On June 5, 2020, Rekhta Foundation launched its Amazon Alexa Skill enabling Urdu lovers to enjoy Urdu poetry on Alexa. It allows lovers of Urdu poetry to enjoy hundreds of Urdu couplets by master poets by simple voice command. Connoisseurs will be able to enjoy this service on both Amazon Echo Range as well as Alexa enabled devices. At initial stage, it allows one to listen to almost 1000 poetry tracks from about 50 poets. To make it easy for users, the Urdu couplets have been arranged according to poets and genre like poetry on sadness, love etc.
It can be used by giving commands in both English and Urdu by simply saying “Alexa open Rekhta” or “Alexa, Rekhta Shuru karo”. It can also be used according to poet, genre or mood. example, simply telling it “Alexa, tell me a love shayari” will enable Alexa to play love shayari. At the launch of the service, the Country Manger Alexa Skills and Voice Services, India, Mr. Dilip R.S. said that “With over 1000 Shayaris to choose from, we are exited about Rekhta’s new Alexa Skill and believe it is a great way for poetry lovers to enjoy their favourite Shayaris in a hassle-free manner through simple voice commands at the comforts of their homes”.
According to Mr. Sanjeev Saraf, founder Rekhta Foundation, “With changing times, the ever-increasing charm of poetry has reached personal devices and Echo devices and Alexa-enabled smart devices perfectly fit the environment of personal leisure time. We are pleased to bring this home for the lovers of the language”.
This is a novel experiment and the need of the times. This will allow larger audience to benefit from vast collection of Urdu poetry. This may very well become a wonderful opportunity to promote the language with the help of technology. I am exited and looking forward to using this. Indeed, exciting times for Urdu and Urdu lovers.
The Sir Syed Excellence Award for 2019 has been announced by the Aligarh Muslim University, India. This year the award has been given to Institutions and not individuals in both national and international categories. The award in the international category has been given to the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies while in the national category it has been awarded to the Darul Musannefin, Azamgarh.
The award carries cash prize worth Indian Rupees two lakhs in the international category and Indian Rupees one lakh in the national category. The award will be presented to the representatives of the respective institutions on the occasion of Sir Syed Day Celebrations on October 17, 2019 at Aligarh.
The Darul Musannefin popularly known as Shibli Academy or Darul Musannefin Shibli Academy is a research institution based in the Indian city of Azamgarh. The idea of a residential academy where scholars can stay and undertake research was concieved by Allama Shibli Nomani (3 June 1857 – 18 November 1914) and he bequeathed his property at Azamgarh city for the purpose. However, he died before he could convert his dream into reality. It was left to his disciples to establish it. The students fulfilled the teachers wish and Darul Musannefin Shibli Academy was registered three days after his death on 21 November 1914. The founding President of the committee at the time of establishing the academy was Allama Hamiduddin Farahi. Malulana Syed Sulaiman Nadvi was the founding director and secretary. Maulana Masood Ali Nadvi was the founding Manager with two other members namely: Maulana Abdus Salam Nadvi and Maulana Shibli Mutakallim Nadvi.
The purpose of Darul Musannefin Shibli Academy was to:
Nurture and sustain a body of scholarly authors.
To provide a congenial environment for scholars to create, compile and translate literary works of high scholastic and historical value.
To undertake printing and publication of the literary works of the Academy.
The Darul Musannefin since its establishment has nurtured a body of scholars of repute. It provides a congenial academic environment for scholars to create, compile and translate high quality literary work. So far it has published more than 250 high quality books. Some of the best known books of Darul Musannefin are ‘Seerat -un- Nabi’, ‘Al Farooq’ and ‘Seerat- e- Aisha’.
The Darul Musannefin also publishes a widely reputed Urdu monthly ‘Maarif’. The first issue of Maarif was published in July 1916. The journal has already completed 100 years of uninterrupted publication. Most probably it is, at present, the longest surviving Urdu journal in the world.
Congratulations to Darul Musannefin Shibli Academy for the prestigious award. Let us hope and pray that the institution becomes stronger in the days to come.