Today is a very happy day for Urdu journalism. Urdu journalism has completed two hundred years. The first Urdu language newspaper was Jam-e-Jahan-Numa, which was founded by Harihar Dutta on March 27, 1822, in Kolkata. He was the son of eminent Bengali journalist Tara Chand Dutta and one of the founders of the Bengali weekly Sambad Kaumudi.
Urdu journalism has seen many ups and downs during these two hundred years. If we talk about this ancient Urdu journalism, then a lot of struggle was done in paving the rocky ground of journalism. Many challenges have come to the fore in Urdu journalism and these challenges are still coming to the fore.
Apart from this, the first women’s magazine in Urdu was Akhbar-un-Nisa, in which articles related to women were published.
The fact cannot be denied that Muslim women journalists tried their best to promote Urdu journalism as much as men worked in this field to advance Urdu journalism. Although this fact also cannot be denied that the number of Muslim women Urdu journalists in this area is not much but the work is commendable.
In this era of modern technology, the number of Muslim women journalists has increased than before. A large number of Urdu newspapers are being published and Urdu channels are emerging. But the unfortunate thing is that Muslim women journalists are not getting a chance to move forward. The truth is that women Urdu journalists who worked hard and diligently are still mentioned and work on their Urdu services. It is happening even today. It is important to know about those women journalists who have enriched Urdu news and Urdu newspapers with their talent before and after the independence of India.
Saeeda Bano was an Indian news broadcaster who joined All India Radio in 1947 and later became India’s first professional female news broadcaster to read news in Urdu. Saeeda Bano herself used to say, “I had no idea that one day my circumstances would change so dramatically that by 1947 I would become famous as the first Indian woman to read news for the Urdu service of All India Radio (AIR). I was set to deliver my first news bulletin on air on 13 August 1947. Prior to this, no woman had been employed by the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) or All India Radio Delhi to work as a news broadcaster. I was the first woman AIR considered good enough to read radio news.”
Bano spent her early childhood in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh and Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. At the age of 17 she married a judge, Abbas Raza, but separated from him in 1947, and moved with her children to Delhi to work as a news broadcaster. After separating from her husband, Bano entered into a long-term relationship with lawyer Nooruddin Ahmed, who later served as the mayor of India’s capital, Delhi.
In 1994, Bano published a memoir in Urdu, titled Dagar Se Haat Kar, which was later translated into English as Off the Beaten Track by his granddaughter Shahana Raza. Bano’s book was published by the Delhi Urdu Academy.
Another big name in Urdu journalism can be derived from Farhat Rizvi. Farhat has played an important role in Urdu journalism for many years. As a senior journalist, she was associated with Sahara India Media Group. She has excelled in the service of Urdu journalism. She hails from the state of Uttar Pradesh and has done research work in other subjects as well. In which there is research work, especially on Khwatine’s Marsia Nigari. Apart from this, the biggest thing is that Farhat Rizvi has translated Ramayana into Urdu which is becoming very popular. She says, “Since the country we live in is a legacy of the Ganga-Jamuna civilization, we should follow this legacy.”
Arfa Khanum Sherwani
Arfa Khanum Sherwani is an Indian journalist who was the only Indian journalist to cover the 2014 Afghan presidential election. Arfa has also received the Sahitya Samman Award from the Hindi Academy, Government of India. She is currently the Senior Editor of Hindi and Urdu ‘The Wire’.
Arfa Khanum Sherwani was born on 1 November 1980 in Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh. She did her primary education in Bulandshahr and obtained her B.Sc degree from Chaudhary Charan Singh University, Meerut and then went to Aligarh Muslim University and completed her Diploma in Journalism. She wrote her PhD dissertation under the name Dalit and Muslim from Jamia Millia Islamia.
Arfa started her journalism career in 2000. She first joined The Pioneer for an internship and then joined Asian Age. During this, she was also associated with Sahara TV. She started working for NDTV in 2003 as a news anchor and chief correspondent. She did field reporting as well as anchoring.
A special feature of Arfa was that during the field reporting she paid a lot of attention to the issues of minorities and did investigative journalism about them.
Arfa did independent journalism while studying at Jamia Millia Islamia. She was associated with Rajya Sabha TV till 2017. Arfa is currently the Senior Editor of Hindi and Urdu ‘The Wire’. Her best articles are published in ‘The Wire’ in Urdu. Her articles are based on the current circumstances which attract readers towards her.
If we talk about the present times, there is no denying that at present, many Muslim girls are getting out of their doorsteps to prove their mettle in Urdu journalism. In 2001, ETV Urdu had a Muslim woman named Pamposh, who can be called the first Urdu newsreader for ETV, who hailed from Maharashtra.
Also, Muslim women Urdu journalists like Asifa Fatmi, Hina Zubair, Sana Waris (all from Uttar Pradesh) are performing best in the service of Urdu. Some of the prominent names of Urdu newsreaders and field reporters, who are serving to irrigate and promote Urdu are Reshma Aftab, Almi Sahara (Delhi), Noshin Munsif (Hyderabad), Shabana Ejaz and Shama Afroz (Kolkata).