India’s Modi government is employing Bollywood to promote Urdu. The decision comes with the realization that Modi’s government is lagging behind private players in its bid to promote the language.
While the Modi government is not fond of Urdu-speaking Pakistan, the Indian Prime Minister still wants Bollywood stars to promote the language.
The National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL), an autonomous body under the Ministry of Human Resource Development, intends to get Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif and Shahrukh Khan onboard to promote the Urdu language.
Five years of UPA govt. Budget for promotion of Urdu Language spent through NCPUL, RS 176.48 cr. Budget between 2014-19 (five years of Modi) Rs 333.16 cr..
— . (@iftikhargilani) March 16, 2019
For the Love of Urdu?
The NCPUL has not been proactive in promoting Urdu for a while now. Private players that organize events for the promotion of Urdu have already scooped up masses of young people.
“The council has been tasked with the job of promoting Urdu as a language but all that we have been doing so far is producing literature in the language. We want to now focus more on promoting the language and not just the literature.”
Director of NCPUL, Aquil Ahmed told The Print that the organization plans to have famed Bollywood celebrities like Shahrukh Khan and Salman Khan say a few lines in Urdu and then use those videos in events.
The director said that since art and cinema popularized the language, its only fitting that art and cinema be used as a promotional medium to further promote the language.
A Comeback for Urdu
While Urdu was big in classic Bollywood movies, the language was sidelined in contemporary cinema.
“Right now, only lyricist Javed Akhtar and actor Shabana Azmi are coming forward in support of the language from the film fraternity. We want more to join in.”
Aquil Ahmed also revealed that the NCPUL will approach the Film and Television Institute of India to urge them to ‘make the actors endorse use of the language’.
Not everyone is happy about it
Not everyone is happy with this development. Indian nationalists aren’t fond of anything that does not conform with a singular national identity.
NCPUL publishes books in Urdu, runs diploma courses in both Arabic & Urdu, and even organises conferences to promote these languages. Now it wants to rope in #ShahRukhKhan, #KatrinaKaif & #SalmanKhan for promoting these languages. What not promote Hindi likewise?? @HRDMinistry
— Nawab Shahid Zaidi (@NaatakBaaz) March 17, 2019
There are some who believe why not make Pakistani publications available in India, since they are the basic source of Urdu literature. They can do it if they put that Pakistan hate aside for a bit.
NCPUL, litterateurs from pakistan should be the part of World Urdu Conference in Delhi.The pormotion of language is done in real way by the Pakistani's. And Pakistan should accept the invitation if the both country are in favour of language promotion.#NoPoliticsOnLanguage.
— Idrees Hussani (@id_hussani) March 16, 2019
And of course, some people smell a huge conspiracy here.
Actually they want to buy these stars for their election compaign.Indirectly they are using the money of NCPUL to buy them.
— MD WAJID KHANمحمد واجد خان (@wajidkhan1312) March 17, 2019
We don’t know about you, but does this mean Katrina Kaif will start saying ‘janaab’ with the end of every sentence now?