Faux Pas: AP names new Urdu University after Pakistani scholar

HYDERABAD: Andhra Pradesh Assembly and state government today committed a blunder. A bill intended to set up a Urdu University at Kurnool has been adopted today in the Assembly. So far so good. But, the University has been named after a Pakistani poet, Maulvi Abdul Haq. Of course, the ‘grand old man of Urdu’ had Hyderabad connection. He taught Urdu literature at Osmania University,Hyderabad, before Independence.

But the government’s intention was different. A major faux pas.State Human resources development Ganta Srinivasa Rao piloted the bill – Maulvi Abdul Haq Urdu University Bill, 2016 and the house adopted it unanimously.

Maulvi Abdul Haq(1870-1960) was a pakistani poet and linguist,who is regarded as Baba-e- Urdu( grand old man of Urdu). Abdul Haq was the champion of Urdu cause in Pakistan and the demand for it to be made the national language of the Pakistan.

 Born in Happar, UP, and educated in Delhi, the central part of his long productive scholarly career was spent as professor of Urdu at Osmania University, Hyderabad,  a post he combined with secretaryship of the Anjuman-e Taaqqi-e Urdu or Society for the Development of Urdu”, which from its foundation in 1903 was the most prominent organization devoted to the promulgation of the language and its defence against Hindi challenge.

After partition of 1947, during which his library in Delhi was destroyed by rioters , he migrated to Pakistan, where he played an important part in the development of Urdu as the national language of the new state. Abdul Haq is best remembered as the lexicographer and grammarian. His English-Urdu dictionary (1931) was a deliberate attempt to extend the resources of Urdu vocabulary , largely through the coinage of neologisms from Arabic and Persian, to meet the contemporary requirements. It has remained a standard work, and new editions keep being published.

But, the question is not about the great scholarship of former Osmania Professor. The state government wanted to name the Kurnool Urdu University after Dr Abdul Haq, MA, D.Phil (Oxford), an educationist and philanthropist. The inadvertent error had gone unnoticed and the bill was passed . The House also was adjourned sine die.

Few words of about Dr Abdul Haq of Kurnool
(My friend  and columnist K Chandrasekhar Kalkura writes from Kurnool)

During the second decade of the 20th Century, a lad, after completing his SSLC in Urdu Medium, from Municipal High School, Kurnool went to Madras (Chennai) seeking admission in any one of the colleges there. Presidency College was his first ambition. The clerk at the counter, refusing to give an application said: “This is a college meant for the ‘Princes’ and not for ‘Beggars.”

The disappointed youth, Abdul Haque (Born: Feb.21,1901; joined the Mohammadan College, which later came to be known as Govt. Arts College. He pursued his Master’s Degree and Ph. D from England, returned to India and became a member of the teaching faculty of the Presidency College to become its Principal from 1948 to 52. Later he became the Chairman of The Madras Public Service Commission. He met with a premature Death on 15th March, 1958.

In the meanwhile the maturing Educationist, Dr Haque introspected- he had to suffer humiliation because there was no facility for higher education in Kurnool. For the entire four districts of Rayalaseema, Bellary, Ananthapur, Cuddapah and Kurnool (BACK) there was only one College: Government Arts College, Anantapur. Though there was Besant Theosophical College, Madanapalle, till the formation of Andhra State in 1953 Chittoor was not considered part of Rayalaseema. Veerasaiva College, Bellary came into existence only in 1945. Dr Haque prevailed upon the stingy Nizam of Hyderabad, Osman Ali Khan and got a munificent donation of Rs Two Lakhs. Hence Osmania College, the third in Rayalaseema to come into existence in 1947. The Government College, Kadapa was founded in 1948. Osmania College was an Oasis in the desert. Since then the institution has grown in strength and spread its limbs and arms to start six more in Kurnool.

Thousands of its Alumni made a mark in all spheres of activities Viz. political, education, social, industry, trade and commerce, medicine, engineering, academic, literature. Late Chief Minister of A.P. Kotla Vijayabhaskar Reddy, used to proudly say: “Whenever I visit any place in the country or outside the country, invariably I find of at least one product of the Osmania College, or Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool or both.”

A Unani Medical College was set up way back in 1954 in Kurnool and named after Dr Abdul Haq. So, the government wanted to set up a Urdu University for Andhra Pradesh in memory of late Dr Haq, son of the soil.

(This article first appeared in Telugu360)

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