Dhabas,cybercafes… in JNU,doctors turn shopkeepers

They had enrolled in the Jawaharlal Nehru University with hopes of becoming lecturers of Urdu or Persian — once considered the language of rulers.

Written by Hamari Jamatia | New Delhi | Published: February 27, 2009 1:03 am

Staying in academics no cakewalk for Urdu,Persian scholars

They had enrolled in the Jawaharlal Nehru University with hopes of becoming lecturers of Urdu or Persian — once considered the language of rulers. But after completing the doctorate degree,all they could find were menial jobs. Today,nearly ten scholars armed with PhDs and MPhils have settled for non-academic pursuits — running photostat shops,dhabas and even a general store. Finding a slot as scholars has proved tougher.

* The son of a Bihar farmer,Mohammad Salahuddin,had no other option but to start a general store near the Tapti hostel. Dr Salauddin — as everyone on campus calls him — did his PhD in Persian from the university in 2003. He has also authored the book The Origin and Development of Persian Historical Novel,copies of which are available at NCPUL department (National Council for the Promotion of Urdu Language,now under the HRD Ministry) and also with various libraries across India.

* Md. Shahzad Ibrahimi,popularly called ‘Mamu’ in JNU and the son of another Bihar farmer,completed his PhD in Urdu in 2002. The topic of his thesis was Qazi Abdul Sattar Ke Tarikhi Navilon Mein Hero Ka Tasawwur. Today,he runs a dhaba — Mamu Ka Dhaba — located near the administration block of the university.

* Tausif,the owner of ‘Mughal Darbar Dhaba’ near Tapti hostel has a similar story. He is an M Phil in Persian.

* Md. Atiqur Rahman,a PhD in Urdu and his brother Aquiqur Rahman,postgraduate in Persian,manage a cybercafé and a photostat shop in front of the varsity main gate. The photostat shop,his regular stop as student,is now his bread and butter.

Anis Azmi,the spokesperson of the Urdu Academy,that works to develop the language,says finding a job is not easy. “There are several jobs for Urdu scholars as writers,anchors,school teachers and artists but unlike English and Hindi scholars they have limited options,though Urdu is the second official language in Delhi,” he admits.

Meanwhile,the competition is hotting up in the campus. Md. Gurfan Mustafa,from Bihar and a PhD in Persian,recently opened a cybercafé in front of JNU’s main gate. While Mustafa refuses to comment on the state of scholars,Azmi says the future is uncertain.

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