Prime News, National, Language, Religion, Kolkata (West Bengal), March 23:- Eminent lyricist Javed Akhtar on Tuesday (March 22) regretted the way Urdu language is being bracketed as the language of Muslims.
Akhtar, addressing the inaugural session of the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet at the Victoria Memorial lawn here, pointed out that language could not be tagged to a particular religion and had an universal appeal.
“Urdu is (being) associated with Muslims as the language is spoken by (some) members of the community. This is illogical,” he said.
Akhtar pointed out that millions of Muslims in Bangladesh had said “we would not speak in Urdu sacrificing the rights of Bengali.”
Asserting he considered Urdu as a rich language with universal appeal through the past centuries, Akhtar said a language could not be tagged to a particular community.
“It is like saying English is the language of Christians. Hindi is the language of Hindus. Try saying that in Tamil Nadu,” he said.
Akhtar said there are one billion Muslims in the world and wondered how many of them speak in Urdu.
“In central Asia, in many Muslims countries they don’t speak Urdu which is more prevalent in countries like Pakistan,” the gifted polymath added.
Asked to comment on the pause to literary events like the Litfest for a gap of two years due to the pandemic, he said, “People got more time with themselves. We had time to revisit our experiences.”
“Life offered you packages. In every package you have some bad sides and some good sides. You don’t immediately know which packages are good and which packages are bad,” he added.
About his association with Bengali literature, Akhtar said, “From childhood Rabindranath Tagore’s, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s writings were introduced to me in Urdu language.”
A book containing some of his Urdu works translated into Bengali was also launched on the inaugural day, Akhtar told the audience, “Bengali culture and literature are highly respected in society for its subtleness and passionate nature.”
Poet Srijato Bandyopadhyay who worked on the transliteration of Akhtar’s works, held a conversation with Akhtar on stage, where he also read from the Bengali version.
The literary meet will be held till March 27 with several important personalities attending different sessions on art, literature and other topics. (Inputs: PTI/ NGB)