Islamic Voice
Zul-Qada / Zul Hijja 1422
February 2002
Volume 15-02 No:182

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Book Review


What Do You Call an Ostrich in Urdu?


What Do You Call an Ostrich in Urdu?

Book Review

Hazrath Bashiban Concise Dictionary
Compiled by M. S. Maktedar
Publisher: Mamoor Welfare Trust
737, 17thB Main road,
Koramangala, Bangalore-560095
Phone: 5538811
Price: Rs. 120, Pages 650

This impressive English-Urdu dictionary is the outcome of eight years of labour by experienced teacher Mohamad Ali Shahabuddin Maktedar at a mature age of 83. He has collected nearly 30,000 entries and provided exact, equivalent or approximate words in Urdu. By any measure, it is a stupendous work, though scope for improvement is immense going by the vastness of the project. That he had the initiative to see the project through is in itself a marvelous accomplishment.

The dictionary has attempted to get close to the meanings of the English words through a variety of explanations and alternatives. Some flourishes of languages are indeed pleasing to the heart and the ear. For example, when ‘inset’ has been translated as tasweer der tasweer one feels touched by the aptness. However, the author does not seem successful in several cases. In some cases, there seems to be a deliberate attempt to ignore the well-known equivalents. For example, ‘success’ can be easily translated as kamyabi but Maktedar insists on this being pasandeeda anjam. ‘Cavalry’ is of course ‘horse mounted army’ but ghursawar fauj is a poor translation where shehsawar fauj is a known term in Urdu. ‘Supercilous’ is nothing but maghroor but the dictionary puts it as nafrat zahir karna. The entry ‘strait’ has the standard Urdu equivalent in abnai and is commonly used in Urdu geography. But the dictionary provides a laboured explanation. Some entries carry totally wrong words as equivalents, e.g., Turmeric is haldi in India, but the dictionary makes us believe that it is lahsun. All entries begin with capital letter which makes it difficult for the reader to identify if an entry is a proper noun. One hopes the compiler will take due note of these discrepancies in the subsequent editions.Despite all these, Hazrath Bashiban Concise Dictionary is a laudable effort.

Maqbool Ahmed Siraj

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