Hyderabad Urdu editors on Urdu press, Muslim problems

By Mumtaz Alam Falahi, TwoCircles.net,

Like their counterparts in Delhi, Urdu Editors in Hyderabad also see educational backwardness as the major issue confronting the Muslim community in India. Lack of education has led the community to economic and social backwardness. Despite some confronting views, Zahid Ali Khan, Editor, Siasat daily and Naseem Arifi, Editor, Etemaad daily tell Mumtaz Alam Falahi of TwoCircles.net that there is no Indian Express or Tehelka in Urdu because Urdu media lack resources and professionalism.

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Three major issues confronting the Muslim community in India

Zahid Ali Khan: At No. 1 is education. The most the Muslims lost in the last 62 years is education. Second is their economy and third language.

Zahid Ali Khan, Editor, Siasat daily

Naseem Arifi: Education is at No. 1 and then is employment. The third major issue is the abysmal presence of Muslims at policy and planning levels in the Indian democracy.

Role of Urdu Media in the resolution of these issues

Zahid Ali Khan: Urdu media can play crucial role in resolving these issues as they can bring educational and social awareness in the society. They are so powerful.

Naseem Arifi: Urdu media cannot play as much effective role in resolution of these issues as they should. Because Urdu media is attached to only common readers. Those who are in bureaucracy and policy and planning levels are far from Urdu media. Whatever Urdu media thinks or present on behalf of the community hardly reaches the policy makers.

The role of Urdu Media as link between the community and government

Zahid Ali Khan: The Urdu media is not playing this role as much as it should. To force the government to fulfill the demands of the Muslim community, the Urdu media needs a lot of power. I am happy that in Andhra Pradesh Urdu media is playing this role well as the state politics carefully watches the Urdu media. The government and chief minister is presented with news clippings from Urdu media along with English and Telugu papers.

Naseem Arifi, Editor, Etemaad daily

Naseem Arifi: I don’t think Urdu media anymore plays the role of a link between the community and government. The reason is that the Urdu media is now not much sincere about the problems and issues of the community. Moreover, the Urdu media lacks talent and so there are few people in Urdu media who have good sense of the issues of the community.

As for investigative journalism, why there is no Indian Express or Tehelka in Urdu?

Zahid Ali Khan: This is true there is no Indian Express or Tehelka in Urdu and this is because we have limited resources. Second, our community does not allow us to do investigative journalism. Once we exposed how 300 acres of wakf land were sold by our own community people but in return they protested at our offices, copies of Siasat were burned, filthy language was used against me and I was even threatened. If Indian Express or Tehelka writes something, they are listened to carefully. But when we write such things, we are opposed.

Naseem Arifi: Because there is no professionalism in Urdu media. Even if they publish any such story there is hardly honesty and journalistic ethics in it. They are written purposely against someone.

Challenges before Urdu Media

Zahid Ali Khan: As for Siasat, we have no challenge. We have gained tremendous success from a humble start and today we are read in 107 countries across the globe. But as a whole, Urdu media is discriminated when it comes to distribution of ads from state or central government. As alphabetically Urdu comes much after English and Hind, we get a little from government ads. For skilled manpower, we are running a study centre of Maulana Azad Urdu University. At the centre about 200 youths are being trained for different fields of media. So we have no problem of manpower.

Naseem Arifi: The biggest challenge is that the new generation does not know Urdu. Though there is Maulana Azad Urdu University in Hyderabad, the journalism graduates coming from there are also not adept in the language. Urdu media is run on the basis of a lot of translation work but we are not getting good translators.