Abdul Haq (Urdu scholar)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Maulvi Abdul Haq
Born20 April 1870[1]
Died16 August 1961[1]
OccupationResearcher, scholar and a literary critic
Era20th century
Known forCompiling a Standard English-Urdu Dictionary
and a lifetime dedication to the promotion of Urdu language
AbdulHaq Autograph.jpg

Maulvi Abdul Haq (Urdu: مولوی عبد الحق‎) (20 April 1870 – 16 August 1961) was a scholar and a linguist, whom some call Baba-e-Urdu (Urdu: بابائے اردو‎) (Father of Urdu). Abdul Haq was a champion of the Urdu language and the demand for it to be made the national language of Pakistan.[1]

Early life[edit]

Abdul Haq was born on 20 April 1870 in Hapur city in Meerut district (now Hapur district, Uttar Pradesh) in India.[citation needed] He developed an affinity for the Urdu, Deccani, Persian and Arabic languages.[citation needed] He obtained a B.A. degree from Aligarh Muslim University in 1894 where he was in the company of some upcoming politicians/ scholars of that time including, Shibli Nomani, Syed Ahmed Khan, Ross Masood, Mohsin-ul-Mulk, Syed Mahmood, Thomas Walker Arnold, and Babu Mukharjee.[citation needed]

After graduation, Haq went to Hyderabad Deccan and dedicated himself to learning, teaching, translating and upgrading Urdu.[citation needed] He was deeply influenced by Syed's political and social views, and, following his wishes, learned English and scientific subjects. Like Syed Ahmad Khan, Haq saw Urdu as a major cultural and political influence on the life and identity of the Muslims of India.[2] He founded the Anjuman Taraqqi-i-Urdu in 1903 in Aligarh. Arnold became its first president and Shibli Nomani the first secretary.[citation needed]

Haq joined the Indian Civil Service under the British Raj, and worked as a chief translator at the Home Department in Delhi, before being appointed as the provincial inspector of schools at Aurangabad in the Central Provinces.[citation needed] In the same year, he was appointed secretary of the All India Muhammadan Educational Conference, which had been founded by Syed Ahmed Khan in 1886 for the promotion of education and intellectualism in Muslim society. He became Principal of Osmania College (Aurangabad) and retired from that position in 1930.[1]

Educational and political activities[edit]

Following the establishment of the Osmania University by the Nizam Osman Ali Khan, Asif Jah VII of the Hyderabad State in 1917, Haq moved to Hyderabad State to teach and help build the university.[citation needed]

All subjects at the university were taught in Urdu, and under Haq's influence, the institution became a patron of Urdu and Persian literature. Appointed as chairman of the department, faculty of Urdu, Haq emerged as a literary critic and writer in the intellectual life of Hyderabad. He published works of Urdu poetry, as well as treatises on linguistics, Islam, history, politics and philosophy.[citation needed]His relatives lives yet in Hapur, Uttar Pradesh, India, his nephew was Hamid Hasan and his son Ahmad Arif live with his family in Hapur.

Haq was a scholarly critic who provided criticisms of modern Urdu works and encouraged his students to develop literary skills and appreciation of Urdu.[citation needed] Following his retirement from Osmania University in 1930, Haq worked to compile and edit a comprehensive and authoritative English-Urdu dictionary.[1]

Haq was also active in the Anjuman-i-Himayat-i-Islam, a Muslim socio-political body of intellectuals.[citation needed] He also led the Anjuman Taraqqi-i-Urdu (Organisation for the Progress of Urdu), which had been founded in 1903 by a group of Urdu scholars, intellectuals and students.[citation needed] Initially focusing on intellectual subjects, later in 1930, Haq led the group in protests against a campaign by Indian nationalists to promote the use of Hindi as the national language of British India.[citation needed] Haq became a critic of Indian leader Mohandas Gandhi and the Indian National Congress and joined the All India Muslim League led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah.[citation needed]

In Pakistan[edit]

In 1948, Haq migrated to Pakistan.[citation needed] In the wake of migration and the accompanying riots in 1947, much of his property, especially valuable manuscripts, papers and books were lost.[citation needed] However, some of the material which he brought to Pakistan is kept in the Urdu Dictionary Board library.[1]

The ordeals of partition and the migration also adversely affected Abdul Haq's health.[citation needed] He re-organised the Anjuman Taraqqi-e-Urdu in Karachi, launching journals, establishing libraries and schools, publishing a large number of books and promoting education in the Urdu language and linguistic research in it.[citation needed] Abdul Haq's work especially helped preserve the distinct "Old Urdu" linguistic and literary traditions of Hyderabad, known as Hyderabadi Urdu.[3] He also used his organisation for political activism, promoting the adoption of Urdu as the lingua franca and sole official language of Pakistan.[4]

He criticised the popular movement in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) to demand the recognition of the Bengali language, stressing his belief that only Urdu represented Muslim heritage and should be promoted exclusively in national life. Condemning the 1952 Language Movement agitations in former East Pakistan, he showed apparent dislike over the decision of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan to make Bengali a second official language.[citation needed] With the help of the Anjuman and sympathetic political parties, he organised a major series of public rallies and processions in Lahore and Karachi on 22 April 1954. He is criticised for his insistence on Urdu as the sole official language of Pakistan, a cause which served to intensify the sectional gulf within the country and later led to the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. He was active in educational development in Andhra Pradesh, specially in the Rayalseema Region of Andhra Pradesh, Osmania College, Kurnool is still an example of his great contribution.[citation needed]


Despite illnesses and failing health, Haq continued to promote the active use of Urdu as a medium for all educational activities.[citation needed] He pushed for the creation of an Urdu College in Karachi,[5][4] the adoption of Urdu as a medium of instruction for all subjects in educational institutions and worked to organise a national Urdu conference in 1959. Suffering from cancer, Haq died after a prolonged period of incapacitation on 16 August 1961 in Karachi.[1]

Baba-e-Urdu's publications[edit]

For his achievements in the development and promotion of Urdu literature, he is officially regarded as Baba-e-Urdu.[citation needed] His best known works include the English-Urdu dictionary, Chand Ham Asar, Maktoobat, Muqaddimat, Tauqeedat, Qawaid-e-Urdu and Debacha Dastan Rani Ketki. The Anjuman Taraqqi-e-Urdu remains an important intellectual organisation in Pakistan. Held in high esteem amongst the intellectuals, educationalists and scholars in Pakistan, Haq is praised for his work in promoting Muslim heritage and Urdu as a unifying medium for Pakistani Muslims.[6][4]

Commemorative postage stamp issued in 2004[edit]

In recognition of his services to Urdu literature, Pakistan Post issued a Commemorative stamp in his honor on 16 August 2004 in its 'Men of Letters' series.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h http://www.pakpost.gov.pk/philately/stamps2004/maulvi_abdul_haq.html Archived 8 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine, Profile and commemorative postage stamp of Baba-e-Urdu: Maulvi Abdul Haq, Retrieved 2 February 2017
  2. ^ S Krishna Bhatnagar (1969) History of the M.A.O. College, Aligarh. Asia Publishing House.
  3. ^ M Yusuf Abbasi (1992). Pakistani Culture: A Profile. National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research. ISBN 969-415-023-X
  4. ^ a b c http://www.dawn.com/news/1278009, 'Homage paid to Baba-e-Urdu on his 55th death anniversary', Dawn newspaper, Published 17 August 2016, Retrieved 2 February 2017
  5. ^ It became a predecessor of Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science & Technology
  6. ^ M Ayub Khan (1961). Speeches and Statements. Pakistan Publications.

External links[edit]