On May 2, we explored the traditional Urdu brain teaser Moamma, TosNews in the concluding part finds out some more interesting facts attached to it and its scenario of existence.
A large number of non-Muslims also adored Moamma. One of them was Lucknow Anand Movie Theatre’ owner Late Sri Bipin Behari while others were professional doctors and lawyers etc. A great fan and expert of Moamma, Sheikh Sajid Hussain says, “Miyan(chap), one Moamma may be compiled from various books of different subjects and authors. It is a language skill enhancing game and can be solved only by educated people. For others it is a complicated puzzle which only gives headache.” People solving Moamma at Gharib Nawaz Centre, Aminabad are both Hindus and Muslims, P.P Gupta and Rajendra Rathore are one of the regular players till today and tell TosNews, “Many of us who solved Moamma in Hindi script, have now learnt Urdu. Actually, it was always given beneath the Hindi Script to refer to the Urdu one for without error Moammas and so our hobby earned us a skill!”
In 1970, Literary Moammas were started in Lucknow. On all the 7 days of the week, different kinds of Moammas were opened and people solved it. The game still continues, with diminishing number of players. After Shama magazine was shut down owing to its in-house problems, the number of centres came down drastically and also scattered the publishing of Moammas. One of the main centres of Moamma presently is the Gharib Nawaz Centre of Aminabad and a few others in Maulwiganj and Nakhkhas. Nearby centres of Kanpur and Rae Bareilly have also closed down due to rising rents of the space and less profits from Moamma; therefore the compilers from adjacent cities come over to Lucknow to continue their profession. One of the compilers Dularey who is passing on his compilation skills to his son has big hope from future, “Yes of course! The amount of money attached has gone down but this is such a rare skill and can still earn you bread and butter respectfully. Who knows, in the coming years again Moamma gets its age old recognition back.” Another compiler Saleem, who comes all the way from Rae Bareily to Lucknow for compilation, also hands over his knowledge to his sons and shares Dualarey’s dream, “Kisne socha tha Shama ka karobar Moamme se chalega, yeh to waqt ki baat hai kahiye kal phir Moamma sab par haawi ho jaaye. (Who knew Shama will earn its profits through Moammas, it’s just a matter of time. May be, tomorrow Moamma again attracts everybody)!”
When TosNews contacted Uttar Pradesh Urdu Academy for revival of Moamma, the chairman Mr Nawaz Devbandi informed, “Moamma actually faded away with closure of Shama Magazine. It’s completely extinct from Western Uttar Pradesh areas as Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Shahjahanpur etc. It was never a proper game and we will try to get proper information about Moamma and see what the academy can do about it.”
The Moamma lovers sigh over the extincting phase of Moamma. The youth finds Sudoku an HS (high society) brain teaser and today’s parents invest bucks on buying crossword for children’s brain development. The challenge is open 24*7 to the new generation; will they be able to understand the worth of Moamma if any or will they first wait for some foreign country to revive and give it hype like yoga et al. As for now, the Moamma players in their 70s and 80s are enjoying their daily game and can trounce the youngsters in less than half time. Hey guys, anyone out there wanna try?