SRINAGAR National Conference president Farooq Abdullah said on Saturday that Urdu had never belonged to a particular faith or sect, but there was a kind of “communal mentality” that is spreading a “malicious” propaganda about the language.
The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister underscored the need to give equal respect to local languages, alleging that homogeneity was being forced on the people of the country.
“There was a kind of communal mentality that is spreading a malicious propaganda about the Urdu language. Urdu has never belonged to a particular sect or faith,” Abdullah said.
“Urdu is a representative language of ‘Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb’ of India. The language has been watered by both Hindus and Muslims. The existence of Urdu language owes a lot to Munshi Premchand and others,” he said.
The NC leader was addressing a gathering here after inaugurating the 23rd All India Urdu Book Fair, which is organised by the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL) at the Kashmir University.
Abdullah said the “rise” of communalism in the country was taking a toll on the language.
“Today we see homogeneity being forced on our country that has always been known for its diversity. This, I believe, is one of the (reasons behind) the diminishing use of Urdu from our day-to-day lives,” he said.
Abdullah thanked the NCPUL coming up with the initiative.
“Events like these (fair) provide a window of opportunity for those who have a penchant for Urdu literature,” he said. “Such festivals and fairs will surely acquaint the new generation about the contemporary happening in the field of Urdu literature.”
The 81-year-old said learning to speak in one’s mother language was very essential for a child’s overall development.
“Being fluent in other languages helps a child in many ways. However, using local languages as a medium of teaching helps a lot in the cognitive development of a child,” he said.
The former chief minister highlighted that the Kashmiri language is known for its richness, particularly for its poetry, maxims and other literary aspects. “The need of the hour is to get our new generation acquainted with it,” he said.
Similarly, Abdullah said, the speakers of other languages take equal pride in speaking their languages. “Therefore, it is imperative for a government to provide patronage to all the languages of the state,” Abdullah said.
He said the youth should strive towards getting education, adding that it holds the panacea for all the problems.