Nashik (Maharashtra): There should be a campaign demanding primary education in Urdu for Muslims to promote the language, union Minority Affairs Minister K. Rahman Khan said at an Urdu festival here.
"We all say that we are working for the promotion of Urdu language, but simultaneously blame others for ignoring it. The question is: what have we actually done for its promotion?" Khan asked, inaugurating a 10-day long 14th Urdu Festival in Malegaon town Friday, organised by National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL).
"It is high time that we all analyse the injustice we have done to the Urdu language and take corrective measures. The Constitution has given necessary protection to Urdu. Have we ever used this Constitutional right to demand protection of our mother tongue?" Khan asked the huge gathering of Muslim intellectuals, scholars and commoners.
He said the Muslims have never held a protest or a campaign for the protection and promotion of Urdu language.
Underlining education as the only tool Indian Muslims can use to prosper, the minister, who is an alumnus of an Urdu school in Karnataka, said there should be a campaign demanding primary education in Urdu language for the community.
The minister expressed concern over the shoddy state of Urdu-medium schools in the country and urged schools and NGOs to take corrective measures.
"Instead of being a community who depends on others, we should be a contributor and donor and always try to work and contribute for the development of the country," Khan said.
He rejected the notion that `mushairas` and public meetings would help promote Urdu language and called for grassroot-level action if the language had to survive and flourish, especially since many non-Muslims also love the language passionately.
Earlier, Khan flagged off an Urdu caravan attended by over 50,000 people, including school students carrying banners and raising slogans to promote the Urdu language.
According to Aleem Faizee, one of the co-ordinators of the festival, this is the first time the event was organised at taluka-level Malegaon, a Muslim-dominated town in northern Maharashtra.
In the past, the event had graced only state capitals around the country like Mumbai, Hyderabad, Lucknow and so on.
"We are expecting over a million people from the region and anticipate book sales in excess of Rs.6,000,000 with the participation of top 50-plus Urdu publishers showcasing their books and literature," Faizee said.