The University of Chicago recently received a £52,247 grant from the British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme to preserve sixty rare and endangered Urdu periodicals through digitization. The digital images will be produced at the Mushfiq Khwaja Library and Research Centre in Karachi, Pakistan, and will be available through the University of Chicago Library as well as the British Library.
C.M. Naim, Professor Emeritus in South Asian Languages and Civilizations, will participate in the panel of Urdu scholars responsible for selecting the magazines and journals to be archived. “Thanks to the easy technology and low cost of litho printing, the only accepted form for Urdu script texts across South Asia, Urdu weeklies and monthlies began to appear in the 1870s,” Naim explains. “It was in the periodicals that all major modern writers and political and social figures made their debuts and gained popularity. And it is only in the periodicals that we can discover the full extent of many literary and political controversies that are only now beginning to gain the attention of scholars.”
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