Nothing to See Here. Move Along. Just The Uncle-ification of Urdu in India


JavedSalim Khan has remained silent about the state of Urdu, after that Creation of Adam moment back in April when his hallowed fingers launched the site and issued a Nothing to See Here, Move Along: “Muslims find themselves safe in the country.” He does qualify it with a “They only need basic amenities, job, education, food,” which either reads as the particulars for a very good pet (“Friendly Muslim Seeks Good Home – it only needs a job, education and some food”) or the sequel to Roti, Kapda Aur Makaan. Salim Khan presents Naukri, Taleem, Roti – How Bharat Is Still Majboor. So no new work on Urdu for Salim Khan, and now no new words too.

If Salim Khan’s Urdu dilemma is that he doesn’t talk much; his former partner (in crime’s) problem is that he says a lot. Javed Akhtar is everywhere, his profile truly prolific. And now, for Rs 99 a month, he can be Active in Urdu on your TV screens as well. Considering my research for Jingalala Javed (to Akhtar’s credit, the voiceover for Tata Sky’s Isko Laga Dala tagline is very somber) introduced me to a Chetan Bhagat doing TV spots for Shaadi.com; I have to say the coming days were a bit Bizarro’s World for me. Javed Akhtar, while not exactly the Chetan Bhagat of “Doing Urdu” for the masses, has been savvy enough to keep the content – as the good people in the marketing department would describe it – naya, hamare liye behtareen Urdu, baar baar lagataar, chakachaundh chamak lane ke liye, khushbudaar, jhaagwala Urdu. Or, as they put it, “Monday to Friday: 1 Doha episode and 1 Shayari episode. An average of 20 minutes of unique content will be played every day, Monday to Friday. Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday episodes will be repeated on Saturday. Wednesday, Thursday & Friday episodes will be repeated on Sunday.”

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