In 1938, when the struggle for India’s Independence was reaching its crescendo, and freedom fighters were less than a decade away from delivering that noble goal, Abdul Hamid Ansari, an educationist, a journalist and a frontline soldier of the freedom struggle all rolled into one, gave momentum to the mission by mobilising the Urdu-reading community. His idea was to start an Urdu newspaper. He was not a man of ample means, but his meagre resources never discouraged his revolutionary fervour.
Naturally, then, he named the newspaper “Inquilab”, simply meaning ‘The Revolution’. He could not afford delivery vehicles, so he would tie newspaper bundles to his bicycle’s rear seat and deliver it himself after spending the entire night at the press. He was the newspaper’s reporter, editor, publisher and delivery manager.
Cut to 2013. Inquilab, at 75, is today the most widely read Urdu daily, with readership spread across 15 cities in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Bihar. It is the only Urdu newspaper in the country to have spawned an English newspaper (MiD DAY) and an equally successful Gujarati daily (Gujarati MiD DAY). From being a single-edition newspaper headquartered in Mumbai, it now publishes from 14 other cities with more editions in the pipeline.
Inquilab is now part of the Dainik Jagran Group, and is considered a torchbearer in the field of education, employment, business and community issues. Its 75th year celebrations were kicked off with the unveiling of a special masthead that will run for the entire year. Through the year, there will be community-connect programmes, special editorial campaigns and initiatives, and on-ground events to reach out to the Urdu speaking community, which has supported this publication despite the dominance of English in the media environment.
The truth is that Urdu schools are flourishing, and students increasingly believe that Urdu is a language close to their hearts, and that it keeps them connected to their roots. With more young readers reading Inquilab, we intend to celebrate the occasion to reinforce the spirit of Urdu as a language of composite culture of the country. With your support, dear readers, Inquilab will only grow, and will be able to serve you better. Here’s looking forward to an eventful year with you. Thank you.
Shahid Latif is the Editor of Inquilab