“Hindi and Urdu are two eyes of India, we should restore our association with it”
Bangalore: What was expected to be a stage for discussing issues plaguing the Urdu language became a show of authority with Karnataka Governor Hans Raj Bhardwaj training his guns at the BJP Government for ‘ill-treating’ the language which is considered a symbol of peaceful co-existence of Hindus and Muslims in India.
Bhardwaj, a staunch Congressman and former Union Law Minister, went full throttle defending the language at the World Urdu Conference which commenced on December 29.
“I will not let despair hold Karnataka in its grip. It’s unfortunate that politicians are trying to divide Hindus and Muslims on linguistic lines. As long as I am here as a Governor, I’ll not tolerate any discrimination against Urdu,” Bhardwaj said in his address in chaste Urdu.
Pointing out that ‘Indians are large-hearted’ and love their country, the Governor said that the “nation’s soil didn’t teach hatred against those who migrated to Pakistan during partition”.
Observing that secularism was not a ‘concept imported from the West’, Bhardwaj said: “Tolerance and peaceful co-existence were the cherished values of India during Mughal Emperor Akbar’s period. Later also, such ideals founded the Constitution of India which provides for freedom of expression. No government can lock people’s tongues.”
Allaying the misconception that Urdu was essentially the language of Muslims, the Governor said: “If we restore our association with Urdu, it can usher in a mass revolution. It’s absurd to say that Urdu is the language of Muslims. Rather, Urdu and Hindi are the two eyes of the country and so are Hindus and Muslims. Urdu is a culture which stands for and promotes love,” he went on.
Exuding happiness in the participation of Urdu litterateurs from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Canada, USA, etc, Bhardwaj said that ‘India’s most real friends were in the Middle East’.
Urdu became alien to its speakers: Rahman Khan
K Rahman Khan, Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, stressed on the need to detect what led to Urdu’s decline in the country. “Urdu’s decline made it a stranger to its own speakers. Why has the light of a language which once shone like a star faded? It’s true that the language became a victim of communalism, but it should be admitted that we ourselves made it alien,” Mr. Khan said.
He also lamented the ‘oblivion’ today’s youth have towards Urdu. “It’s a matter of great concern that the young generation is almost unaware of the great language. Forget reading or writing in it, they cannot even speak it fluently,” he added.
According to Mr. Khan, “it is not correct to put the entire blame on the government for Urdu’s pathetic condition. It’s important that we work together to promote Urdu. We should stop complaining but rely on our strength. We should take advantage of government schemes and set up education institutes where Urdu could be taught to the posterity,” he maintained.
Urdu a global language: Ata-ul-Qasimi
Ata-ul-Haq Qasimi, noted Pakistan Urdu humour writer and former Pakistani Ambassador, said Urdu had now become a ‘global’ language.
“It has proved that it’s no longer Urdu-e-Mu’alla but has become Urdu-e-Mohalla,” Qasimi said in a pun referring to the language of the street and the masses.