Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sacrifice and Urdu

A language is worth the work of a life time for some.

I recently watched a short documentary on the last handwritten newspaper in the world. The paper is the Musalman and is not just handwritten but written in Urdu calligraphy. The paper is staffed by four people who produce the four page paper every day. Their love and dedication is amazing.

“I have sacrificed my life for Urdu,” Syed Faizullah says in the documentary. The paper was founded by Faizullah's father over 80 years ago to help preserve the tradition of Urdu calligraphy. Syed continued on as editor of the paper when his father passed away and now his own son runs the show.

His idea of sacrifice, really this family’s sacrifice, has resonated with me. Sacrifice here is not the idea of giving up one’s life but dedicating it to service of something outside the self; of giving our time and energy to create, develop, preserve or protect something that is important to us.

All we really have in life is our time and whether we realize it or not we are sacrificing our lives to something every day. Faizullah recognizes this, and more so, he embraces it. However, most of us do not. Most of us go through our lives not thinking about what we serve, what we sacrifice and when we do we resent what we have lost.

Our sacrifices should not be things of resentment. They should be gifts freely given to those people, concepts and ideas that we feel make the world a better place.

When we willingly give ourselves to these tasks of sacrifice great things can be created. We inspire others to share our passion to preserve the things that we have struggled to preserve and to create the things we have tried to create.

In the documentary we see the current staff speak with pride of their paper. We see them offer their dedication equal to that of Faizullah, a willingness to give their lifetimes to the paper.

They know why they sacrifice. Do we?


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