An English book on the introduction to Urdu poetry by Hyderabad-based writer Anees Ayesha has been launched at the Singapore Writers Festival.
Ayesha, 75, who could not attend the event held last night, has taught Urdu language and literature in Hyderabad for over 50 years and is an avid promoter of the learning of Urdu among the new generations.
She works closely with the Mehfil-e-Khawateen, a women writer's collective, and Dabistan-e-Jaleeli, which was set up to celebrate the works of Ali Ahmed Jaleeli.
The two organisations are involved in promoting the Urdu language and appreciation of its contribution to literature and culture in the subcontinent, said Zafar Anjum, who translated the book into English.
As one of South Asia's most popular languages widely used in Bollywood films, Urdu has between 60 and 70 million native speakers in the world today, according to Anjum.
"Sadly, the new generation is losing access to this language due to a variety of reasons. Despite this deprivation, they often display a passion for the poetry of this beautiful language," he said.
"This book presents a small slice of Urdu's heritage in an easy-to-comprehend style," Anjum explained.
Babar Nazir, an Urdu-loving physician in Singapore, unveiled the book. The festival is held being November 1-10.