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Need for language ministry and translation cell: Dr Naresh

Dr Naresh

Polyglot author Dr Naresh has demanded a separate ministry for language and a translation cell to enrich and promote languages

Dr NareshNew Delhi: Ruing that scheduled languages are being neglected even after 67 years of Independence, polyglot author Dr Naresh has demanded a separate ministry for language and a translation cell to enrich and promote languages.

Former Professor of Modern Literature at Punjab University and Chairman of the Chandigarh Academy of Letters, Dr Naresh has authored over six dozen books in English, Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi and received several State, national and international level awards and honors for his contribution to literature.

“It is unfortunate that in a country like India where several languages and ‘bolis’ (local languages) are spoken does not have any ministry for language. Apart from that there should be an initiative like government translation cell to enrich and promote our languages,” he said.

“Language can be a strong medium to unite the country but the government does not look at this aspect. We are not aware of contemporary literature in other Indian languages apart from our mother tongue.

“There should be a government translation cell and they should publish the best literature of all scheduled languages annually,” he said.

He also said languages like Hindi, Urdu and English should be declared the country’s cultural languages as they have mass base and do not belong to any particular region.

“The real problem was reorganization of states on the basis of languages which caused disputes over water, land and languages. That reorganization was not pragmatic like Jammu Kashmir was declared an Urdu speaking state but who speaks Urdu there. Dogri is the language spoken in Jammu, in Kashmir they speak Kashmiri and Ladakhi in Ladakh,” the author said.

Dr Naresh said he had written a letter to late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi back in 1980s and to the current government as well.

“I had written to late Rajiv Gandhi and got some letters from HRD ministry then but that’s it. I wrote to current HRD ministry as well. I have proposed them to declare these three languages our cultural languages and they should be taught in the schools at elementary level,” he said.

Dr Naresh has written several books in Urdu including ‘Tashnalab’ and ‘Khushboo ka safar’. The author said he is deeply hurt by the ‘step motherly’ treatment given to the language.

“Urdu is our own language but it is widely related to Muslims. We must stop connecting languages with communities or religions. Government has opened academies and established awards to promote Urdu but that will not solve the purpose. We must preserve this urbane sophisticated language through proper education policy,” he said.

“If we can include Chand Bardai, Tulsi Das and Sur Das in our curriculum who were the poets of Dingle, Awadhi and Brij respectively then why not Ghalib.” the author said.

When asked if there is a dearth of good writers in Urdu, he replied in negative.

“It is not true. There are many good writers and poets in Urdu. We have seen the likes of Sardar Zafri, Kaifi Azmi, Sahir Ludhianvi, Khwaza Abbas Ahmed and Rajendra Singh Bedi post progressive writers moment. New generation loves Urdu Shairi and we must preserve this urbane sophisticated language and its culture,” he added.


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