation as the ceremony, presided over by poet Zehra Nigah, started.

The writer, who, in Nigah’s words, makes his readers’ eyes twinkle and their faces glow when they go through his writings, sat silent owing to his ill-health at the ceremony, save his eyes that spoke of immense gratification for all the love and respect that he received. “Neither Yousufi sahib, nor any of his books will ever get old,” she said. “They are timeless because they will continue to make their readers feel happy.”

Nigah’s brother, celebrated satirist Anwar Maqsood, commented in his peculiar way that every person who knows Yousufi is fortunate than the author himself. “Mushtaq Ahmad Yousufi is living in the era of Pakistan Muslims League-Nawaz but we are living in the era of Yousufi.”

While writing, asserted Nigah, the humorist had to be watchful not to criss-cross the fine line between quality humour and jesting, and Yousufi had always been cautious about his craftsmanship and diction.

Poet Iftikhar Arif said he has never come across a writer so meticulous about the usage and application of words as Yousufi. “His works are not only the epitome of Urdu literary humour, but his books are the representation of Urdu literature’s optimum that a very few writers have produced.”

Talking about Yousufi’s fifth work, poet Fatima Hassan said that the book offers a glimpse into the writer’s childhood, which had never been discussed in his writings before. “Though people consider ‘Zarguzasht’ as Yousufi’s biography but it holds his memoirs of the time when he was embarking on his career as a banker.” The book, she added, was a selection of 21 unpublished essays that the writer had penned down at various stages in his life.

What took the book-launch ceremony to a fitting conclusion was Zia Mohyeddin impeccable recital of one of the Yousufi’s essays on how the Urdu theatre was being managed by the Parsis in Pakistan post-Partition. The unification of Yousufi’s prose with recital maestro’s voice had compelled the audience to burst out in feral laughter.

Conference begins

Earlier on Thursday, the seventh International Urdu Conference kicked off at the Arts Council of Pakistan, with a session presided over by celebrated writer Intizar Hussain. Literary luminaries from Pakistan, India and other countries are spending the next few days discussing the state of Urdu language in the contemporary world.

“There is no line of control between the relations knitted together with art and literature,” said Dr Huma Mir, referring to the diverse scholars on stage.

The conference has become a point of reference for Urdu language and literature over the past seven years, pointed out Prof Dr Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui, poet and Ziauddin University vice-chancellor.

“The international pop culture has forced the society to forsake its priorities to the point that art, literature and language have lost the significance in our everyday lives,” he said. “If this trend continues, we would see a rapid decline in intellectual pursuits. Our writers and thinkers need to guard the society from this ongoing change.” Dr Qazi Afzaal Hussain, professor of Urdu at the Aligarh University in India, said that the situation in terms of good quality writers was even less encouraging in India as compared to Pakistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 18th, 2014.


Urdu short stories: Impact of social media discussed



A two-day workshop on “Impact of Social Media on Urdu Short Story” commenced on Monday at the International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) where experts discussed the historical background of Urdu short stories, writing techniques, themes and impact of social media on the language.

The workshop is being jointly organised by IIUI’s Department of Urdu (Female) and University of Erfurt, Germany. On the first day, speakers including Mrs Bushra Malik from Erfurt university, IIUI Urdu Department Head Najiba Arif, Dr Sanahat Mushtaq, Dr Humaira Ashfaq, Summaya Shad and Shadab delivered lectures on various topics.

“Social media can be a source of meaningful change in society as it is the most vital way to disseminate voices for any objective” said Malik, who teaches Urdu in Germany and also heads the Young Women Writers Forum of Pakistan. She further said that societies which face dissociation from literature ultimately lose their social values. She also discussed the Egyptian revolution, role of social media in the Scotland referendum and its role in women empowerment. She stressed upon participants to deeply study classical literature in Urdu, saying it would be helpful for young writers to bring constructive literature in front of society.

Earlier, Arif apprised participants regarding the aims of the workshop, saying it would be a great opportunity for creative students to broaden their exposure.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 14th, 2014.


Alleged embezzlement: FIA summons Urdu university staffers for quizzing



ISLAMABAD: Two of the five suspended Federal Urdu University of Arts, Sciences and Technology (FUUAST) Islamabad campus staffers accused of involvement in a Rs150 million embezzlement scam have been summoned by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

The FIA has summoned the deputy registrar of the varsity and the VC’s personal secretary on Wednesday. In August, the VC, who sits in the Karachi campus, forwarded the names and details of the accusers to the FIA for in-depth investigation and to fend off the accusations of taking sides and attempting to influence the probe.

Meanwhile, protests on campus by a group of employees against vice-chancellor Dr Zafar Iqbal over the “illegal” suspension of their colleagues continued.

The protesting staffers are of the view that the VC has “suspended innocent people” to avoid naming the actual embezzlers.

Protests at the Islamabad campus have been running for over a month-and-a-half from 9am to 1pm every day. The protests include boycott of official work, which is taking a toll on the whole varsity, with students bearing the brunt of the pain.

Other issues for the protesters include the alleged mismanagement and corruption of the VC, a lull in construction work at the Islamabad campus, and non-provision of medical facilities to employees.

Amid sloganeering, speakers said instead of taking notice of the mismanagement, the VC dismissed three employees and stopped salaries for several others.

They also claim the VC regularised 19 FUUAST Karachi campus employees, something they have been demanding for the Islamabad campus, but to no avail.

They also requested that the President of Pakistan, who is also the university’s chancellor, and the Higher Education Commission chairman take notice of the issue as no action has been taken against anyone in the last few months.

When President Mamnoon Hussain took action and established a committee to probe the issue, the VC approached the Sindh High Court, arguing that the body was illegal, and got a stay order.

Since reports emerged of a Rs150 million scam at the university’s Islamabad campus, the top management has spent much of its time passing the buck to other employees.

The money was allegedly transferred from a university account to a private one and then ‘invested’ in some private businesses, all of which purportedly occurred without the knowledge of the top management.

According to university sources, after learning of the illegal account, the VC set up an inquiry committee headed by newly-appointed campus in charge Lt Gen (retired) Shahid Aziz.

Five university employees involved in opening the bank account were suspended based on the inquiry report. But the VC later reconstituted the committee by removing Aziz for unspecified reasons.

The deputy registrar said they had just received the FIA letter to appear before a probe body and nothing was mentioned about the meeting agenda.

Campus In-charge Abdur Razzaq Memon told The Express Tribune that the protesters thought there was nothing to the corruption allegations but the summonses from the FIA proved that some fishy business did take place. “Let the committee decide and end this saga,” he remarked.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 1st, 2014.

 


Alleged corruption: Urdu varsity staffers continue protest against VC



ISLAMABAD: 

Federal Urdu University of Arts, Sciences and Technology (FUUAST) Islamabad campus staff continued their protest against Vice-Chancellor Dr Zafar Iqbal for his alleged involvement in a Rs150 million embezzlement scam.

The employees are protesting for the last month against the alleged mismanagement and “corruption of the VC” and non-provision of medical facilities to employees.

Amid slogan-shouting, speakers claimed that instead of taking notice of the mismanagement, the VC has dismissed three employees and stopped salaries of several others.

To add insult to injury, they claim, the VC regularised 19 employees of the FUUAST Karachi campus. They demanded that employees of the Islamabad campus also be regularised.

Since reports emerged of a Rs150 million scam at the Islamabad campus, the top management has been passing the buck.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 19th, 2014.


In Urdu: NBF publishes Bulleh Shah’s work



ISLAMABAD: 

The National Book Foundation (NBF) has published in Urdu the famous book “Bulleh Shah” for book lovers, said NBF Director Majeed Malik.

The translation has been done by renowned scholar Dr Amjad Ali Bhatti. Talking to APP, Malik said the translator has a vast and remarkable experience in performing the uphill task of translating the legendary poet, Baba Bulleh Shah’s work in Punjabi.

NBF has also embarked upon translation of books in regional languages into English. In this connection, the famous book, Bulleh Shah, a collection of selective poetry has been published with translation in Urdu.

The book consists of 168 pages and is priced at Rs120. It is a mission of NBF to provide rare, quality and important books to the readers at very cheap prices, he added. Malik said this was achieved by the sole effort of Dr Amjad Bhatti who worked on the translation of 65 selected Kafian and 20 Dohraas in Urdu.

The layout has been designed by Mansoor Ahmad, informed Malik.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 11th, 2014.


Rs150m scam: Urdu varsity staff continues protest against VC



ISLAMABAD: 

The employees of the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Sciences and Technology (FUUAST) Islamabad campus continued their protest against vice-chancellor Dr Zafar Iqbal in connection with his alleged involvement in a Rs150 million embezzlement scam.

The employees protested against the alleged mismanagement and corruption of the VC as well as the lull over the construction of the Islamabad campus and non-provision of medical facilities to the employees.

Amid slogan-shouting, speakers claimed that instead of taking notice of the mismanagement, the VC has dismissed three employees and stopped salaries of several others.

To add insult to injury, they claim, the VC regularised 19 employees of the FUUAST Karachi campus.

The employees said such ‘administrative actions’ by the varsity head would not be tolerated and demanded that employees of the Islamabad campus also be regularised.

They also requested the President of Pakistan, who is also the university’s chancellor, and chairman of the Higher Education Commission to take notice of the issue as no action has been taken against anyone for the last few months.

Since reports emerged of a Rs150 million scam at the university’s Islamabad campus, the top management has spent much of its time passing the buck.

The money was allegedly transferred from a university account to a private account and then ‘invested’ in some private businesses, all of which purportedly occurred without the knowledge of the top management.

Five university employees involved in opening the bank account were suspended following an inquiry report.

According to university sources, after learning of the illegal account, the VC set up an inquiry committee headed by newly-appointed campus in charge Lt Gen (retired) Shahid Aziz.

The committee found the VC’s Personal Secretary Abdul Rashid Bangash, accountant Hammad Kayani, audit officer Rana Asif, deputy registrar Shah Muhammad and another official involved in opening the new account.

The five were suspended immediately but the VC later reconstituted the committee by removing Aziz for unspecified reasons.

Sources at the university said Aziz was investigating the issue thoroughly and
that the names of senior officials from the university’s Karachi campus had also popped up during the investigation.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 9th, 2014.


In and out: Urdu varsity sees sixth campus chief in one year



ISLAMABAD: 

Uncertainty looms over the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology (FUUAST) Islamabad as since August last year, campus heads have either been changed or transferred six times.

This was done as the heads were “not in the good books of [the] top management”, revealed a senior professor at the university.

The latest episode of sending the campus in-charge packing started when the illegal transfer of Rs150 million was reported, allegedly by four university employees.

The initial investigation carried out by the recently removed in-charge campus, Lt Gen (retired) Shahid Aziz, revealed that the said amount from the university’s funds had been deposited from an authorised account in the same bank to an illegal account on July 23, 2013 through collusion of some of the Karachi campus officials.

When the matter was brought to the knowledge of the university’s vice-chancellor Dr Zafar Iqbal, he formed a five-member committee, headed by the varsity’s Dean of Engineering Dr Abdul Razzaq Memon, to investigate the matter.

Aziz, who had started the investigation, was then sidelined.

Sources privy to the investigation stated that Aziz’s investigation was pointing towards top officials in Karachi but Memon was appointed to hush up the names of prime suspects.

Later, Aziz was forced to leave and last week Memon was handed over acting charge of head of the campus for the third time during one year.

The then campus in-charge Dr Zahid Saleem was removed from his office in August 2013 after the arrival of new VC Zafar Iqbal. Memon was handed over acting charge for two months after which Dr Waheedul Zaman took charge that lasted for one month. After that, Memon was again brought back at the top post.

Aziz came to head the Islamabad campus but the money transfer scam and pressure from the top management forced him to leave and now Memon is heading the university for the third time.

The VC’s personal secretary Abdul Rashid Bangash, varsity accountant Hammad Kayani, audit officer Rana Asif, deputy registrar Shah Muhammad and another official were found involved in opening the new account and were suspended.

Talks with several teachers and other staff revealed that the accused did open the account but were made scapegoats on the orders of the top management.

Following the suspension of the accused, a month-long protest was staged inside the varsity building against the current vice-chancellor, Iqbal, and other staff for alleged corruption and wrongdoings.

All this mayhem has had an adverse impact on the academic activities in the university and students.

The students in their final years who have to present their projects to supervisors and complete their theses are badly affected. Since July, the protest has brought every matter to a standstill.

Memon told The Express Tribune that the change of in-charge campus was unfortunate but they were trying to address the issues which surfaced due to politics and groupings. “Since the case of corruption against the employees is with the Federal Investigation Agency, we have to wait for the final report,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 22nd, 2014.


Embezzlement imbroglio: Urdu varsity campus head seeks chancellor’s help



ISLAMABAD: 

A Rs150 million embezzlement scam at the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Sciences and Technology (FUUAST) Islamabad campus continues to plague the campus. Now, the campus in-charge has approached the university chancellor — the President of Pakistan — through a letter requesting that action be taken against the vice chancellor and treasurer over their alleged roles in the scam.

The money was allegedly transferred from a university account to a private one and then ‘invested’ in some private businesses, all of which purportedly happened under the noses of top management.

After learning of the illegal account, Karachi campus-based VC Dr Zafar Iqbal set up an inquiry committee headed by newly-appointed campus in charge Lt Gen (retd) Shahid Aziz.

Four university employees involved in opening the bank account were suspended following the inquiry report.

The committee found that Personal Secretary to the Vice-Chancellor Abdul Rashid Bangash, Accountant Hammad Kayani, Audit Officer Rana Asif, Deputy Registrar Shah Muhammad and another official were involved in opening the new account.

But later, the VC separated Aziz from the inquiry and formed another body.

Now, Aziz has written a letter to President Mamnoon Hussain to bring “corruption and malpractice being perpetrated by the university’s senior leadership” to his attention.

In the letter sent to the president, Dr Iqbal is accused of aiding in the illegal activity and later attempting to help cover it up.

“When the scope of the inquiry was broadened by the convener, the VC tried to administratively squeeze him into resigning from his post,” a brief to the president read.

On Monday, sources said that Aziz seemed ready to give in to pressure from top management to resign and quit the office, but other staffers urged him to stay till the saga is resolved.

“When the VC has rid of all my administrative powers, there is no use sitting here,” Aziz told The Express Tribune.

Meanwhile, over a hundred varsity teachers and other staffers continued protesting against the suspension of the four officials, claiming it was an attempt to make lower staff scapegoats. “Down with the VC and his aides” and “no more corrupt management” were among the slogans being chanted.

The top management has transferred three of the ‘active’ officials — deputy controller examination, assistant registrar and the personal assistant to the VC — to the Karachi Campus to fend off backlash from employees.

Fearing further ‘punitive’ action from top management, capital campus employees have obtained a stay order from the Islamabad High Court. The Deputy registrar said that till September 6, nobody can be transferred or suspended by the Karachi campus management.

A two-hour meeting was also held at Karachi Campus on Tuesday, but details were not provided by the VC’s office when contacted.

As for students, uncertainty continues to grow. “I am here for my project completion but the protest has halted every activity at the campus,” said Fawad Hussain, an Information Technology student.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th,2014.


Financial fraud: Responsible officials pass the buck at federal Urdu university



ISLAMABAD: 

Since reports emerged of a Rs150 million scam at the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Sciences and Technology (FUUAST) Islamabad campus, top management has spent much of its time passing the buck.

The money was allegedly transferred from a university account to a private account and then ‘invested’ in some private businesses, all of which purportedly happened without coming to the attention of top management.

Five university employees involved in opening the bank account were suspended following an inquiry report.

According to university sources, after learning of the illegal account, VC Dr Zafar Iqbal set up an inquiry committee headed by newly-appointed campus in charge Lt Gen (retired) Shahid Aziz.

The committee found Personal Secretary to the Vice-Chancellor Abdul Rashid Bangash, Accountant Hammad Kayani, Audit Officer Rana Asif, Deputy Registrar Shah Muhammad and another official were involved in opening the new account.

The five employees were suspended immediately, but the VC later reconstituted the committee by removing Aziz for unspecified reasons.

Sources at the university said that Aziz was investigating the issue thoroughly and that the names of senior officials from the university’s Karachi campus had also popped up during the investigation.

University officials requesting anonymity said that senior officials in Karachi did not want names from that campus to be revealed, so another five-member body was constituted headed by Faculty of Engineering Dean Dr Abdul Razzaq Memon. The other members of the new committee include Dr Masood Mashkoor, Dr Mehmood Khan, Dr Nazeer Ahmed and Syed Ibne Ali Jafri.

Money in, money out

The scam surfaced after a university official attempted to shift Rs10 million and was unable to provide bank officials with proof of authorisation.

Under Accountant General of Pakistan Revenue rules, opening a separate account without government authorisation is illegal.

On Tuesday, some university officials started protest against the administration for suspending their colleagues, claiming they were “innocent and just obeying orders of the higher-ups.”

Last week, the branch manager was also summoned by the Gen Aziz-led committee. He denied any role in the transfer of the amount.

A senior teacher at the campus claimed the suspended officials were just used as pawns and the real culprits should be arrested. “High-ups are getting away with the scandal because they verbally ordered the accused officials to open the account and there were no written instructions,” the teacher said.

Another official said that efforts were being made to remove the campus in-charge as he was the one who brought the issue to notice and a further probe could land senior officials in hot water.

The university spokesperson said he was not authorised to comment on the issue, while other senior university officials could not be reached despite several attempts.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2014.


For Urdu …press 1



Most denizens of the blighted city of Karachi have heard these few terse words at some time or the other, when contacting PTCL, Worldcall, Sui Gas, K-Electric and at least another 30 organisations that have discovered the benefits of employing a telephone answering service. I have been told that around 94.6 per cent of the population of Karachi now speaks a language which used to be known as Urdu, but which, in the fullness of time, has spawned another lingo referred to in certain circles as Engdu (or Urlish) which, after systematic and perpetual use, has now overtaken the original language. So when a caller discovers he has had no electricity for 14 hours, or that his landline is dead and he can’t use the internet, or he hasn’t had any water in the pipeline for a fortnight, he presses 1. In case you belong to the tribe that watches only cricket and football and the Turkish sitcoms on the telly, here is an example of Engdu in a talk show on a local TV channel distinguished for hosting discussions where participants don’t converse but scream and shout at one another … at the same … in the belief they are increasing the ratings of the channel. Moderator: Acha Siddiqui sahib, yeh criticism jo Qureshi Saheb nay farmaya against paragraph four of the recent amendments in the local government ordinance, jo recently launch huwa hai, us key baray main aap kuch kehna chahte hain?

There are, of course, notable exceptions to the finger-pressing exercise. In some organisations, such as the three five-star hospitals, the four five-star hotels, the three gentlemen’s clubs and certain banks and newspapers, English has been kicked upstairs as if it was the Senate. And you are asked to press 1. It doesn’t always stop there because, if you are lucky and don’t get an engaged signal and don’t have to listen to a lot of sales crap about how good they are and how many products that they have to offer, you still have to press three or four more buttons before finally getting through. Though I am equally at home in both languages, I invariably press the button for English, whether 1 or 2. This is because the operator often has a problem understanding my Urdu which somebody once described as the lingo used by the Rampur taxi driver. I don’t know if this was meant as a compliment or was just an observation. What I do know is that I still speak the Urdu I learned as a child in Bhopal from our neighbour who was a settler from Allahabad. I still refer to a door as a darwaza and not as a gate and a gate as a phatak and not as a gate. Sugar will always be shakkar and not chini. And a chapatti will remain a phulka.

All this reminds me of the remark allegedly made by another citizen of Allahabad, albeit a more illustrious one, who had a tryst with destiny. One morning shortly after the Partition, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru came to Delhi airport, to see off the two sons of his friend Sir Ross Masood, who were flying to Karachi. Addressing the young men he said, “Pakistan to ja rahai ho, magar Urdu mut bhoolna”. (You are traveling to Pakistan, but don’t forget Urdu). Nehru was bilingual and apparently couldn’t converse in Hindi. I wonder what his reaction would have been had he known that one day the stars of the Bombay Talkies would be speaking a new hybrid of the Indo-Aryan group of languages known as Hindlish. Your guess will be as good as mine.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2014.

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