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Hamid Iqbal Siddiqui is on a mission to smarten Urdu school students

Shah Taj Khan/Pune

Hamid Iqbal Siddiqui, founder and chairman of Quiz Time, Mumbai, has organized more than 275 general knowledge quiz shows to promote the Urdu language across the megacity of Mumbai.

Committed to the promotion of the Urdu language and education in Mumbai, Siddiqui has been holding general knowledge quiz competitions in modern style for more than three decades.

He is so popular among students who are learning Urdu that as soon as he reaches a school, children gheroa him. They run towards him chanting “Uncle Hamid Iqbal aa gaye…”

Iqbal Siddiqui received the title of “Superstar of Urdu Students” long ago. besides, The Times of India publication has also honoured him with the title of “City Angel.”

Hamid Iqbal Siddiqui delivering a motivational lecture

Siddiqui told Awaz-the Voice that apart from their syllabi, today’s children must have a good knowledge of arts, science, sports, technology, politics, civilization and culture, film, medicine, history, mathematics, current affairs (current affairs), etc.

“It plays an important role in a child’s success in life. If we look at our education and job entry examinations, it cannot be denied that questions in general knowledge are asked in almost every examination and this percentage is quite high. If attention is paid to this aspect from the early stage of children, the preparation process for any competitive exam can be started from the primary school.”

Hamid Iqbal Siddiqui said that it was during 1992-93 that he and some of his close friends decided to do something for the youth. “I was given the responsibility of teaching General Knowledge. I used to conduct Islamic quiz competitions in madrasas during my student days. I also used to make Islamic quiz programs on the streets by putting up a stage in a street, However, those programs were also quite popular among the students. Therefore, I did not face any particular difficulty in organizing the General Knowledge Quiz competitions.”

Siddiqui says that even before the advent of quiz shows on television, he had been conducting general knowledge quiz competitions with music, and full pomp and show. At the end of the program, children are awarded prizes, and Siddiqui also presented gifts to their parents and their teachers.

“We presented a gift to each participant in the general knowledge competition. We value his hard work more than winning and losing,” Siddiqui said.

Hamid Iqbal the presentation of prizes to all participants made him quite popular. He says once he distributes prizes worth rs one lakh.

Hamid Iqbal Siddiqui with teachers of urdu school

Quizmaster Hamid Iqbal says that it has been wrongly projected that there are no employment opportunities for those studying the Urdu language.

“Those who follow the outdated way of thinking and feel inferior are the ones. They are harming Urdu. Even today, Urdu is the source of livelihood for millions of people in our country. Urdu culture is still very attractive.”

He said that when Urdu is connected with modern technology, higher education, fashion, and entertainment many new opportunities of jobs will flow.

Hamid Iqbal has been working on sustaining and improving the quality of Urdu schools for years. “When the era of e-learning came, he introduced it in Urdu schools. We are continuing with that project without charging the school fees,” he said.

While visiting a school, he always carried chocolates and small gifts for the students. He asks the students questions during his lecture and gives away chocolates and gifts to those who reply or even attempt to reply correctly.

He however regrets the fact that there is no significant change in their condition. “In these schools, no special attention is paid to general knowledge.”

He narrates an incident. During his visit, he asked students the name of the President of the country and the reply was Narendra Modi. They didn’t know who the chief minister of the State was. “I realized that despite conducting General Knowledge Quiz competitions for 26-27 years, there is still a lot of work to be done. That’s why I am paying special attention and giving lectures in Urdu schools to change the mindset and trigger their minds to seek information and knowledge.”

In 1999, Quiztime Mumbai organized the first Inter-School General Knowledge Quiz Competition. The success of this large-scale program encouraged them to continue the trend in 2024 with the 23rd Annual General Knowledge Quiz Competition ‘Dhamal’. 2024′ was successfully organized in February. Fifty schools participated in this competition. A team of three students from each school participated.

A special feature of Dhamal 2024 was that not four but six teams were selected for the competition and they were awarded with trophies and prizes.

Siddiqui’s wife Zahida is the backbone of his operation. Zahida is a teacher in a government school and she spends a part of her salary on Urdu General Knowledge Quiz competitions.

Hamid Iqbal Siddiqui with award winners

“She is also my like-minded friend and a friend of Urdu. Ever since she joined us, the quality of our quiz competitions has improved even more. Acknowledging his wife’s talent,” Hamid Iqbal says that Zahida is the best organizer.

Born in 1958 in Mumbai, Hamid Iqbal Siddiqui is the grandson of Allama Seemab Akbarabadi. His family has been serving the Urdu language for more than a hundred years. He has been working as an assistant editor of the 93-year magazine Shayar published in Mumbai.

This literary magazine has been banned for some time now. However, he writes a column for the Urdu newspaper Daily Inquilab. Interestingly, Hamid Iqbal Siddiqui is a trained designer; he is also fond of poetry.

Siddiqui continues to participate in national and international Mushairas. Hamid Iqbal says there have been occasions when he had to choose between attending a Mushaira and children’s quiz competition, he settled in favour of children.

Siddiqui commands an interesting personality, has a charming voice, and speaks polished Urdu. When he picks the mike, the audience is smitten by his way of speaking. He does not let his words burden the environment. The children who participate in Hamid Iqbal’s programs remember him forever. He is very happy. “when I go out, many people coFlecme and greet me. Students who are under study meet me as well as those who are now holding high positions when they mention me.”

Siddiqui has no children and he keeps showering his love, compassion, and sincerity on children.

A few years ago, he wanted to expand his work. he decided to find scribes in the Urdu educational institutions.

Apart from this, he organizes the program ‘Urdu ki Mohabbat Mein‘ every year under the banner of Quiz Time Mumbai. he awards a person who has worked selflessly for the promotion of the language. The award is called ‘Mohab Urdu Honour‘ He has seven books on General Knowledge to his credit so far.

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Hamid Iqbal Siddiqui says that Urdu is a complete, modern, and living language. Like all the living languages ​​of the world, science, history, geography, and other modern sciences should be taught in Urdu. However, he says, a lot of hard work, effort, and struggle is needed to improve the quality of the education at these schools.

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