By AZHER MAJID SIDDIQUI
The Third National Urdu Science Congress was held at Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), Hyderabad on February 16 and 17, 2017. The conference successfully attracted scientists; renowned scholars of Arabic, Urdu and Persian languages; educators; writers; poets; historians; heads of institutions; science reporters and Islamic scholars.
The Inaugural Session of this congress was held at the auditorium of Distance Education Centre of MANUU and was presided over by the Vice-Chancellor, MANUU, Dr. Aslam Parvez. The Chief Guest of this event was Prof. S. Ramchandran, Vice-Chancellor, Osmania University, Hyderabad. The Guests of Honour for this event were Prof. Shamsul Islam Farooqui, Ex-Principal Scientist, Indian Agricultural Research Institute and Prof. Iqtidar Hussain Farooqui, Former Deputy Director, Department of Plant Chemistry, National Botanical Research Institute. He is well-known for his books including, Plants of the Qur’ān and Medicinal Plants in the Traditions of Prophet Muhammad (Sidrah Publishers, Lucknow, India). The conference had a very rich programme including keynote talks by renowned speakers and oral presentations.
Technology and science are interdependent as one leads to the other. Science impacts technology and technology is required for exploring nature leading to new science. Both science and technology are crucial for the social well-being and sustainable economic development in developing countries. It is essential that the public needs to be aware of scientific and technological advances. Hence, it is essential that the relevant information be provided for the general public in as many languages as possible.
In order to be at par with developed nations, it is essential that the public be made aware of the importance of science. A possible way to achieve this awareness is by delivering the relevant scientific content in a simplified manner in their native language. This commendable effort is due to Dr. Mohammad Aslam Parvaiz, who is the Vice Chancellor Maulana Azad National Urdu University. Dr. Parvaiz was the former Principal Zakir Husain College, Delhi.
For the past 50 years, Urdu has been categorically stated and considered a language of Culture, Religion and Entertainment. But the number of students receiving education in Urdu has been declining ever since. A few years later, it is being considered that Urdu does not have that capability to enrich itself with Science and Technology as other languages have. Let us recall the example of Osmania University, Hyderabad (established in 1918). It is the first university to have Urdu as the medium of instruction. For instance, its medical programme was in Urdu and its medical graduates went to the UK for higher studies. They fared well in the UK, pointing to the fact that they had expertise both in the sciences taught in Urdu along with English required for higher education in the UK.
Approximately 75 years later, MANUU initiated its process of dispensing knowledge in Urdu. Through this effort, the University has a plan to dispense the Basic Scientific Knowledge with Urdu as the medium of instruction. This plan was put forward by first establishing a Centre by the name Centre for Promotion of Knowledge in Urdu whose Consultant is Dr. Khaja Syed Moizuddin. The Centre started its activities by organising the III National Urdu Science Congress at its campus. This was a 2-day Congress which covered the topics: Development of Scientific Awareness and Knowledge, Status of Science Education is Madrasas, Sciences in School – Syllabi and Education, Dispensing of Knowledge – Challenges and Future, Latest Technology and Urdu, and Qur’ān and Science.
It is to be recalled, that Dr. Parvaiz created the National Urdu Science Congress last year. The very First National Urdu Science Congress was organised by the Anjuman Farogh-e-Science, at Zakir Husain College, Delhi, India on 20-21 March 2015. One of the recommendations of this landmark event was to hold the Urdu Science Congress every year by rotation in different cities. Following the grand success and the recommendations of the first one, the Second Urdu Science Congress was held on 20-21 February 2016 in Aligarh, which is home to the renowned Aligarh Muslim University. Over 70 delegates had come from various parts of the country. Approximately 60 papers were presented.
[The writer teaches Physics at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India. email@example.com]