gives fillip to Urdu, starting Online Citizen Journalism

By Pervez Bari,

Bhopal: The dying Urdu language in Bhopal, which was once home to its chaste version, got a fillip when the British Broadcasting Corporation’s, (BBC’s) award-winning website launched its Online Citizen Journalism initiative here.

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To promote this initiative, the BBC team is touring Lucknow, Bhopal and Hyderabad. The first set of events was held in Lucknow in this regard which saw a high level of interest and participation from people as they gathered in huge numbers to interact with the BBC teams from London and New Delhi.

The second event was held at Iqbal Maidan in Bhopal on Saturday.

With this tour, the began its hunt for citizen editors for its user-generated content ‘Microsite Your Edition’. The Your Edition tour in India is a part of face-to-face activities, which would be held in other major cities next year.

On this occasion, Head of BBC Urdu, Mohammed Hanif said India is not a random choice for this launch as BBC Urdu has made huge investment here over the past few years. BBC Urdu has expanded its network of journalists to get extensive and in-depth coverage.

Hanif said: “We want to raise awareness about our website among Urdu speakers in India where internet penetration and its usage is growing on a daily basis.

Lucknow, Hyderabad, Bhopal and Aligarh are centres of knowledge and we look forward to meeting our existing and future audiences here,” he added.

According to Waheed Mirza, Editor, the future of Urdu is on the Internet already 30 million hits are being received by the website which are mostly from America,other Western countries, Gulf and the Indian Sub-Continent.

Shakil Akhtar of BBC team said that this micro-site of BBC “Your Edition” which is about to be launched will carry the perspective of the reader’s own view on how he/she feels the anxiety before examination or generation gap at all.

Among the 500-odd people who spent time with the BBC team, hardly a few were from Madarsa background. Youths from public schools, university students, professionals, students of journalism and Urdu writers came in good numbers.

It is a sad commentary that the new generation in Bhopal and elsewhere in Madhya Pradesh irrespective of the religious divide is oblivious of the rich heritage of Urdu language with the result that Hindi has taken its place. The height of ignorance is that some “Dua’ in Arabic script in mosques have been put up in Hindi script shamelessly. There was a time that even non-Muslims were total at ease with Urdu and Persian and even Arabic ever since the Nawab era. However, it is now an old story. ([email protected])