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Urdu research journals in Pakistani universities

Urdu research journals published by our universities
Islamabad, Feb 28: All over the world, universities are known for and take pride in their research activities and research publications. Another factor that determines the ranking of a university is its faculty, or the teaching and research staff.

When it comes to Urdu departments at Pakistani universities, it is heartening to note that a great many number of well-known scholars and critics of Urdu have been and still are associated with our public-sector universities.

When we look at the research publications, Urdu departments at these universities not only have published worthwhile research works but almost all of them publish research journals. For instance, Peshawar University's Urdu department publishes 'Khayaban'. From Punjab University Oriental College's Urdu department, we have 'Bazyaft'. Khaipur's Shah Abdul Latif University's Urdu department publishes 'Almas'. National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad, publishes two research journals on Urdu language and literature: 'Daryaft' and 'Takhleeqi Adab'. Research journal published by the department of Urdu at Multan's Bahauddin Zakariya University is named 'Journal of Research'. The department of Urdu at the recently established university in Faisalabad, named Government College University, has launched 'Zaban-o-adab'. The International Islamic University was established decades ago but until recently it did not have an Urdu department. It was set up a few years ago and with in a short span of time it brought out its research journal 'Meyar'. Urdu department at the newly established Sargodha University is planning to launch its research journal and scholars of Urdu around the world have been asked to contribute research papers. A letter from Dr Nauman-ul-Haq of Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) informing this writer that LUMS too is coming up with an Urdu research journal was music to ears (or rather eyes). Not to be forgotten is 'Tehqeeq', the research journal of Jamshoro's Sindh University's Urdu department.

In fact, 'Tehqeeq' is the trend setter and soon after it appeared in 1988, it became the standard to conform to. The moving spirit behind it was Prof Dr Najm-ul-Islam, its editor and the then head of Sindh University's Urdu department. It will not be an exaggeration to say that it was 'Tehqeeq' that showed the departments of Urdu at our universities what a research journal should be like and what research methodology was to be followed in a research journal.

This apparently does not seem to be a big deal but it is a sad fact (known by scholars of Urdu all along) that there has always been a lack of an agreed upon style sheet for Urdu. Research techniques and methodology were not given a serious thought in Urdu and for long scholars usually decided for themselves how to annotate a research work or how to cite a reference. As for bibliography (now known more commonly as 'sources' instead of bibliography in the modern research works), there was no standard and for long scholars debated how to enlist the works cited. Some favoured the western style of 'last-name-first' technique while others thought it was not suitable for Urdu as eastern names had an altogether different cultural background. For instance, if a woman writes by the name of 'Yasmeen Aslam', her work would be referred to as 'Aslam, Yasmeen'. But her name is not Aslam and it is probably her father's or husband's name. When seen with the local culture, it would sound ridiculous when during an article or interview she is referred to as 'Aslam says' because it would tell what her father or husband, as the case may be, says and to refer to what 'she' says one will have to write 'Yasmeen says'. But then, according to western style, it is against the norms to call someone by her or his first name on such occasions. In such cases, a family name may solve the problem. But for some, the issue still stands unresolved.

Similarly, some believe that while citing the works in a research paper or dissertation, one should write first name first and last name last but should avoid titles such as Syed, Haji and Nawab etc. For example, Muhammad Hussain Azad would be referred to as 'Muhammad Hussain Azad' but Nawab Syed Muhammad Azad, a nineteenth century writer, would be listed as 'Muhammad Azad, Nawab Syed'. Still some other feel both should be referred to as 'Azad'; one as 'Azad, Muhammad Hussain' and the other as 'Azad, Nawab Syed Muhammad'.

Other such issues of Urdu research methodology were first discussed by a few scholars notable among them are Dr Moinuddin Aqeel and Dr Najm-ul-Islam. Later, many scholars wrote on these issues. Dr Moinuddin Aqeel's book on modern techniques of research articles and thesis-writing, named 'Rasmiyat-i-maqala nigari'(published by Pakistan Study Centre, Karachi University, 2009), sums up such debatable issues and gives some useful suggestions, too. Of late, there has been an effort by others too and Dr Atash Durrani wrote a paper on 'Urdu style sheet'.

What I intend to highlight here is that the basic question of how to present your research work in a way that is scientific and logical and conforms to international standards while keeping in view our local environment too was initiated in Urdu by 'Tehqeeq' and by sheer efforts of its first editor, Dr Najm-ul-Islam. Many of his rules now have become a yardstick to go by. The present editor of the journal, Dr Syed Javed Iqbal, had been his student and has now successfully been running the show.

The latest issue of 'Tehqeeq' carries some useful articles on research and its methodology along with some other research papers. While we appreciate all these research journals published by the universities, what worries many is the tardiness of these journals. Almost all research journals of the universities have been running behind the schedules. The trend is becoming increasingly annoying and of late some of them have been as late as by two years. Some insiders informed this writer that the reason behind this lateness is the paucity of funds and since many of these research journals depend solely on funds specially granted for the purpose by the Higher Education Commission (HEC), no journal can see light of day unless HEC loosens the strings of its purse. Blaming HEC would definitely be not justified because it is the ministry of finance that releases funds and the country is passing through an economic crunch. Dawn

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Teachers protest against education department
Rawalpindi: Hundreds of teachers affiliated with Punjab Teachers Union, District Rawalpindi on Saturday staged a protest rally from Rawalpindi Press Club to District Education Office and demanded of the concerned authorities for resolution of their problems.

The protesters holding banners and placards raised slogans against the District Education Office Rawalpindi ad blocked the traffic on Benazir Bhutto Road for sometime.

Addressing the rally Punjab Teachers Union Central Vice President Imtiaz Abbasi criticised the District Education Office Rawalpindi and said that teachers in other parts of Punjab have received the package announced by Punjab chief minister, but the teachers in Rawalpindi were still waiting for the implementation of the package under which teachers should have been paid all the perks and privileges from December 1, 2009.

However, in Rawalpindi the teachers were paid only from November 11, 2011, which is unfair with the local teachers.

He said that the concerned authorities should take action against the department and facilitate the teachers at the earliest.

Punjab Teachers Union Rawalpindi chapter President Syed Anwar Shah said that teachers in Rawalpindi District are facing many problems. "The high officials should resolve our problems at the earliest and take action against District Education Office Rawalpindi for creating problems for teachers. "If the concerned authorities fail to take action against the concerned officials we will continue our protest for achieving our rights," he added.

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Students spellbind audience in debate contest
Rawalpindi: A major debate competition was held at SSLS Montessori and school's Lalazar and Islamabad branches, says a press release.

The main objective of the debate competition was to give the maximum number of children a chance to express their thoughts and to expose them to public speaking. An attempt was also made to encourage the children to organise their ideas in a logical manner and it was heartening to see that the young orators had done their homework as they gave each other a tough competition.

For the Urdu debate, the topic under discussion was Mobile phones: a blessing or a nuisance? (mobile phones :zehmat ya naimat). In today's mechanised existence one is quite dependent on these mobile phones. For some it has made life very easy and for others it is indeed a menace. Considering the amount of attractive packages that the mobile companies have made for the youth surprisingly the decision went in favour of the topic.

Daniyal Shehzad of grade 8 successfully managed to sway the final verdict of the audience and judges in his favour that indeed mobile phones are a nuisance. Rameen Sadaqat, who was also from 8th grade came second while Naeema Anwar of grade 7 took the third position.

Talib Bokhari who was the chief guest appreciated all the young orators and was gracious enough to express his personal opinion regarding the topic. Wit and humour were also at played at the SLS Islamabad branch. In the Urdu debate category there were topics like "Uff yeh subah ka jagna", Aala zindagi ka mayaar ilm nahi daulat hai" and "umar e hazir ki nijaat science ya mazhab"and "daur e jaded daur e zawal hai".

Hamna Imran, Abdullah Tahir, Amina Akmal, (grade 2 and 3), Maryam Naveed grade 4, Arshwa Haleem Grade 5, Ghania Zakir, Binte Zahra, Arsal Rehman, Maira Tayyab, (grade 6 and 7) Javeria Tayyeb, Qudsia Fatima, Ayesha Tariq and Nafil Amir (grade 8 to 10) were among the prominent speakers.

As for the English debate the topic was: 'Should homework be banned? One could notice the excitement, which the topic had generated among the audience as they eagerly awaited for the participants to share their point of view. With a majority of students in the audience the participants who chose to defend the topic were generously applauded, however, the speakers who spoke against the motion put up a brave fight and finally managed to convince everyone that homework is mandatory.

Once again Naeema Anwar of grade 8 won the approval of the judges that a balanced approach towards homework is necessary to polish and develop the learning ability of a student. Arsalan Kirmani of grade 8th, Afshan Anwar and Rimsha Jehangir were undoubtedly amongst outstanding speakers.

The Islamabad branch were equally good as they chose topics like "As the last bell goes", "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world" and "Today my country is truly Jinnah's Pakistan". All the participants were credibly eloquent in their speech and kept the audience spell bound by their views. Among the prominent speakers were Haya Khan Class I, Abdullah Naveed class III, Hanya Tayyab class III, Verda Amir class 6th, Haifa class5, Haris Ehsan class 4, Maham Waqar, Ibrahim Zaman and Haniya Zia. Thus another successful and memorable debate competition came to an end with the distribution of certificates and trophies. The news

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