In early 1948, Moulana Abdul Haq migrated to Pakistan. He had reached there in poor health and died on 16 August 1961.
Moulana Abdul Haq was one of the founders of Osmania University, the first among the universities of India to provide education in Indian vernacular. He was social reformer and worked his whole life to standardize and establish Urdu.
Osmania University was founded as a response to West’s intellectual challenge that boasted the Science and Knowledge of New Arts as an exclusive fiefdom of European races. Haq wanted to enrich Urdu with the modern technical terminology and he was not hesitant to transmute and often borrow from other languages to do the needful. In one of his lecture Moulana said:
“In the life of every nation of the world, there comes a time where signs of deterioration begin to appear in its mental powers; material for discovery and creation; thought and consideration are nearly lost; the strength of imagination’s flight and vision becomes narrow and limited; the agreement of scholarship rests upon few customary facts and on mimicry. At that time, the nation either becomes defeated and lifeless, or to recover, it must accept the influence other advanced countries. In every era of the world history, there is evidence of this. And this is the condition of India today.”
His approach differs with other puritanical scholars of his time who insisted to maintain the antiquity and authenticity of the language through a loyal continuity to Persian and to some extent Arabic language. To reform and modernize the language a ‘Translation Bureau’ was created in conjunction with Osmaina University and Moulana would lead the new set-up. The bureau prepared new educational curriculum and it was a difficult task.
Urdu was a colorful language of courts and Kothas, devoid of any scintilla of scientific vocabulary. The bureau worked for 30 long years to do that. Hundred Thousands new technical and other updated modern words were added; over three hundred books were translated.
Great works were edited and rare manuscripts such as Meraajul Ashqeen (1924), Zikr-e-Mir (1928), Bagh-o-Bahar (1931), Sab Ras (1932), Nikat-o-Shoara (1935), Nusrati (1938) and Qutub Mushtari (1939) were reproduced.
An overlooked figure, sad to say, even in literary Urdu circle today, Moulana Abdul Haq is the greatest of the great Urdu Fathers. For a known and informed Urdu student, Moulana conjures up the image of a thoughtful old man with a well trimmed white beard and a crowning Fez-cap.
He was Moulvi Saheb for his colleagues, 'Moulana Abdul Haq Saheb' for his students and subordinates and Baba-E-Urdu for anyone bearing any affiliation with Urdu. His life was devoted to Urdu. His is known for his brilliant Urdu criticism, his standardization and modernization of Urdu grammar and vocabulary.
Moulana was born on August 20th, 1870 at Saravah, a small remote town neat Hapur, UP. His family migrated to Punjab when he was a child and settled at Firozpur. He got his primary education there and at the age of 18, he joined Momammedan Anglo Oriental College, Aligarh, founded by the Great Reformer Sir Syed Ahmed Khan.
According to Allama Iqbal, “Sir Syed was the first Indian Muslim who felt the need of the fresh orientation of Islam and worked for it. There can be no denying that this sensitive soul was the first to react the modern age.” Sir Syed never approved Congress ideology and that thought process percolated down through the orientation line of the institute.
Twelve years there and then he was picked up as Translator for the Home Secretariat in 1911, Inspector of Schools at Aourangabad in 1912. In this same year he was elected as Secretary of the most prestigious Urdu literary organization of all times - “Anjuman Taraqqi-e-ey Urdu.” He was its Secretary till death.
To conclude, just one example of his intelligent work:
English - X rays. Urdu - Aks rays (aiyn kaf seen, ray yay ze)