(Baba-e-Urdu) Maulvi Abdul Haq  

 

  Date of Issue (August 16, 2004)  

 

 

A legendary figure: Born at Hapur (District Merut, U.P. India) in 1870, Maulvi Abdul Haq, popularly known as Baba-e-Urdu (Father of Urdu) took his B.A. degree from Muslim University Aligarh (U.P. India). For thirteen years he served as a translator at the Home Department before being appointed as the provincial Inspector of Schools (Aurangabad, Deccan). The same year he was elected to the office of Secretary, Department of promotion of Urdu at Delhi All India Muslim Educational Conference.

Baba-e-Urdu was the moving spirit behind the Usmania University Hyderabad, Deccan, where all subjects were taught in Urdu. The textbooks and reference material to be used here were translated and compiled under his supervision: Later on, he served as the chairman of the Department of Urdu. After his retirement in 1930, he compiled and edited a comprehensive and authoritative English Urdu dictionary.

Under his care, the Anjumane Taraqqi-e-Urdu, emerged as a powerful service organization. In the 1930s, Gandhi Started a campaign to change the Urdu script, since it was identified with the Muslim people. Thanks to the Anjuman, the attempt was successfully thwarted. Thereafter, till the creation of Pakistan, he fought the Indian National Congress for mother tongue Urdu and Pakistan.

In 1948, Maulvi Abdul Haq migrated to Pakistan. During the partition riots, thousands valuable manuscripts, memoranda, books and articles that he possessed had been lost. The Indian government had seriously damaged the Anjuman by withdrawing all support. Maulvi Sahib reached Pakistan poor in health, meager in resources but planted the Anjuman anew, on fresh ground. Under the aegis of the organization, countless books and several important journals were brought out. Numerous old but invaluable manuscripts in old Urdu (Deccani) were published that have considerably deepened the roots of the Urdu language. Baba-e-Urdu patronized and inaugurated two public libraries and lived long enough to see a dream realized: the establishment of Urdu medium Institutions of higher learning: the Arts and Science in Urdu Colleges. He continually stressed the need for an Urdu University for which he even called a national conference in 1959. After a prolonged illness, Maulvi Abdul Haq died of cancer in 1961 (August 16, 1961).

He was a prolific writer, with almost a dozen titles to his name including the authoritative Standard English-Urdu Dictionary, Chand Ham Asar, maktoobat Baba-e-Urdu Tauqeedat, Muqadimat, etc. As a researcher, scholar, critic and lexicographer Maulvi Abdul Haq is a great name in our history. It is, however, as the foremost campaigner of Urdu and its greatest servant that Baba-e-Urdu will be remembered.

Courtesy: Anjumane Traqqi-e-Urdu Pakistan.

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