Urdu is not the language of Muslims but the language of all India. The language of India’s independence was Urdu and the most secular language is Urdu.
In an important meeting of Jashan Rekhta, there was a discussion on the completion of 200 years of Urdu journalism, in which the editor of Qaumi Awaz Zafar Agha, the editor of New World Shahid Siddiqui and the journalist Nadeem Siddiqui participated. Hasan Shamsi did.
During the meeting, the three speakers highlighted the role of Urdu journalism in India’s freedom struggle. The first Urdu newspaper, ‘Jam Jahan Nama’, which literally means news of the world, was published on 27 March 1822 from Kolkata.
Recalling the history of Urdu journalism, Zafar Agha said that “during this period Urdu newspapers gradually spread all over India and the number of readers of Urdu was much higher than that of Hindi newspapers of those days.” Urdu journalism started during the era of Ghalib, Bahadur Shah Zafar and Mir Taqi Mir. This period was very difficult because the journalists of that period were writing against the British.
The speakers said that till the independence of India, there was a lot of progress in Urdu journalism. Professor Murnal Chatterjee of IIMC i.e. Indian Institute of Mass Communication has written on the completion of two hundred years of Urdu journalism that at the time of partition, 415 Urdu newspapers were published in India, including all daily, weekly, fortnightly and Monthly magazines were included. After partition, 345 of them remained in India while 70 newspaper owners migrated to Pakistan. According to the RNI report of 1957, there were 513 Urdu newspapers in India with a combined circulation of 7.48 lakh. Fifty years later the number of Urdu dailies alone in India was 3168 and the combined circulation of all Urdu newspapers was 1.7 crore as per RNI 2007 report.
Speakers said that for those who could read and write Urdu before independence, these Urdu newspapers became a source of information about the happenings in India. Zafar Agha said, “Urdu journalism has the quality of resistance and standing for justice. This has become a habit of Urdu journalists and it is still the same today.
Journalist Nadeem Siddiqui, talking about the state of Urdu language and Urdu journalism in states like Maharashtra, said that many words in Marathi language are derived from Urdu, Persian and Arabic languages and are also used in political words. He said that ‘ “Many Urdu newspapers like Inqlab, Urdu Times and Hindustan etc. are being published but hardly any of them are making an impact.”
On this occasion, Shahid Siddiqui said that to understand India’s freedom struggle, one needs to read the letters and writings of leaders like Bhagat Singh and Lala Rajpat Rai, who wrote mostly in Urdu.
Therefore, Urdu is not the language of Muslims, but the language of the whole of India. Urdu was the language of India’s independence, Urdu was the most secular language and stories of rich and poor people came out through Urdu journalism.