Maulana Rahmatullah Farooqui: A committed journalist, passionate lover of Urdu language and culture

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Maulana Rahmatullah Farooqui

By Manzar Imam

Senior journalist Maulana Rahmatullah Farooqui died of cardiac arrest on Thursday night, 12 May, 2022. He was 71 and is survived by two sons and three daughters. His wife had passed away two months ago.

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Born on 23 April, 1953 in Bihar’s Samastipur district, Farooqui studied in several educational institutions of Uttar Pradesh. In 1968 he came to Delhi and took admission in Madrasa Alia Fatahpuri where he was also an assistant to author and translator, Qazi Sajjad Husain (1910-1990). He did Adeeb Alim and Adeeb Fazil from Punjab University in 1970 and also succeeded in the highest Persian degree, Munshi Fazil, helping at the same time other students pass Urdu and Persian examinations. He was proficient in Urdu, Persian and English, and had acquired mastery in translation from English to Urdu. He also knew Hindi and Arabic.
In 1978 he graduated from Madrasa Aminia, Delhi and started his journalist career with Urdu daily Al-Jamiat where he got the opportunity to work under distinguished journalist Naz Ansari. Farooqui then joined the prestigious Urdu daily Qaumi Awaz and remained its sub-editor until the newspaper stopped publishing in 2008. He was also associated with daily Jadeed Khabar. Besides journalistic services, he would teach Urdu, Arabic and Persian free of cost. This he did out of passion, personal interest and love for these languages. He taught Urdu to a number of non-Muslims. He would buy Urdu books and gift them to children.

Farooqui was thirsty for knowledge whose pursuit made him obtain a graduation degree from Aligarh Muslim University in 1982 which made him gain an excellent command of translation. He also did MA in Persian from Delhi University in 1987. He had even enrolled for Ph.D. in Persian but the study got interrupted, writes Suhail Anjum.
A friendly person, Maulana Farooqui had a deep knowledge of journalism. Speaking to this correspondent, author and eminent Urdu litterateur Haqqani Al-Qasmi, who had known late Farooqui for several years, said, “Farooqui Sahab was a great person with clean habits who loved and respected his friends.” He was a fine journalist, Haqqani added. Late Naz Ansari would often say that he had not seen in his life a man so gentle with such a keen eye for details as Farooqui.

“I have not seen a better servant of Urdu language and culture than Rahmatullah Farooqui. He was a ‘Mujahid of Urdu’ in the true sense,” read a condolence message of columnist Masoom Moradabadi. Both his knowledge and observation were vast and his life was fully devoted to learning and teaching. Mohammad Ali, a Ph.D. Fellow at Jamia Millia Islamia remembered him as a man of high morals, having a great sense of duty and an indefatigable energy for work.

For journalist Suhail Anjum, Farooqui was “an honest and kind person who did not pay any special attention to what he wore” but carefully watched the newspapers published from India and Pakistan. He had “a profound understanding of language” and remembered standard poems which he would quote when required. Urdu Development Organisation held a condolence meeting and paid glowing tributes to late Farooqui calling his demise “a serious loss to journalism.” He was specially remembered for his “commitment to work, positive thinking and harmless lifestyle.”

Having lived a meaningful life dedicated to journalistic and social services, the septuagenarian Farooqui passed away following a brief illness. He was buried after Juma and janazah prayers in East Delhi’s Mayur Vihar graveyard on Friday 13 May, 2022 in presence of bereaved family members, hundreds of his friends, followers and students.

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