What To Do with Urdu Language in India --
And Around the World
(Bringing Islam to the World One Concept at a Time!
Taking the Qur'an to Every Home and Heart that Needs It --
And which One Does Not?)
My grateful thanks to all those who write to me from time to time -- for whatever reason -- if anyone ever does.
Some people want to know what I do and, in some oblique sort of a way, who I am.
The quick answer is: I am nobody.
Or, a better answer is: I am nothing.
If you don't understand what I am saying, read the Qur'an.
Or at least the epic poem The Hound of Heaven by Francis Thompson. Good Catholic stuff, I think.
Pay attention to some of the language and expressions used. Eye-opening stuff.
As a result, I am perfectly content, actually delighted, with the fact that I have neither name, nor fame. No one knows me. And fewer people still probably really care about who I am or what I do.
Because of that, quite frankly, I never cared much for standard, formal, canned, pre-speech introductions by the organizers of the so-called Islamic events, meetings and conferences.
Or for generally well-meaning but largely meaningless cliches like "Well-Known Scholar" before or after my name.
Strictly academic gatherings and encounters are a different matter, as they have a set of rather well-established rules that are uniformly observed and upheld by qualified, long-term practitioners.
Noam Chomsky is a "well-known" scholar: linguistics and other things. Father of the Linguistic Revolution, if there is or was such a thing, whatever it is.
So is Stephen Hawking. Theoretical physics and all kinds of other things.
Now, these are among the great and "well-known" scholars of our times.
Great thinkers and researchers and theorists, both of them. And they have made an impact on the academic turf they chose to enter.
And they are understood and appreciated and valued by other scholars of merit in their respective fields.
But Islam and "scholarship" in modern times? It is almost like an oxymoron.
Ours is no longer the age, and ours in no longer the nation, and we are no longer the people, of Bukhari or Abu Hanifa; Ibn Sina (Avicenna) or Farabi or Ibn Rushd (Averroes); or even Iqbal or Maududi or Abul Kalam Azad or Saeed Nursi.
As Muslims, we now populate the Fool's Paradise inhabited by charlatans and thugs and mercenaries, and liberally sprinkled by paid agents and operatives, who exploit the name of Islam to make easy living and hoodwink and bamboozle Muslims.
But this much is true about me, maybe, among other things:
I have spent a lifetime figuring out some of what is wrong with the world,
And with Muslims in particular.
And how to fix some of that stuff,
to the extent I, or anyone else, can.
And how to help the world move forward and be a better place for all:
regardless of race, religion, nationality, education or income level.
It is for that reason that among my specializations happens to be the science and art of Theory Construction, and Model Building, and Testing, and Validation, and Implementation -- at every conceivable level that is within the purview of my skills and competence.
That means two things:
(a) One, understanding how and why things are the way they are.
(b) Two, if any of those things are not the way you want them to be, what are your plans to get them to where you want to see them.
Simple stuff, right?
But, trust me, as they say, my entire life went into preparing for these things, and in acquiring the intellectual and emotional tools to achieve my goals.
And I specialized in not just studying and understanding the problems as they exist, both for Muslims and for the world in general, but also in what to do about it all -- about helping Muslims as well as the world in general to solve their problems and be able to cope better with them.
Allah's blessings that he guided me and he blessed me with whatever knowledge and skill types and levels he saw fit and that in his wisdom I needed to accomplish my objectives.
His mercy is boundless and his bounties are abundant.
So, the two issues -- both quite important and distinct -- are:
a) Understanding what the problems are.
b) Deciphering possible solutions for those problems.
So, it is a lifetime of painstaking research, investigation, studying, sense-making and model-building and testing and validation and implementation and execution. And all the heartache, frustration and disillusion -- and occasional euphoria -- that go along with this stuff.
That has been the ongoing story of my life.
One such problem that has been on my mind forever as they say is how to bring the Urdu language back to life: how to make Urdu once again the kind of robust and vibrant cultural instrument that it deserves and needs to be and that it once was not so long ago.
And how to fill the hearts of all with the love of this most amazing, powerful, sweet and sensitive language.
This is a lifetime of hard work for a whole army of scholars, thinkers and leaders. And not a quick work assignment for one or two overexcited individuals.
But regardless, what I realize is this: the way to bring Urdu back, if we can do it at all, is to create a plethora of incentives and motivations and uses and opportunities all around.
And, as part of that, we need to set young minds on fire with the love of Urdu language. And with the help of God Almighty, it is possible to do it: Inshallah.
Every successful businessman works from a model that he builds for his business. Let us start with that. There must have been a good reason why Allah chose a group of Business People to be the first addressees of his Deen.
What we need to do for Urdu also is to build a Perfect Model, as it were, for making Urdu a successful language.
The same Business Model and the same logic and expertise that made Islam a household word around the world now need to be transferred to the mission of infusing a new life into Urdu language.
For, Success is a universal value and the universal model for success is the same across a wide range of venues and fronts. According to one Urdu poet, Iqbal, the model for universal success can be summed up as follows:
"Yaqeen Muhkam, Amal Paiham, Mahabbat Faati-he Alam."
"Unshakable faith; ceaseless toil; boundless love.
There is not a thing these three things together cannot conquer!"
If Iqbal's Model has any validity, and it does indeed, then making Urdu one among the more vibrant and popular languages of the world should not be all that difficult.