Advani eulogizes Urdu at release of his book ‘Mera Watan Meri Zindagi’

By Andalib Akhter,,

New Delhi: Despite the fact that BJP could not get support of Muslims in the last general elections, the party’s efforts to woo the community are going on. The release of Advani’s book in Urdu on Thursday evening is another attempt in the direction.

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The senior BJP leader and the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Lal Krishan Advani praised Urdu like any other lover of the language in the country. At function to release his book ‘Mera Watan Meri Zindagi,’ the Urdu edition of ‘My Country My Life’, Advani said that Urdu occupies a special place in India’s linguistic bouquet, which charms everybody with its hues and spreading its aroma far and wide. He said that the language was not confined to any particular state or region. “Just as Hindi is spoken or at least understood in most parts of the country, the same is true of Urdu also”, he said.

The book was released by the eminent journalist M J Akbar in the presence of several Urdu editors and BJP leaders, including party president Rajnath Singh.

Seeing a good market of his book in Pakistan Advani said that Urdu-speaking people in general, not only in India but in neighbouring Pakistan as well, would be able to read his autobiography in their own tongue. “I hope that the book will help them know me better and also know more about my party and the many socio-political issues and developments that I have witnessed in my six-decade long public life”, he hoped.

He said that India was a nation of rich diversities and linguistic diversity was a very unique and proud feature of our national identity. “There is simply no other country in the world that has accorded the status of “scheduled language” to 22 languages as India has done in the Eighth Schedule of its Constitution. As far as dialects in India are concerned, their number may well run into thousands” he said.

Advani hoped that the book would help Urdu readers to sift the truth from many misconceptions that have been spread about the ideological underpinning of the BJP. “Is Cultural Nationalism a religious concept? No. Is it anti-Islam and anti-Muslim? No,” Advani said.

He said that Cultural Nationalism holds that India’s national identity is defined by its unifying and integrating culture, which transcends its religious and other diversities. “I was born and grew up in an environment of Cultural Nationalism. In the first phase of the book, which deals with the first 20 years of my life that I spent in Sindh, I have described how the social and cultural ethos of Sindh was informed by a remarkable harmony and peaceful coexistence between Hindus and Muslims”.

“I have illustrated in my book the best traditions of Sindhiyat by referring to the teachings of Shah Abdul Latif ‘Bhitai’, who is universally regarded as the greatest Sindhi poet of all times. He composed poems in praise of Rama. I have also referred to Sachal Sarmast, who described himself as a “Jogi” and advocated brotherhood among Hindus and Muslims under one single benevolent God” Advani said .

I have described how the Sufi tradition is deeply ingrained, even today, in my wife Kamla’s family. Her mother was a devoted follower of the famous Sufi saint, Sain Qutab Shah, whose dargah in Hyderabad she regularly visited. She used to sing Sufi kalaams, gurbani and songs about Ram and Krishna with equal piety. My wife’s sister Sarla and her husband visit Pakistan almost every year to pay obeisance at the dargah of Sain Nasir Faqir, another widely respected Sufi saint.

He appealed to the Muslims to understand Cultural Nationalism in the right perspective. “The tragic partition of India in 1947, on the basis of the spurious ‘Two Nations’ theory, created problems in Hindu-Muslim relations in India, besides engendering problems in the relations between India and Pakistan. It is time to remove prejudices and rebuild unity based on our common cultural heritage” the leader of opposition said.

In veiled threat he asked Muslims to abandon their claim on Babri Masjid. “The best and the most enduring solution to a sensitive issue like this is to arrive at an amicable settlement through dialogue between leaders of the Hindu and Muslim communities. I would also like to reiterate another belief of mine : nothing can contribute to Hindu-Muslim harmony better than a positive gesture by the Muslim community on this emotional issue close to the hearts of millions of Hindus”, he said .

On the occasion Advani also said that his party was firmly committed to secularism. “We chose to support and join the Ayodhya movement only because of the prevailing atmosphere of pseudo-secularism. If secularism had not been perverted to subserve the interests of vote bank politics, I am sure the course of the Ayodhya movement would have been significantly different”. “Votebank politics has not helped you. It has helped its practitioners, but not you. It has kept a large section of your community backward, economically and educationally, as the Sachar report has shown”, Advani contended.

In his speech M J Akbar said that no party can rule the country by ignoring 15 percent of its population. He also said that Urdu has not yet got its right status in the country after the independence. He said that the tendency of conflict creation was increasing in the country while there was need to resolve conflicts amicably. The editor of urdu rashtruiya sahara Aziz burny said that what Advani has written about killing in Karachi in his book similar thing has been mentioned as what happened in Delhi in Maulana Azad’s book ‘India Wins Freedom’. He appealed the BJP not to create problem in peaceful relation with Pakistan. Maualana Wahiduddin Khan praises the Advani personality as dynamic.

Interestingly the book was to be released before the general elections. But no known Urdu publisher was ready to publish the book. After much persuasion a publisher agreed to publish it but that too by not its original name. The Urdu edition of Advani’s book was published by some Khan Publications.