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This regime's doings are no surprise: Nayantara Sahgal on name changing of Uttarakhand rail stations

After Indian Railways decided to replace Urdu names of Uttarakhand railway stations by Sanskrit, voices have emerged terming the move 'Apathy' and 'Exclusion' of one language over another. 

Published: 22nd January 2020 05:01 PM  |   Last Updated: 22nd January 2020 06:57 PM   |  A+A-

Nayantara Sahgal

Nayantara Sahgal had returned her Sahitya Academy Award in 2015 in protest against the 'increasing intolerance' in the country and to 'support right to dissent in the country'. (Photo | Facebook)

Express News Service

DEHRADUN: Eminent writer and niece of late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Nayantara Sahgal said on Thursday that the doing of the ruling regime does not come as a surprise to her.

Sahgal who resides in Dehradun was responding over the decision of replacing Urdu names with Sanskrit ones. "Why should we be surprised? Everything they are doing matches their policy. Such things are happening everywhere in every aspect. From this ruling regime we cannot expect anything else," said Sahgal. 

Notably, Sahgal had returned her Sahitya Academy Award in 2015 in protest against the 'increasing intolerance' in the country and to 'support right to dissent in the country'.

After Indian Railways decided to replace Urdu names of Uttarakhand railway stations by Sanskrit, voices have emerged terming the move 'Apathy' and 'Exclusion' of one language over another. 

A petition has also been launched online to oppose the move. 

Swapna Liddle, a Delhi based historian who has signed the petition, commenting on the issue said, "I think that this move is less about including Sanskrit (because seriously, the name of the place written in Hindi and Sanskrit would be identical), and more about removing Urdu. This panders to the common misconception that Urdu is somehow a 'foreign' language, that we should be less proud of."

Liddle, author of various books about the history of Delhi further added that Urdu is, in fact, a language that was born in India. 

"Its script, while derived from the Perso-Arabic, was heavily modified to include the sounds that are not to be found in those languages, e.g. sounds of ड,झ,ध, थ, ढ, ठ, and many more. It was a script that was widely used in many parts of the country till some decades ago. The reason it has become less popular is exactly because of this kind of apathy and in fact deliberate exclusion," added Liddle. 

The online petitioners launched by Delhi based Yousuf Saeed which has garnered the support of around 1600 people till the time of writing this report.

The petition said, "Urdu is part of our shared cultural tradition and more living today than a classical language. Many poets and writers of Urdu have lived in Uttarakhand towns like Dehradun, Mussoorie, Roorkee, and Almora etc. In fact, Urdu and Hindi cannot be separated - many mushairas, Kavi Sammelans and literary festivals are held in Uttarakhand regularly with readings of Urdu poetry. Urdu must be kept alive in Uttarakhand."

Earlier, Indian Railways announced the move citing railway manual guidelines that the name of the stations in Uttarakhand will be written in Sanskrit replacing the Urdu on name displaying boards on platforms of the stations. 

The officials added that the name of the railway station should be written in the second language of the state apart from Hindi and English on display boards on the stations. In the case of Uttarakhand, the second language of the state happens to be Sanskrit. 

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  • Vajendra Joshi

    It is pity! The present despensation has not only narrow mind but also narrow heart. Mindless action is destroying age old culture to bring in semi-literate State!
    2 months ago reply
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