[lg policy] Hyderabad's GST Commissioner Faheem Ahmed says he's enslaved by the lafz and beher of Urdu

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Mon Feb 5 10:29:04 EST 2018

 Hyderabad's GST Commissioner Faheem Ahmed says he's enslaved by the lafz
and beher of Urdu
Donita Jose
| TNN | Feb 4, 2018, 06:00 IST
[image: Hyderabad's GST Commissioner Faheem Ahmed says he's enslaved by the
lafz and beher of Urdu]
GST commissioner of Hyderabad by day, ghazal
<https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/topic/ghazal> writer and Urdu poet by
night, S Faheem Ahmed
<https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/topic/S-Faheem-Ahmed>, IRS, straddles
two diverse worlds indeed. the 1990 batch officer admits that he loves
number crunching, but it's the lafz (words) and the beher (meter) of Urdu
that have him enslaved.
"I am a Hyderabadi; my entire schooling has been in Urdu. so it's only
natural that I turn to Urdu whenever I need to find expression," says the
proud alumnus of Osmania University.

Recently, Faheem penned down five ghazals, which will soon be brought to
life by singers such as Manjari Nair, Altamash Faridi and Anwesha Dutta.
this isn't his first musical venture though. the officer has previously
released an album with eight ghazals on unrequited love in 2015.

"Very few people actually write Urdu poetry seriously. It's not as easy as
people make it out to be. Urdu poetry isn't just about penning down some
thoughts," he says, explaining that Urdu, has over 300 formats of rhyme and
meter. "Nowadays people restrict themselves to two-three formats.

Their practice of Urdu poetry follows a samaat, which means a 'listening
format'. So they force their thoughts and words to fit popular poetry
formats, even if it does little justice to the emotions. The result is very
ineffective and verbose poetry," says Faheem, who spent close to 30 years
learning the various formats and mastering the art of ghazal writing.
Bahere Mizaare, Bahre Mujattis, Bahre Kaamil are some of the formats he
uses predominantly.

His passion for words has its roots in his thirst for history, says Faheem.
"It never started with poetry. I was fascinated with the language in its
early forms which go back to over a 100 years ago. Back then, Urdu was the
language even for the government, so a major part of the many years I
served in the tax department saw me sifting through legal and government
texts from the Nizam's era in Urdu."

Faheem possesses a rare collection of government documents like the
'Taziraat-e-Gwalior', or Penal code of Gwalior formulated in 1895, which he
collected when he was serving as the Narcotics commissioner from 2008-11, a
copy of the infamous 'Ibn Battuta' in Urdu, and a rare collection of
lectures on Indian Education from the year 1857, in Urdu.

Faheem has also translated two works — Asghar Veloori's Rubaiyat from Urdu
to English and former Indian ambassador to Saudi Arabia,
Mahmoudin Mohammed's Fantasia to Urdu.

*Urdu needs more study*

Recommended By Colombia

With Urdu being declared as an official language for the state of Telangana
in 2017, Faheem is glad the language would get its due at last. However, he
claims that without the language finding a place in the academia and public
in general doing a serious study of the same, chances of a fruitful
survival are limited.

"Survival of any language depends on government support. So a language
policy supported by government is very important as only oral culture can't
take it forward," says Faheem. He also laments that most Urdu researchers
focus on famous Urdu poets like Iqbal and Ghalib.

"Urdu won't flourish if we keep it centred around shayari and ghazals of
Iqbal and Ghalib and an analysis of their poetry. We need more doctoral
researches on topics like 'Urdu and Employment', or how Urdu dictionaries
haven't been open to newer words etc.," says Faheem, adding that language
experts in the city have failed to do justice to the language and
contribute to its prosperity.

"The Urdu language experts in the city, the academics and others must ask
themselves, are they really doing justice to the language from their end?"

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 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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