New Delhi: In a disturbing development, Urdu writers have been asked by the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL) to submit that they will not be writing anything against the government or the country.
Writers have been asked this in a new form which has been introduced by the NCPUL.
Writers, whose books are acquired annually by NCPUL, have been asked to fill up this form, the Indian Express reported on Saturday.
The council operates under the Ministry of Human Resource Development, headed by Smriti Irani.
As per the report, several Urdu writers and editors have received the form over the last several months.
It further seeks signatures of two witnesses from the authors.
The form was originally circulated in Urdu, whose English translation reads: “I son/daughter of ______ confirm that my book/magazine titled which has been approved for bulk purchase by NCPUL’s monetary assistance scheme does not contain anything against the policies of the government of India or the interest of the nation, does not cause disharmony of any sort between different classes of the country, and is not monetarily supported by any government or non-government institution.”
The NCPUL, in the form, warns that if the author fails to abide by the undertaking, then legal action can be initiated against him/her.
Authors have also been warned that in such a situation, monetary assistance given to them with also be reversed.
“If a writer wants financial aid from the government, then of course the content cannot be against (the government). NCPUL is a government organisation and we are government employees. We will naturally protect the interests of the government,” the daily quoted NCPUL director Irteza Karim as saying.
“The decision to add this declaration form was taken about a year ago at a meeting of the council members, which includes members of the HRD Ministry. The Home Ministry is also in the know of things,” Karim said.
“The council has to face many problems; sometimes books written by one author are submitted under another’s name and we get embroiled in legal issues. Since we do not have the manpower to scrutinise every single line of each book, this form helps us place the onus on the authors,” he added.
Meanwhile, NCPUL has dubbed the news about undertakings being sought from Urdu writers as false.
"A news 'Bulk Purchase Scheme of NCPUL' was published in a section of media about seeking declaration from authors who submit their books. Director, NCPUL has stated that the news item is factually incorrect. He further clarified that the form to be filled by authors is not new," a statement issued by NCUPL, carried by ANI on its Twitter account, said.