ADDRESS DURING THE PRESENTATION OF THE ANNUAL KHUDA BAKHSH AWARDS AT RAJ BHAVAN, PATNA
30-12-2005 : Patna
Thinkers and the dynamics of society
I am delighted to participate in the presentation of Annual Khuda Bakhsh Awards. I greet the Director of the Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library, academicians, thinkers and other distinguished guests. The Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library is selecting the works of notable educationists for awards in Persian and Arabic literature, Indian history and culture and Sufism. I appreciate the pioneering work done by Khuda Bakhsh Khan in enriching the library collection of his father and later dedicating it to the people of Patna. I would recommend the translation of the works of the awardees by a renowned translator who enters into the mind of the author and translates it with a mission. Then only the excellence of Persian, Arabic literature and history will reach the literary world and get recognized. I extend my congratulations to Prof Nasir Ahmed and Prof SAH Abidi for Persian language, Prof Irfan Habib and Prof Jagtar Grewal for their contribution in Indian history and culture. My salutations to late Prof Abdul Haleem Nadvi, who is being given this award posthumously for his contribution to Arabic literature.
Today, I would like to share with you a few thoughts on the topic "Thinkers and the Dynamics of Society".
Role of Authors in Human Lives
Many of you here in this audience, might have liked a particular book or books. Authors of the books play a very important role in human lives. A good book from an author is a great knowledge and wealth for many generations. Some times a book may not inspire the reader during the author?s life time. But importance of the book?s message becomes more and clearer as the time passes and its value is realized by the society. Then the book starts shining. Of course there are some classics which shine continuously for many generations. Authors and publishers have to realize that they, in an integrated way are responsible in making the book and the knowledge reach the society and people. Now I would like to discuss about my experience in Mizoram which brings out the richness of our culture.
My Experience in Mizoram
A few days back, I visited the North-eastern States like Sikkim, Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram. I had an occasion to meet many literary personalities and thinkers of North Eastern languages. They have contributed many literary works, including in the form of cultural programmes. I was moved to see a unique musical and dance performance in Mizoram. Also in Sikkim, I saw a fusion of culture of three groups of people, namely, Nepali, Bhutias and Lepchas in that integrated society. The music and dance was so powerful and beautiful that all of us were very happy to see the unity of minds and how these multi cultures got fused when the normal practice seem to be to project the differences prevalent in society.
One of the incidents that reflect the cultural peak of the region happened at Mizoram. Normally, no aircraft takes off from Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram after 1600 hours in the evening. Since I had work in Aizawl up to 2100 hrs and had to return to Delhi that very night, our Airforce organized my departure from Aizawl at that late hour, with certain temporary night take off facilities. I reached the Airport with my team. Then Governor, the Chief Minister, and other officials joined us. I saw an impressive scene unfold in the midst of darkness with only the aircraft lights on. Near the aircraft and at a safe distance, a choir group was in attendance with musical instruments. As soon as they saw me, they gave a beautiful lovely farewell song composed by a Mizo Poet Rokunga. The poem is titled ?The World of Parting?. It means:
"Now we part with heavy and painful heart
The world we live in has been destined for parting
By the heavenly father above
But we are destined for a better world than this
A city eternal, where we will never know painful partings"
I was touched by the variety of Indian panorama, emotional content of the tune, cultural diversity and unity of minds in the vast land of ours. I am glad that the Khuda Bakhsh is sensitive to this fact and honours the accomplished writers in different languages and Indian history. Developed India means not only economic development but also integrated development in art, literature, humanism, nobility in thinking and above all preservation of over five thousand years of our rich cultural heritage. Now I would like to talk about enrich the language using digital library.
Enriching the language with science and digital library
Enrich the language through Science: Persian and Arabic languages are mainly known for literature, poetry and ghazals. They are used as a medium of instruction in certain institutions in India and abroad up to university level in many subjects including medical and engineering courses. It is very important to bring a reference book by consolidating all the Persian and Arabic text books taught in various Universities and updating it. Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library has to take up a mission of enriching the languages with the subjects likes Science and technology.
Digital Library: The Digital Library of India (DLI) (http://www.dli.ernet.in) has already digitized nearly 2000 books in Urdu consisting of over 4 lakh pages. With this base, the Khuda Bakhsh OP Library should start a digital library programme in coordination with Prof. N. Balakrishnan, National Coordinator, Digital Library of India for digitizing popular works in Persian and Arabic Languages. For distance education, this Digital library can be referred during the lectures or transmission of the lessons. Persian Arabic Teachers can have a voice overlay on top of the digital library books for learning and teaching purposes.
In our planet earth, many civilizations had sprung up. But only a few of them survived which had the higher thinking capacity to see the changes, to see the future and the ability to adapt to the dynamic civilization. This ability is indeed the function of thinking capacity created by the literature, poetry, and the dialectical capacity. For example, ancient philosophers and in later years, the scientists, technologists, economists and sociologists all in unison enriched the civilization. Our Indian civilization had accepted the dynamic changes of multicultural impact. That is how; we have a society of a billion people of multi culture, multi language and multi religion with unity of mind. I appreciate the literary works of our nation, particularly the work of Academicians who are being conferred with Khuda Bakhsh Award today. It is indeed a symbol of promoting the literary and cultural tradition of our country.
I feel that our galaxy of thinkers and writers can facilitate the creation of enlightened leaders amongst our youth. Through their writings, they can inspire our younger generation and build the capacity for greatness of heart and spirit of mankind and remind them of the need for indomitable spirit with which they can conquer any signs of weakness and despair. This is not a duty cast on the authors, but it is their privilege that they can help mankind endure adversities and succeed in life.
I consider it a great privilege to confer the Khuda Bakhsh Awards to eminent literary personalities and distinguished historians. Once again let me congratulate the award winners and best wishes to Khuda Bakhsh OP Library in their mission of promoting excellence in literature, history and Indian culture.
May God bless you.