KARACHI, July 5: The Urdu Lughat Board has published the 20th volume of the Urdu Lughat in spite of the fact that it faces a shortage of funds and human resources. The last volume came out in April 2004. The president of the Urdu Lughat Board, Dr Farman Fatehpuri, told Dawn that the 20th volume consisted of 828 pages and contained about 10,000 words, idioms, phrases and proverbs. He added that the first and last words of the volume were “Nashaat” and “Nh”, respectively.
The Urdu Lughat Board plans to publish 22 volumes containing 300,000 words, give or take a few hundred words. He said the Urdu Lughat Board’s good performance should dissuade the government from making any changes in its present status.
Dr Farman said work on the 20th volume of the Lughat was completed under the editorship of Dr Rauf Parekh who had joined the Urdu Lughat Board in July 2003. He praised Mr Parekh for bringing out two volumes of the Urdu Lughat in as many years.
Though the initial work of the Urdu Lughat Board — enunciation of guiding principles for Urdu lexicography, establishment of a well-stocked library, provision of books, appointment of scholars and staff, etc — began in 1958, the first volume of the Urdu Lughat came out in 1967.
The Urdu Lughat Board has modelled its flagship dictionary on the Greater Oxford Dictionary. When completed, the Urdu Lughat would enable the Urdu language to join the exalted ranks of English and German, which are the only two languages in the world to have such comprehensive dictionaries.
At least seven scholars of the Urdu language worked at the Urdu Lughat Board as chief editor. They were the late Dr Maulvi Abdul Haq (from 1957 to 1961), the late Dr Abul Lais Siddiqui (from 1962 to 1984), Dr Farman Fatehpuri (from 1985 to 1995), Dr Hanif Qureishi Fauq (from 1995 to 1997), Prof Sahar Ansari (from 1998 to 2000), Mirza Nasim Baig (from 2000 to 2001) and Dr Younus Hasni (from 2001 to 2003). Currently, Dr Rauf Parekh is working as chief editor of the Urdu Lughat Board.
Fifty-four people work for the Urdu Lughat Board, including 19 editorial staff. The library of the board contains about 15,000 books, including some rare volumes and manuscripts. In addition, the library possesses the first editions of all the classics of Urdu literature.
A volume of the Urdu Lughat is priced at Rs500, but a 50 per cent discount is offered to scholars, students, researchers, men of letters, literary figures, journalists, etc.