Indian screenwriter, lyricist and poet, Javed Akhtar along with his wife, actress Shabana Azmi recently launched an Urdu poetry album ‘Shayarana – Sartaj’. Speaking at the event, Akhtar emphasised the importance of the Urdu language and the role Punjab played in its growth and prominence, reported Hindustan Times.
Speaking at the event, Akhtar said that Urdu doesn’t belong to Pakistan or Egypt, it belongs 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 added that "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."
"Nowadays, new generation youths speak less Urdu and Hindi in our country. Today more focus is on English. We must speak in Hindi because it’s our national language," he elaborated.
He further said, “Language is not based on religions, but of regions. If language was based on religion, then the whole of Europe would have one language.”
Akhtar was recently mired in controversy regarding statements about Pakistan. Attending the Faiz Festival in Lahore last month he said that the perpetrators and conspirators of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks were still “roaming freely” in Pakistan.
Akhtar was responding to someone in the audience, saying, “When you visit your homeland, do you tell your fellow citizens, ‘we (Pakistanis) are good people, we don’t just bomb people but also greet with garlands?'”
“Blaming each other won’t solve our problems. We saw how Mumbai was attacked. They (terrorists) came neither from Norway nor Egypt. They are still roaming freely in your country. So you shouldn’t be offended if there’s a grouse and bitterness in Indian hearts over the 26/11 attacks,” Akhtar said.
He continued, saying, “I wouldn’t hesitate to say that though we have organised so many grand functions of Nusrat (Fateh Ali Khan) sahab and Mehdi Hassan sahab in our country, you couldn’t organise a single event of Lata (Mangeshkar) ji.”