MUMBAI: Indian writer Javed Akhtar attended the Faiz Festival in Pakistan last month and made some offensive statements. On the occasion of his launch of an Urdu poetry album called Shayarana – Sartaj, he appears to be ready to bring another controversy with his recent comments on Urdu and its origin.
Javed Akhtar and his wife actor Shabana Azmi recently launched an Urdu poetry album called Shayarana – Sartaj. During the launch, the screenwriter stressed the importance of the Urdu language, saying it doesn’t belong to Pakistan or Egypt but to Hindustan. “Urdu hasn’t come from any other place… It is our own language. It isn’t spoken outside Hindustan… Pakistan also came into existence after Partition from India, earlier it was a part of India only. So, the language isn’t spoken outside Hindustan…” he explained.
He highlighted the role Punjab played in the growth and prominence of Urdu in the past. “Punjab has a big contribution towards Urdu and it is the language of India! But why did you leave this language? Because of Partition? Because of Pakistan? Urdu should be given attention,” he said. “Earlier it was only Hindustan — Pakistan later separated from Hindustan. Now Pakistan said that Kashmir is ours… Will you believe that? I think, ‘No’! Likewise, Urdu is a Hindustan[i] language and it remains [so].”
Akhtar thinks the focus of the youth has shifted from Urdu and Hindi to English. “We must speak in Hindi because it’s our national language,” he said, adding that language is not based on religion, but region. “If language was based on religion, then the whole of Europe would have one language. That’s why the language is not of religion, but of the region.”