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Syed Ziaullah, the man who started UNI Urdu service, dies

Bangalore: Urdu, a prominent legacy of the peaceful co-existence of Hindus and Muslims in India, has lost another of its stalwart.

Syed Ziaulllah aka Syed Ishaq (86), the well-known Urdu journalist from Channaptna, Bangalore Rural district, has breathed his last after prolong illness.

The end came at 10 am on December 26. His funeral prayer was performed at the Masjid-e-Alam in Channapatna’s Chhe Gate Mohalla after the Salah of Isha (night prayer) and he was raid to rest in the small burial ground of the town.

Mr. Ziaullah had taken up a government job after graduating in 1944. He, however, couldn’t continue in government service for long and quit it soon.

Later, he decided to make a career in journalism. He worked for Bangalore’s Urdu dailies Salar, Pasban, and Azaad for a long time. After the Emergency, he went to Delhi and wrote columns for various international news agencies.

Thereafter, he joined the United News of India (UNI) and headed its Pakistan desk.

It is to his credit that he started the Urdu service of UNI when P V Narasimha Rao was the Prime Minister.Old age, however, forced him to return to Bangalore but he continued to write for newspapers.

His phenomenal work is perhaps a beginner’s guide to Urdu journalism he wrote. Sponsored by the Karnataka Urdu Academy, Urdu Sahafat: Tarjuma-o-Idarat (Urdu Journalism: Translation and Editing) proved very useful to young and aspiring journalists.

He also visited Pakistan and wrote a book “An end without beginning” (in English) about the situation in the Islamic Republic.

The book was very well received and became a subject of extensive debate. While the book was proscribed in Pakistan, the Government of India included it in the list of recommended reading for army men.

Mr. Ziaullah was a principled and upright man and never comprised with his ideals. He courageously tided over difficult crises in life. He is survived by a widow, four daughters, and a son.

Mourning his demise, the Karnataka Urdu Reporters’ Forum said Urdu journalism was greatly indebted to him. Several awards and honours were bestowed on him in recognition of his services. May Allah Almighty (SWT) forgive him. Amen.


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