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Renowned Artist Prakash Pathre’s Affinity for Urdu Transcends Linguistic Barriers

The multilinguist says: ‘I can make anyone who does not know the ‘Alif’ of Urdu to read headlines of an Urdu newspaper in 10 days.’

Mohammad Alamullah | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – A distinguished artist and linguist with proficiency in several languages including English, Marathi, Urdu, and Persian, has shed light on his deep-rooted connection with the Urdu language and literature. The celebrated multilinguist is an ardent supporter of the Urdu language and has a passion for its promotion.

In an exclusive chat with Clarion India, Pathre shared his journey of learning and teaching the language, alongside his artistic endeavours in calligraphy.

Hailing from a family deeply immersed in education and culture, Pathre’s upbringing was steeped in a rich academic environment. Surrounded by a well-organised library boasting books in various languages, including English, Gujarati, and Marathi, Pathre found himself drawn to the poetic elegance of Urdu. Despite Marathi being his mother tongue, Pathre’s affinity for Urdu transcended linguistic barriers, leading him to master the language and impart his knowledge to his family members.

Pathre’s passion for Urdu extends beyond mere linguistic proficiency; it encompasses a profound appreciation for the language’s aesthetic beauty. Reflecting on his journey, Pathre recounted his efforts in teaching Urdu to his father and wife, highlighting the enduring legacy of Urdu within his family. “In today’s era, the desire to learn and teach a language to the family has waned, but I am proud of my association with Urdu,” he said.

As an artist with a penchant for calligraphy, Pathre seamlessly integrates his artistic skills with his love for Urdu. His exquisite calligraphic works adorn various platforms, including Mumbai’s Bhindi Bazaar Urdu Festival and the Ghalib Selfie Point in Nagpara, where he pays homage to the legendary poet Mirza Ghalib. Pathre’s proficiency in Urdu calligraphy is a testament to his dedication to preserving and promoting the visual artistry of the language.

Sharing an anecdote from his artistic journey, Pathre recalled an exhibition at the Nehru Centre where his unique depiction of the letter ‘Be’ garnered attention from an art teacher. This incident underscores Pathre’s innovative approach to calligraphy and his ability to captivate audiences with his distinct artistic style.

Addressing the issue of Urdu pronunciation, Pathre emphasised the importance of linguistic accuracy and lamented the prevalent mispronunciations in the Urdu language. “Big mistakes are being made in the pronunciation of Urdu, which need to be rectified,” he said.

Pathre highlighted the significance of preserving the integrity of Urdu pronunciation, urging newsreaders and speakers to adhere to correct pronunciation standards.

In a bold assertion of his teaching prowess, Pathre asserted: “I can make anyone who does not know the ‘Alif’ of Urdu to read the headlines of an Urdu newspaper in 10 days.” His confidence reflects his unwavering commitment to imparting Urdu literacy and bridging linguistic divides.

As Pathre continues his tireless efforts in promoting Urdu language and calligraphy, his journey serves as an inspiration for language enthusiasts and artists alike. With his unwavering dedication and passion, Pathre embodies the essence of Urdu culture and heritage, enriching the linguistic tapestry of India.

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