Looking back at the evolution of Urdu over a span of eight centuries, popular poet Gulzar on Friday emphasised on the need to revive the script of the language.
The award-winning lyricist, who was speaking at the inaugural session of Jashn-e-Rekhta, said that even though the language “has evolved continuously, it is the Urdu script that needs to be saved”.
“You don’t find 18th or 19th century Urdu anymore, but what we are speaking today, Hindustani, is actually Urdu. It has evolved with time, by absorbing words from other languages. Even in Pakistan, Urdu is influenced by Pashto, Sindhi and Punjabi.
“While Urdu is expanding its reach, I feel the Urdu script is shrinking and losing its place. And we need to support and preserve it now,” he said.
Talking about his love for Urdu, Gulzar noted that it was the only language that was capable of “turning strangers into friends”.
“If a girl says two words in Urdu, you wish you could marry her,” he quipped.
The three-day festival celebrating Urdu, that opened at Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts here, also saw the launch of ‘Aamozish’ by the organisers, who said that the initiative would help people read and write Urdu.
The inaugural evening was also attended by sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, who said that Urdu was “not restricted to a particular religion”.
“Urdu is not restricted to a religion. It is Hindustan’s language. And I pray to God that the entire world should feel its beauty, its romance, and may it flourish more and more,” Khan said.
The session was followed by a sarod recital by Khan’s sons Amaan and Ayaan.
Over the course of three days, the festival which focuses on Urdu poetry and seeks to expand its reach, will see eminent writers, poets, and jurists like Javed Siddiqi, T S Thakur, Irfan Habib, Prasoon Joshi, Annu Kapoor among others, talking on the use of the language in different walks of life.