We remember the Danish Cartoons controversy and the reaction it evoked across the Muslim world. I was pleasantly surprised to find out about this amazing treasure of a website that also happens to be perhaps the first on-line Urdu journal of its kind.
The journal is called Ham-Asr (contemporary) Urdu edited by Huma Nasar & Nasar Malik. In its introduction the website states:
“URDUHAMASR.DK , is an internet magazine of studies in URDU & DANISH literature, is aimed at URDU-readers who are not familiar with Danish language but would like to read its literature. URDUHAMASR.DK provides them large varieties of Danish literature translated into URDU. ”
“URDUHAMASR.DK is also intended for those who, prefer to retain their link with their heritage language URDU. Urdu is a beautiful language of the Indo-Pakistan Sub-continent, and its literature is rich and vast, comparable to those of the few better known modern languages of the World . On the other hand the study of the Danish literature translated into Urdu can in itself be a rewarding act, regardless of the reader’s orientation. Like Urdu, Danish is not only a language, it is a culture.”
The website has several Danish short stories and poems translated into Urdu. In particular, the Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen (1805 – 1875) famous for children’s stories finds a special place here.
This is a remarkable effort and deserves to be commended. This also proves that not all of [Pakistani] Muslim diaspora is an inward looking, gun-friendly community out to ‘destroy’ the West as Fox news would make us all believe.
Literature, with universal relevance and appeal, has an important role in bridging divides in the fractured world we live in.