Scholar and spokesperson for Urdu, Professor Gopi Chand Narang is also a symbol of the pluralism and secularism that was once the hallmark of Urdu tehzeeb. Excerpts from an interview:
What do you have to say to those who claim Urdu is the language of the Muslims?
They are misguided. This is part of the communal divide created by the politics of partition. They are not friends of Urdu. The most unfortunate thing is that sometimes our administrative machinery succumbs to such narrow views and implements wrong policies. In fact, the larger issue is the communalisation and politicisation of culture. This is also connected to the harmful and unhealthy vote bank politics.
The fact is that Urdu is a product of the composite culture of India and provides a bridge between not only communities but countries also. The labelling of Urdu by religion goes against the very grain of the secular genius of Urdu. It is detrimental to its growth.
Why is no other language marked by such a divide? English is the largest spoken language of the world, but has it ever been restricted by Christianity or any other religion?
Is Urdu in India dead, or dying?