PhD in Urdu literature awarded to non-Urdu speaking scholar

A desire to decipher his father’s diary and a passion to understand the language inspired Amar Nath to learn Urdu. While being proficient in the language was just one of the outcomes, the scholar went ahead to write a dissertation and was recently awarded a doctorate in Urdu literature.

“My topic was research Azadi ke Baad Dehli Mein Urdu Afsanay ka Tanqeedi Tajzia, meaning A Critical Analysis of Urdu Short Stories in Delhi after Independence. As a part of my research, I critically analyzed the works of around 50 short story writers. These include women writers as Raziya Sajjad Zaheer, a progressive Urdu writer, and Shameem Nikhat, who was a poet, and also short story writer, ”Mr. Amar Nath said, adding that the works of other Urdu authors such as Hansraj Rahbar, Balraj Komal and Prakash Pandit too have been analyzed.

Mr. Amar Nath has adopted the plume name of Rahgeermeaning wayfarer, and works as a freelance editor of manuscripts of Urdu as well as Hindi.

“We are from Puraani Dilli (Old Delhi). My father and grandfather lay emphasis on the talaffuz (pronunciation) of Urdu words. That is what first sparked my interest in learning Urdu. Then, there was this desire to read and understand my father’s journal. It had entries about his daily life and some poetry as well. Unfortunately, I could not locate the journal because we moved from the old house. I am still looking for it, ”he said.

Interestingly, a vast portion of Mr Amar Nath’s education was in the Hindu medium of instruction. It was much later that he started taking courses in Urdu. “I did my MA in Sociology in Hindi medium. I then enrolled in a masters program in Urdu at MANUU, and managed to complete my PhD, ”he said.

Prof Syed Ainul Hasan, Vice Chancellor, MANUU said that Mr Amar Nath’s case demonstrates that Urdu does not belong to people of a faith. “Urdu has no religion. There are a large number of teachers from different backgrounds here who have full knowledge of Urdu. They have created access to Urdu and are teaching here, discharging their duties diligently. MANUU is not for one sector group. It is for everybody and is open to all, ”he said.

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