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Concept Note International Seminar on “Contribution of Munshi Newal Kishore in Promotion of Oriental Studies” Date: 17-18 February 2016 Munshi Newal Kishore is considered to be the most significant nineteenth century Oriental book publisher from Avadh region. He has been called Caxton of India. In 1858, at the age of 22, he founded the 'Newal Kishore Press and Book D
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  Concept Note International Seminar  on “Contribution of Munshi Newal Kishore in Promotion of Oriental Studies” Date: 17-18 February 2016 Munshi Newal Kishore is considered to be the most significant nineteenth century Oriental book publisher from Avadh region. He has been called Caxton of India. In 1858, at the age of 22, he founded the 'Newal Kishore Press and Book Depot at Lucknow. This institution today is the oldest printing and publishing concern in Asia. Famous Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib was one of his admirers. Munshi Newal Kishore was son of Pandit Jamuna Prasad Bhargave, a zamindar of Aligarh and was born on January 3, 1836. Munshi Newal Kishore published more than 5000 books in Arabic, Bengali, Hindi, English, Marathi, Punjabi, Pashto, Perisan, Sanskrit and Urdu during 1858-1895. The collection of Munshi Newal Kishore Press was divided between two of his great grand sons, Ram Kumar and Tej Kumar Bhargava, respectively founders of Ram Kumar Press and Tej Kumar Press of Lucknow. These two competitive sons of Bishan Narayan Bhargava each viewed himself as the successor to Munshi Newal Kishore Press, and inherited a crucial component of the family  belongings, including books, manuscripts, letters, and other historically significant documents. It would not be an exaggeration to say that although he was a printer, publisher and writer, services rendered by him for the promotion of Urdu are unmatched and hardly any other individual can claim to have played such a great role. He  published some 3,000 titles in Urdu, Arabic, Persian and Hindi of which most were in Urdu. Another aspect of this great man`s personality that seems even odder is that despite being a Hindu, Munshi Naval Kishore took special interest and special care in the printing and publishing of the Holy Quran and Hadith. Munshi Newal Kishore Press published a large number of texts that constitute the canon of Iranian literature and culture for the first time in Lucknow. Munshi Newal Kishore did not limit itself to the publication of Persian books, which exceeded the aggregate number of all texts published in Iran in the nineteenth century. As a  publisher, Newal Kishore unified diverse linguistic, religious, and cultural trends  that constitute the formative elements of Indian history and civilization. His approximately 5000 published titles included books in Arabic, Bengali, English, Hindi, Marathi, Panjabi, Pashto, Persian, Sanskrit, and Urdu. By establishing the first Indian scholarly press in Lucknow in 1858, Newal Kishore played a  pioneering role in the national integration of India, the preservation of Indian literary cultures, and the formation of literary canons in Hindi, Persian, and Urdu. Highly respected by Muslim intellectuals of India, Pakistan, and Iran, he is an exemplary product of India's multiculturalism and Hinduism's ability to absorb, nourish, and coexist with other religious cultures. A very devoted Muslim librarian at the Nadwat al-'Ulama seminary school expressed his utmost respect to the Hindu publisher by referring to him as Munshi  Newal Kishore rahmat Allah 'alayh, (the mercy of God be upon him), which is only evoked to recall the name of deceased Muslims who are revered. It is said that Newal Kishore had required all daftari  workers to perform the vuzu  (ablution) before starting their work on the binding of the Qur'an. Another Muslim showed his utmost respect for Newal Kishore by arguing that the Munshi would defmitely be admitted to heaven for his contribution to Islamic studies. To appreciate the significance of Newal Kishore's contribution to the preservation of India's cultural heritage at a time when print culture was replacing manuscript culture it is necessary to review the impressive list of his publications. The staff of Munshi Newal Kishore Press prepared the seminal texts of medieval history such as  Aain-e Akbari, Akbar Nama . He sponsored the translation and the publication of Sanskrit classical texts including  Bhagavatgita, Upanishads, Rigveda, Ramayana  and  Mahabharata  into Persian and Urdu. Among his publications were eighteenth and nineteenth century Urdu and Persian texts on the Hindu religion; many have yet to be explored by scholars of Hinduism. He also published editions of the Qur'an and printed more books on Islam than any other nineteenth century  publisher. His staff edited, translated, and printed classical Qur'anic commentaries, collections of the Hadith and Islamic legal texts in Urdu, Persian, and Arabic. Modern Islamic Studies is greatly indebted to Munshi Newal Kishore for the  publication of the seminal texts of both Shi'i and Sunni Islam. By publishing classical and contemporary dictionaries and literary texts, Munshi  Newal Kishore contributed to the preservation and advancement of both Persian  and Urdu languages. Among the dictionaries edited and published by him were  Lughat-e Kishori, Najm ul-Lughat   and  Nasir ul-Lughat   in Urdu; Farhang-e  Anandraj  and  Haft Qulzum  in Persian. These classic dictionaries have been reprinted frequently. His contribution to the Persian literary world also includes  publication of scholarly editions of and commentaries on Shahnamah, Divan-e  Hafiz, Divan-e Amir Khusraw ,  Divan-e Urfi , and the complete works of  Jami, Saadi, Anvari and   Ghalib . The staff of Munshi Newal Kishore Press also translated, edited, and published an impressive number of medical dictionaries and texts in Urdu, Arabic, and Persian. Many of these texts are still used as references  by contemporary Unani physicians. They are essential for any serious scholarly activity in history of medical sciences in South- and South-West Asia. Munshi Newal Kishore was well connected to the intellectuals and statesmen of his era. He was a founder member of the Indian National Congress and in recognition of his educational endeavors had received the title of the Kaiser-e-Hind  . He corresponded with and visited the poet Ghalib, the reformist Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, Nawab Turab Ali Salar Jang of Hyderabad. He founded the famous Urdu daily Awadh Akhbar” (1858), the English weekly Oudh Review, and northern India's oldest paper mill, The Upper India Paper Mill(1871). As a publisher of  books from all corners of the Asian world, he corresponded with writers, poets, and intellectuals of South-, Central-, and South-East Asia. The significance of Munshi Newal Kishore is as a symbol of communal harmony in India. As an acknowledgement to his services and contributions in the area of Oriental Studies, the university has decided to organize an International Seminar on the topic “Contribution of Munshi Newal Kishore in Promotion of Oriental Studies” on 24-25 November 2015. The university hopes that these efforts will encourage scholars and researchers to re-evaluate Munshi Newal Kishore's contribution to India's multiculturalism and generate interests in the study of Indo-Persian cultural formations. Around 70 renowned scholars of Urdu, Farsi, Arabic and other areas of Oriental Studies are expected to present their scholarly papers during this conference which will later be published in form of a book.  
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