Urdu teachers hardly get time to promote their mother tongue — Hamid Iqbal Siddiqui on Mother Language Day

Eminent poet, writer, Journalist and well known personality of Urdu literature Hamid Iqbal Siddiqui expressed himself wholeheartedly about the promotion and survival of Urdu on the occasion of “International Mother Language Day” (21st February) in a freewheeling chat with Imran Inamdar for TheShahab.com.

Hamid Iqbal feels that Urdu teachers today hardly get time to promote Urdu because of their busy schedules and somewhat the system is also responsible which doesn’t generate much opportunity to showcase their natural talent.

According to Hamid, TV serials and movies are slowly taking us away from our culture and forcing us to embrace western culture.

Here are the excerpts:

Imran: What is the importance of mother tongue in one’s life?

Hamid Iqbal: Mother plays key role in child’s life, She is the closest person when a child start grasping things happening around him or her. Mother’s language, tone and day to day communication orientate the child and leaves long lasting effects on a baby.

Imran: Which role mother tongue plays in shaping our educational career?

Hamid Iqbal: Education in mother tongue always has positive effect on a child, it makes them think and act in a natural way. I strongly recommend primary education through mother tongue always. It helps a child to find the right track and excel in academics.

Imran: Urdu being mother tongue for most of the Indian Muslim, why still struggling in India?

Hamid Iqbal: Not just Urdu, all the regional languages like Marathi, Telugu, Malayalam, and Guajarati are also struggling. Western culture and its influence are solely responsible for this decline. Movies, TV serials are also damaging our rich culture. Because of this influence, today parents are feeling proud admitting their kids in Islamic English schools or International schools. Now it’s high time that Urdu schools should pay heed towards good English communication skills as well as regional languages for their existence and to meet the upcoming challenges.

Imran: How can we promote our mother tongue (Urdu)?

Hamid Iqbal: Medium of instruction in mother tongue is a must for overall development of a child. Admitting children in Urdu primary schools are favourable for both (children and the language). At least those children who are studying in English medium schools should take classes to learn Urdu. Nowadays non-Muslims are keen to learn Urdu and they love the language, it is our responsibility to introduce them to this beautiful language, invite them in Urdu programs and also arrange workshops for them.

Imran: What role teachers can play in promotion of Urdu?

Hamid Iqbal: It is really a tough question. I find Urdu teachers busy in their academics only, they hardly get time to orientate or groom the personality of their students. In fact our whole education system is responsible which creates hurdles and doesn’t give much opportunity to young and energetic teachers to enhance the overall qualities of a student.

Imran: How far activities like Mushaira (poetic symposium), seminars etc. are helpful for Urdu?

Hamid Iqbal: I don’t think activities like Mushairas or seminars are really serving any purpose to Urdu. It has become stage showcasing and entertainment these days. These kinds of activities do not promote any language.

(59 year old Mumbai Resident Hamid Iqbal Siddiqui is the grandson of eminent Urdu poet Seemab Akbarabadi. At present, he is holding the post of co-editor of monthly Urdu literary magazine ‘Shayar’ which is being read globally. Hamid has won several awards for his outstanding contribution in field of literature and Education. ‘Quiz Time’ Mumbai is also brain child of Hamid Iqbal which is doing a marvelous job in creating awareness about the General Knowledge among school children. Quiz Time has successfully conducted more than 260 Quiz competitions in various schools of Maharashtra. )

One language disappears on an average every two weeks, taking with it an entire cultural and intellectual heritage, says UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation). Keeping this in mind, the UN agency introduced International Mother Language Day in 1999, a world-wide annual observance held on February 21 to promote awareness among the masses.