Hyderabad: Press Council of India (PCI) chairman Markandey Katju Saturday said Urdu and Sanskrit are India`s culture, which unite the country, and called for making the two languages compulsory from Class 3 to 7.
Addressing a conference on `Urdu in changing times` here, he also called for clearing the misconception that Urdu is a language of Muslims. He said Urdu and Sanskrit were born from the interaction among "our forefathers who came to the country from outside".
"This is a country of immigrants. About 92-93 percent of people are not original habitants of this country. Our forefathers came from outside. The original inhabitants are tribal who are only seven to eight percent," he said.
"Their interaction created Sanskrit-Urdu culture. This is the culture of India which unites us," he added.
Pointing out that more than 70 percent of words in Urdu came from Sanskrit, he said the two languages have relations of a grandmother and granddaughter.
"We respect all languages but Urdu and Sanskrit have special place in our country`s culture. No country can progress by neglecting its culture. It is sad our children have decultured."
He said it was sad that after 1947, a false propaganda was made that Hindi is language of Hindus and Urdu of Muslims.
"The fact is that Urdu was the language of all educated whether they were Hindus or Muslims. I am a Hindu but my father and grandfather used to write and read Urdu. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also writes his speech in Urdu. Perhaps he doesn`t know Hindi. It was language of all. But this false propaganda was made to suppress Urdu, which is unfortunate."
Katju also pointed out that only five percent of words in Sanskrit are about religion and worship while the rest are about literature, science, law and other fields.
Describing Urdu as a secular language, the former Supreme Court judge said he read poetry of all major languages in the world but did not find any poetry as beautiful and sweet as Urdu, which touch hearts.
Recalling that as judge of Allahbad High Court, he had recommended that Urdu and Sanskrit be made compulsory in all schools from class 3 to 7. He suggested the same to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, who agreed to consider the same.
"This will help the children to have foundation about their culture. Thousands of Urdu teachers will also get jobs. After seventh these languages should be optional," the PCI chairman said.
The conference was organised by Urdu heritage carvan, an initiative launched by Katju.
Kiran Kumar Reddy, who spoke in Urdu, offered to host World Urdu Conference in Hyderabad.
He listed out the steps being taken by his government for promotion of Urdu and for the socio-economic development of minorities.