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A unique Urdu book, courtesy retired school teacher

Tuesday, November 03, 2009 02:02:54 PM, Asit Srivastava, IANS

Lucknow: His Urdu poetry book is just 130 pages long, but Uttar Pradesh resident Waqarul Hasnain took more than a decade to write it. That's because his work makes use of only 14 letters and doesn't contain a single 'nukta' - dots commonly used to form words in the script.


Hasnain, a retired primary school teacher and resident of Rampur district, some 270 km from Lucknow, has come up with the unique book titled "Murassaye Hilm".


"It's my most prized possession. I remember I used to sit for several hours at one place thinking of words that didn't need the nukta. Moreover, the stipulation to use only 14 of the 36 basic Urdu letters made my job more challenging," Hasnain, 65, told IANS on telephone.


"Truly speaking, when I started to write this book at the age of 54, I was not sure whether I would be able to complete it. But today when I have finished it, I feel a sense of pride," he said.


Hasnain's book is primarily divided into two parts. While one consists of ghazals - poetic expression of the pain of loss or separation and the beauty of love - the other segment contains couplets.


Hasnain's remarkable work has not only been appreciated by the literati in Rampur but has also been acknowledged by the Uttar Pradesh Urdu Akademi, a Lucknow-based organisation established in 1972 for the promotion of Urdu language and literature.


"They (members of the Urdu Akademi) were taken by surprise when I told them about the 'benukta' (without dots) book that contains only 14 letters. Recently, the Akademi members had sent an appreciation letter to me in which they mentioned they want to felicitate me," said Hasnain.


What made Hasnain write the book is a different story.


"During my college days, I used to participate in mushairas (Urdu poetry conclaves). It was one such mushaira in Rampur attended by many great poets that inspired me.


"When it was my turn at the mushaira, some senior poets asked me what I was doing in such an august great gathering...They even asked me not to take part. That pinched me a lot and I decided to come up with something unique in the Urdu language.


"I regret I did not start writing the book just after I finished the college. Though I started quite late, today I am happy as, with the blessings of the almighty, I have completed the book," he said.


Many believe Hasnain's work should be promoted and publicised as it could contribute to the enrichment and spread of Urdu.


"Today Urdu is losing its importance. In such a time, the novelty of Hasnain's book can attract people towards the language," said A. Ashfaq Abidi, a professor in Lucknow University's Urdu department.

Asit Srivastava can be contacted at
















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