professor
Aftab Ahmad

Sep 2020

Aftab Ji has been one of my favorite professors! I have taken multiple classes that he has taught and he is equally amazing in all of them. I think what makes him such a great professor, aside from the fact that he is extremely knowledgeable about the material, is that he is also very obviously passionate about what he is teaching. His personality and excitement shows through in his work and makes the students equally excited about learning. By the end of the semester you learn about him as a person outside of class, not just as a teacher. I think language classes are very easy to mess up because grammar isn't always the most interesting thing to learn about, but Aftab Ji makes the daunting task of learning a language so much fun! The stories and poems he brings to class are always fascinating, and class is very rarely just a mundane discussion of grammar and spelling. Instead, we talk about philosophical ideas, spirituality, current events and so much more. He can recite complicated poetry with ease and always has the answer to students' on the tip of his tongue. He's also very caring about his students and always makes sure he is available to anyone who needs extra help. If you do badly in his class, there's no way it's because of his teaching.

Feb 2020

Aftab Ahmad is the best professor I have ever had. He teaches this 5 credit class with so much passion it doesn't feel like you're taking 5 credits. I barely spoke urdu when I came into this class and thought "I'm probably going to drop this after shopping period", but Aftab taught me, who was basically illiterate in urdu, the language in 2 weeks. He makes class so fun with anecdotes, and discussion on current world affairs. If you're struggling even a little bit he will instantly recognize it and make sure you get over whatever rut you're in. I think the success of this course is most accurately measured by the fact that I can go out and get absolutely wasted, and still be able to text my mom in flawless urdu. Aftab did that. Also he's super flexible with deadlines and exams - i think he's just a good person.

Dec 2019

Aftab Ji is an incredibly caring and thoughtful professor. He includes all students and makes sure everyone is up to speed. I went from knowing no Hindi to being able to read, write, and talk about basic things. In the latter half of the semester, he shows a lot of videos that give students a sense of Indian culture and also a realization of how much they can understand already. He has great taste in films, music, and poetry and is so unpretentious and sweet it was really hard saying bye to the class. I will miss his class. I wish he was teaching the next level. He deserves a silver nugget!

Jan 2019

He's one of my favorite professors, and I truly enjoyed his course!! He is so helpful, especially when you show you're making an effort, and attend his office hours. He really wants his students to do well, thus you should take advantage of that. He's not a harsh grader and if you try, you will do well. He also posts all of the class documents online, so you can look ahead or review what we learned. Aftab makes the class interesting and shows songs and videos to help us understand Hindi.

Dec 2017

An amazing professor! He really cares and tries hard to make sure everyone is included!

Sep 2016

Truly and by far the best language instructor I have EVER had. I have taken classes in 9 different languages since I was a child and he truly is the most gifted, patient, and talented instructor I have ever had.

Jul 2016

I took both 1 & 2 sessions of Hindi-Urdu in Summer with Aftab-ji, and I have to be very honest: HE IS THE BEST PERSON AT COLUMBIA!!! Take his class! You won't regret! He is super patient and nice and cares so much for his students. He is also passionate about Urdu poetry and shares many beautiful verses with his students. Nothing is easy A at Columbia but Aftab is definitely the person who really wants to give you an A! Just do the homework and get some preparation before the test, he even gives you plenty of hints if you forget anything. What else could you ask? Overall, I've learnt so much not only about the beauty of the language but also the culture and literature etc. Just take this person's class and I promise you that it would be the best decision you make at Columbia!

May 2016

Professor Aftab is excellent! He structures the course well, reviewing the very basic at the beginning and picking up the pace as the semester progresses. Over time, he incorporated more reading such as news articles and longer/more difficult passages. The spring semester of UFHS was more work than the Fall semester but it was definitely more enjoyable as well. I picked up so much vocabulary and many grammar constructions. Taking it a yearlong instead of just the Fall definitely improved my speaking and listening skills because at the end of the Fall my reading and writing improved quickly but listening to news and having conversations or debates with good vocab was still difficult. After UFHS with Aftab, you'll be ready for the world! You don't just learn Urdu, the interesting topics covered in the class expose you to an array of different thoughts and give you a new angle to look at and understand life and many cultural issues central to South Asia. Do note that how much you learn in this course depends on how much effort you put in. Some people wrote a paragraph for daily homework for example that for analysis of a passage and some wrote 2 pages. If I liked a topic in particular I sometimes spent an hour or two writing my views on something because I would read up on it and look up urdu words etc. Make the most of it. Aftab is great and so is urdu literature.

Apr 2016

Great professor, more quiet than others, but he really is approachable and very nice to his students.

May 2015

Prof. Aftab is the best professor I've had at Columbia! Take the class if you're a heritage speaker, take Elementary Hindi-Urdu with him if you're not. You'll learn so much about the language, culture, life in general, philosophy, morals, ethics and Aftab himself. It's probably because this class meets four times a week that you get to know him and his thoughts so intimately (plus the fact that it's a yearlong), but this class is incredible.

Jan 2014

Professor Aftab is the best professor I have had at Columbia. Take his class! He truly cares about teaching the language than the whole grading curve crap. His grades according to how much work you put in and how much you improve which is very nice of him because learning a language is different for everyone. If you attend his office hours, it shows him that you care which in return boosts your grade. Overall if you really want to learn urdu and care about the language/culture it is pretty easy to get a goof grade in his class.

Dec 2012

Aftab ji is awesome! He's a good teacher, though in a fairly subtle, quiet way - I feel like he always wants to make you feel you've arrived at it yourself rather than being taught, which is lovely and takes some pressure off. He's got a good sense of humor and will fairly frequently mix it up with Hindi songs or poems or his own reading comprehensions, so classes are fun. He always grades on time and is extremely happy to explain anything in his own time if there's something you don't understand. He's also just a great person and I hope I can take another class with him again.