Prof Dr Shamim Hanfi, renowned Urdu critic and scholar from India, and Prof Dr Moinuddin Aqeel, eminent author and scholar of Urdu literature from Pakistan, have recently been named winners of the Silver Jubilee Aalmi Frogh-e-Urdu Adab Awards (AFUAA) [international awards for promotion of Urdu literature] for the year 2021.
The annual awards was instituted by Majlis-e-Frogh-e-Urdu Adab (MFUA), world-renowned Qatar-based Urdu literary organisation, in 1996.
The award will be presented to the winners at a function in October or November this year, subject to approval by the Ministry of Culture and Sports, Qatar.
The award carries a cash prize of Rs150,000 and a gold medal for each winner. It is given every year to a fiction writer and/or research scholar and/or critic, one each from Pakistan and India, for their significant contribution towards the promotion of Urdu language and literature.
Mohamed Atiq, chairman of the Majlis, said the award winners were unanimously chosen by two independent juries, comprising reputed Urdu scholars, in New Delhi and Lahore.
Both meetings were conducted online.
The Indian jury comprised Padma Bhushan winner and former chairman of the Sahitya Academy India and an outstanding critic, researcher and intellectual, Prof Dr Gopi Chand Narang, as chairman, with Prof Shafey Kidwai, Chander Bhan Khayal, Nawaid Anjum and Haqqani Al-Qasmi, as members.
The Pakistani panel was headed by renowned scholar, critic, researcher and poet Prof Dr Khurshid Rizvi with Prof Fateh Mohamed Malik, Prof Dr Tehsin Firaqi and Prof Dr Zahid Munir Aamir, as members.
Announcing the award, Narang said that Hanfi is recognised as an outstanding critic and intellectual of the present times. He has rendered invaluable services for the Urdu language and literature.
Hanfi has been given this award for his overall literary and critical works. Hanfi was born in Sultanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India, on November 17, 1938 to renowned advocate Mohamed Yasin Siddiqui.
His early life was spent in Sultanpur before he shifted to Allahabad for his education. Here he came in contact with Firaq Saheb, who left a profound impression on him.
After getting his MA and D Phil degrees from the Allahabad University in 1962 and 1967, he got his D Litt degree from Aligarh Muslim University in 1976.
He began his teaching career with the Aligarh Muslim University. In February 1976, he joined the Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi from where he has retired a few years ago.
Jamia Milia Islamia has honoured and retained him with the title of Professor Emeritus.
Hanfi is an Urdu critic, dramatist, historian, poet and proponent of modernist movement in Urdu literature. His books on modernism include Jadidiyat Ki Falsafiana Asaas and Nai She’ri Rawayat.
His other books on criticism include Ghazal ka Manzarnama, Kahani Ke Paanch Rang, Firaq, Shair-wa- Shakhs, Dayar-e-Shab ka Musafir, Iqbal ka Harf-e-Tamanna, Ghalib ki Takhleeqi Haissiyet, Tareekh Tehzeeb aur Takhleeqi Tajreba.
He presently resides in New Delhi and serves as patron to many literary societies and organisations like the Ghalib Academy, Anjuman Taraqqi Urdu Hind, Ghalib Institute and Rekhta.
He has written many papers – 100 in India and 50 abroad – which have been published in refereed journals. The numbers of his papers published in conferences, seminars, and workshops are 50 in India and 20 abroad. He has also written 20 books on criticism, translated five books from other languages, written four plays and five books for children.
In recognition of his services to Urdu language and literature, he has been honoured with the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Award, West Bengal’s Pervaiz Shahidi Award, Delhi’s Urdu Academy Award, Ghalib Award etc.
Prof Dr Moinuddin Aqeel, award winner from Pakistan, was born on June 25, 1946, in India. He possesses a remarkable prominence of being among the most eminent Urdu scholars and writers of literature, history and culture of Muslims of South Asia and is considered widely as an invaluable academic asset.
He passed his matriculation examination from Government High School Landhi, Karachi in 1963, intermediate examination from Urdu College, Karachi in 1965, BA from Karachi University in 1968 and MA from same university in 1969 in first class first position, on the basis of which he was given the Anjuman e Tarraqi e Urdu – Pakistan Award. He got his PhD and D Litt degrees from Karachi University in 1975 and 2003 respectively.
In 1967, Dr Aqeel joined the US embassy as an Urdu teacher. In 1968, he received an offer from the Oriental University Naples, Italy and worked there in the Asian Studies Centre for two years.
During the same time, he visited a number of universities in Europe, studied their libraries, gave extensive lectures and attended many seminars.
In 1970, he joined the Pakistan Ship-owners College. In 1984, he joined the Karachi University.
In 1993, he received an offer from the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Japan, as an Urdu lecturer, where he worked till 2000.
He also taught in Osaka, Kyoto, Daito Banka universities in Japan and Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Language School.
He then returned to Pakistan and worked for four years as head of Urdu department, Karachi University and director of the Bureau of Composition and Translation.
In 2006, he joined the International Islamic University, Islamabad, as chairman and dean, Faculty of Languages and Literature.
Aqeel is a prolific scholar and has travelled globally to deliver lectures.
He has authored, edited and compiled over 70 books and about 400 research articles in Urdu and English languages, which have been printed in internationally reputed journals and has contributed chapters and papers in encyclopaedias and scholarly compendiums.
As a book-lover, Aqeel maintains his personal library, containing books, manuscripts, documents and microfilms of his interest in South Asian history and culture of Muslims.
In 2012, he donated 28,000 books, 80% of his stock, to the Asia Africa Area Studies Centre at Kyoto University, Japan which has preserved them in their library as ‘Aqeel Collection.’
Besides several official appreciations and recognitions, Dr Aqeel was conferred the highest civil award Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon by the emperor of Japan in April 2013.
Further, a Festchrift, titled ‘History, Literature and Scholarly Perspectives, South and West Asian Context, presented in honour of Dr Moinuddin Aqeel, consists of articles from scholars of Pakistan, Japan, India, Turkey, US, and UK.
It was edited by Dr Jawed Ahmed Khursheed and Dr Khalid Ameen and published by Islamic Research Academy, Karachi in June 2016.
Aqeel is well-versed with Urdu, English, Persian, Arabic, Hindi, Italian and Japanese languages.
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