The cool Urdu breeze is blowing over the stunning hill station Ooty after a 96-year ‘young’ Urdu medium school at Kandal – The Gandhi Nagar Municipal Urdu Medium Elementary School was upgraded into a middle school. It was inaugurated by none other than the diligent Nilgiris District Collector Innocent J Divya. Under the zestful administrator Innocent Divya, the educational scene along with the breath-taking scenery is looking up in Ooty! The 10-year old students can continue their studies after Class 5 in this 96-year ‘young’ school for two more years.
It is significant to note that the Gandhi Nagar School in Urdu medium was started at Kandal in the old Ooty town on 1st January 1925. It is the only one of its kind school in the Nilgiris. It had a humble beginning with only 23 students. The strength of the school was almost the same until 2016 – 2017, when Mohammed Ameen took over as the headmaster, according to the chief education officer Nazarudeen. As many as 14 new students joined class 6 after the up-gradation of the school, taking the total strength to 154 students. The District Collector Innocent Divya said that ‘there was a need to upgrade the school.’
The Ooty Municipality facilitated the school by building two new classrooms. There are seven teachers besides a headmaster. This school is the only school in Ooty or Nilgiris teaching subjects in Urdu medium. The students are also taught Tamil and English, added Nazarudeen. It is important to mention that Ambur, Vaniyambadi, and Vellore are major centers in Tamil Nadu with a large Urdu-speaking population. They have Urdu medium-high schools too. Urdu mushairas (poets’ gatherings) go house full in these historical places. There are more than 12 lakh Urdu-speaking people in Tamil Nadu according to the 2011 census.
The sweet languages — Tamil and Urdu co-exist and thrive in Tamil Nadu. You get to hear the musical greetings — Vanakkam ( வணக்கம் ) and Aadab ( آداب ) in Ooty restaurants and Ooty municipal market when you go for shopping.
Urdu does not have just Hindi as a twin sister. There are other sisters of Urdu – Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Bengali, Marathi, etc. All these languages make beloved India look linguistically and culturally beautiful!