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Popular Urdu magazines, Noor and Hilal, facing closure

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Rampur: Noor and Hilal, two monthly Urdu magazines published from Rampur played massive role in churning out a long list of writers, besides inspiring and educating several generations of youths.

It is an irony that no one is mourning the closure of Maktaba Alhasnat, Rampur that not just published Noor and Hilal, but also Batool and Alhasanat. While Alhasanat was instrumental in furthering the Islamist ideology, the other three magazines played a constructive role in keeping the young generation glued to Urdu language.

Maktaba Alhasanat has shut shop due to the lack of patronage of the Indian Muslim community and support from patrons and advertisers. Some blame also lies at their doors too, as they failed to re-orient themselves with the changing times.

My interest in writing has its genesis in Noor as besides benefiting from short chats that I occasionally had with its editor Murtaza Sahil Taslimi and my swapping of magazines that I got from around the world with him while in class, 8th and 9th, I made my writing debut in the magazine, while still in class IX.

Hilal, successfully transformed it under the leadership of young Abdul Bari Waseem, but it is also struggling. I just heard that they plan to shut shops after printing the next two issues of the popular magazine.

It will be great if old timers who loved Noor, Hilal, Batool and Al-Hasanat come together and try to chip in to keep Hilal afloat.

Maktaba Al-Hasnat (later divided between Maktaba Al-Hasnat, Rampur and Maktaba Alhasnat, Delhi) was the brainchild of Maulana Abū Saleem Muhammad Abdul Hai. He was one of the renowned leaders of jamaat-e-Islami and launched monthly Al-Hasnaat from Rampur in 1947 on the suggestion of Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi.

Maulana Muhammad Abdul Hai was elected member of Markazi Majlis-e-Shoora after the Jamaat’s reconstruction in April, 1948 and continued to be so till 1980. It was he who convinced jamaat leaders to shift their markaz or headquarters to Rampur. When the Jamaat headquarters and Darsgah were set up at Malihabad and the place was found to be not suitable, he, after consulting the colleagues of Rampur Jamaat, convinced, Maulana Abul Lais, the then Ameer-e-Jamaat and Markazi Majlis-e-Shoora for shifting the Jamaat headquarters and Darsgah to Rampur. When Hindi was declared the national language in 1950, he started a Hindi Islamic monthly Ujala for the Hindi knowing children. Again in 1954, he, with the co-operation of Maulana Mael Khairabadi, launched a Urdu fortnightly Noor. Later, hisMaktaba Alhasnat launched several other magazines including Hilal, Batool and Hadi, a Hindi monthly for children.

Muhammad Abdul Hai wrote a number of books in simple language meant particularly for the general people. One of his most famous book is Hayat-e-Tayyaba, a biography of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in simple Urdu. He also got published a popular translation of the Holy Qur’ān into Hindi by Maulana Muhammad Farooque Khan. Besides, he founded Jamiat-us-Salehat, one of the biggest madrasas dedicated to girls in Rampur. The madrasa is also struggling due to lack of vision of its current managers and untrained teachers.

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