Urdu Dictionary Board struggles to function
The Urdu Dictionary Board, which provided Pakistan with its first official 22-volume dictionary, appears to have operated without an administrative officer for over a year.
Over 90 percent of the department’s editorial staff have retired, leaving a single research officer to do much of everything that needs to be done.
Although after about a year and a half, the administrative burden of the Headless Long Dictionary Board was further transferred to the Director General of the National Language Promotion Department, Dr Rauf Parikh, its supervision also remained limited to its activities from the capital Islamabad.
The last chairman of the board, Aqeel Abbas Jaffery, was appointed editor-in-chief under former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 2016 for a three-year term.
His appointment was recommended by the National History and Literary Heritage Advisor Irfan Siddiqui, and it was under his tenure that the council successfully digitized the Urdu dictionary. It is then for the first time that Pakistanis have access to a mobile application containing each word and its pronunciation from the original dictionary in 22 volumes.
However, much of these exploits are told today as stories of the department’s bygone glory days.
On the other hand, for a year and a half, due to the serious shortage of editorial staff and the unavailability of funds, the department would be sitting on a pile of projects either pushed to the twelfth of never, or completely abandoned. .
One of those notable projects approved in the past was the launch of an Urdu dictionary for children, which now appears to have been shelved.
“It was because of the lack of interest from the federal government and the shortage of researchers that the project had to start quietly. Out of 55 positions sanctioned by the Urdu Dictionary Board, only 18 positions are now filled while the remaining 37 employees of different grades have all retired, ”said a source familiar with the development.
The main limitation of the department is that the positions of its editor, editor, associate editor, research officer and assistant fellows are no longer filled, leaving a single 16th year research officer to manage the affairs of the department. whole wing. While everyone else left under him are lower grade non-editorial employees.
Explaining the details of his tenure, former editor Aqeel Abbas Jaffery said lack of funds has been the main obstacle preventing the department from working on various projects, such as the now launched children’s dictionary.
Meanwhile, according to Tariqbin Azad, the only serving research officer in the department, work on various new projects, including the revision of an existing dictionary and the development of a new dictionary, has been relaunched as a result of the visit of the acting head of the council.
Speaking in this regard, Acting Urdu Dictionary Board Director Dr Rauf Parikh said he has started work on reprinting two volumes of the dictionary, as efforts are underway to improve the terms of the board.
“The issue of editorial unavailability has been discussed with the relevant ministry and details regarding the appointments have been sought. We send them in writing. It is likely that appointments will be made by including it in the budget for the next fiscal year, ”he told The Express Tribune.