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World Arabic Language Day Celebrated at CAAS/ SLL&CS

World Arabic Language Day was celebrated at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on 26 December, 2014. The event was organized by the Centre of Arabic and African Studies, JNU in collaboration with All India Association of Arabic Teachers and Scholars in the Committee Room, SLL&CS.

The United Nations (UN) observes 18th December every year as the World Arabic Language Day since it was on this day that Arabic was recognized as one of its official languages in 1973.

Welcoming the delegates and participants, Professor Mujeebur Rahman, the Chairperson of the Centre and convener of the event, spoke about the ways of improving the standards of Arabic teaching and learning in India. He also sought support from the Government of India and the governments of Arab countries for the promotion of the language.

Egypt's Ambassador to India, Hatim Tajuddin chaired the function, attended by diplomats, scholars and students. Prof. Vaishna Narang, Dean of the School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, JNU, delivered the Key note address. In his presidential remarks, H.E. the Ambassador of Egypt, Hatim Tajuddin spoke in glowing terms about the deep historical and civilization bonds between India and the Arab world. He stressed the need for deepening academic and cultural cooperation between the two countries. On his part, he also promised full support and cooperation for the teaching and learning of Arabic in India, besides widening of areas of cooperation between two governments.

Speaking on the occasion, Abu Mazin al-Masoudi, In-charge, League of Arab States Mission in India, shed light on the contributions of Indian scholars to Arabic language and literature.

'Arabic teachers and scholars in India have made significant and unforgettable contributions to Arabic language and literature, and they are continuing to work for the development of Arabic language in the country,' added al-Masoudi.

The Chief Guest, Prof. S. K. Sopory, Vice-Chancellor, JNU, expressed happiness over the activities of the centre and said: 'Such literary events and activities enhance the prestige of our university.'

Professor Noman Khan, Head of the Department of Arabic, University of Delhi and President of All India Association of Arabic Teachers and Scholars highlighted the importance and necessity of the Association and outlined its aims, objectives and future plans.

Notable among the audience were the Mr. Noori Al-Malki, Director, Arab Cultural House in India, Prof. A. M. A. Abdur Rahman, Cultural Councilor, Egyptian Embassy, Dr. Mazin, Professor Emeritus Shafique Ahmad Khan, Cultural Councilor, Yemen Embassy, diplomats from several embassies and teachers and scholars from other universities and colleges in Delhi.
On the occasion, an essay-writing competition was held for the students and prizes were distributed by the V.C. and H.E. Ambassador Hatim Tajuddin. The prizes included cash and Arabic Calligraphy plaques given by the Ambassador of Egypt in India. He also gifted the chairperson30 Arabic books on Arabic literature.

Md. Akram Nawaz
Centre of Arabic and African Studies, SLL&CS


A series of lectures/programs organized by the CAAS/SLL&CS

Lecture by the Vice Chancellor of Zaituna University, Tunisia.

The Vice Chancellor of Zaituna University, Tunisia, the Oldest University in the Arab world, Prof. Abdul Jalil Salim, visited the centre and delivered a lecture on 21 November, 2014, on "The Role of Abdul Aziz Al-Thalibi in introducing India to the Arab Africa". He spoke at length on Al-Thalibi's connections and fascination with India. Al-Thalibi is a towering figure in Modern Tunisia. In fact, he is one of the key builders of Modern Tunisia and is highly revered as an ideologue, philosopher and statesman. He visited India twice and wrote extensively on India. Prof. Salim likened his writings on India to those of Alberuni' writings on India. According to him, Al-Thalibi's writings on India are considered one of the earliest and most credible sources of information about India in Tunisia. According to him, Thalibi was a true friend of India.

Leading Iraqi Poetess and Novelist shares her experiences as an Expatriate writer Noted Arab Iraqi poetess, short story writer and Novelist, Wafa Abdur Razzaq, visited the Centre on 9 February, 2015 and delivered a lecture on "Phantasy in contemporary Arabic fiction". Wafa Abdur Razzaq has been living in London and writing about her experiences as an expatriate Arab writer living in a western metropolis. She elaborated on the 'Phantasy' widely used by her in her novels. She is a prolific writer and poet. She has penned more than 35 books in poetry and fiction. Some of her novels have been translated into other languages and have received critical appreciation. She has been honored with several awards and prizes globally. She is arguably one of the finest female voices in Arabic poetry. She expressed happiness at her interaction with the students and promised all help and support to the students and teachers.

Noted Egyptian Literary critic Prof. Shareef Al- Jayyar interacts with the students of CAAS

Noted Egyptian writer, critic and Assistant Director of National Book Authority of Egypt, and Professor of Criticism and Comparative Literature in Beni Swaif University, Egypt visited CAAS/SLL&CS on 18 February, 2015 and delivered a lecture on "Contemporary Literary Scenario in Egypt". In his lecture, he dwelt upon the recent developments in Arabic Novel and Short Story in Egypt. He said that Arabic novel has come of age with the Nobel laureate awarded to Naguib Mahfouz and his contemporary novelists. The literary scenario of Egypt in particular and the Arab world in general is abuzz with very powerful, innovative and creative writers and Modern Arabic literature has fully encompassed the literary trends and developments taking place in the West. Later, he promised that as Assistant Director of Egyptian Book Authority, he would try his best to help the students of the centre with books and references and other material necessary for research. He was accompanied by His Excellency, Cultural Councilor of the Egyptian Embassy, Ahmad Muhammad Ahmad Abdur Rahman, who also spoke on the occasion and introduced the speaker.

Mujeebur Rahman
Associate Professor
Centre of Arabic and African Studies, SLL&CS

JNU-World Bank Book Talk on Addressing Inequality in South Asia

JNU Central Library in association with the World Bank India organized a Book Talk on 26 February, 2015 at JNU Convention Centre. This talk was delivered by Dr. Martin Rama, Senior Economist, World Bank (WB). He is also co-author of a recent book entitled "Addressing Inequality in South Asia", published by the World Bank Group in 2014. This book is part of South Asia Development Matters book series and freely downloadable from WB Open Knowledge repository. This Book Talk began with welcome address by Dr. Ramesh C. Gaur, University Librarian, JNU and opening remarks by Mr. Sudip Mozumder of World Bank India. The session chair Professor C.P. Chandrasekhar of CESP, SSS introduced the speaker as a distinguished economist working on Asian socio-economic futures and challenges. Dr. Rama began his talk with situation analysis of South Asian countries, explaining key socio-economic indicators, particularly those related to the current targets of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (UN-MDGs). Then he examined the trends in multiple dimensions of inequality, analyzing the drivers of inequality, and identifying the policies for shared prosperity in South Asia. Equipped with several charts and maps from the book, the speaker spoke about some glaring facts about South Asia, e.g., Government revenue in South Asia is low compared to the rest of the world; South Asian countries rely less on income taxes and more on trade taxes; much public spending goes into energy subsidies; electricity subsidies favour the better-off; development spending per person is lower in poorer states and districts; spending on health is mainly out of households' pockets; spending on social protection in South Asia is lower than in other developing countries.

The Q&A session that followed was lively. The session chair and audience discussed several issues related to the facts and figures presented during the talk. Audio recording of this event is now available at www.mixcloud.com/cssp_jnu/, an open access audio channel maintained by CSSP, JNU.

Anup Kumar Das
Documentation Officer
Centre for Studies in Science Policy, SSS


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