A group of American students are learning Urdu in Lucknow

By Faisal Fareed, TwoCircles.net,

Lucknow: Urdu language may be missing its admirers of late, but some people can still travel thousands of miles from their homes just to learn the language. A group of ten students enrolled in various American universities are in the state capital learning to speak Urdu at Lucknow centre of American Institute of Indian Studies.

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Twenty-five-year-old Brain who studies Music at New Jersey (USA) based university greets you with Lucknowi adaab and wants you to strike up a conversation in Urdu or Hindi instead of his mother tongue. Brain is a singer and song writer and a regular public performer back home. After developing a command over the language he is planning to write and sing his self-written songs in Urdu. Sharing the reasons of his passion for the language, he says that Urdu is a delicate language and can be used to put things in nutshell without any requirement for extra efforts. “After I have a hold over Urdu I will sing a Qawali at Shahmeena dargah in the city. This Urdu language and the traditions of this place do connect us with Lucknow,” he adds.

Dressed in a Salwar Kameez with a duppatta around her shoulders, Elizabeth (25) from Wisconsin is all praises for the historical nawabi past. Apart from the Mughlai delicacies she also likes the Chiken garments and other art forms here. “I am fascinated by the dome architecture and the minars dotting the skyline. I feel as if every minar has an interesting story of the past to narrate,” she adds.

Another student, Allen Rodar, learning Urdu at the institute which teaches 14 Indian languages at its branches across the country is also a student of renowned Tabla player, Ustad Ilmas Husain of Lucknowi Gharana. New York based Allen (27) has been in the city for over five months and takes pride when he converses in the ‘sweet language’. He also likes the dastarkhwaan culture of the city.

The institute located at Wazir Hasan Road has six teachers for Urdu language and Lucknow is the sole place in the country where Urdu is taught. Programme Head, Dr Ahtisham, Ph.D. in Urdu from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) admits that it was not an easy task for him to teach the foreign students. He had to use all the teaching skills of listening, speaking, writing and reading to impart his lessons. He, however, maintains that the passion for the language among these American students made things easier for him