NEW DELHI: Ghulam Nabi Azad, who virtually heads G-23, a ginger group of leaders seeking an overhaul of the Congress leadership, on Wednesday met NCP supremo Sharad Pawar.
The meeting comes at a time when Azad and the 'Group of 23' have called for "collective and inclusive leadership" at all levels within the Congress, and made a strong pitch for larger opposition unity to take on the BJP.
Pawar, who had succeeded in forging an unlikely alliance with the Congress and Shiv Sena in Maharashtra to deny the BJP a chance to form the government, is seen by many as a magnet for opposition unity.
The Maratha leader has friends and followers across the political divide.
Sources close to Pawar said Azad usually calls on the NCP surpemo whenever the latter is in the national capital during Parliament sessions.
Azad on Wednesday said it was a "big mistake" not to make India's freedom struggle a compulsory subject in all languages ??in 1947 as it allowed people to question each other's patriotism and commitment to the country.
At a programme organised here marking 200 years of Urdu journalism, he claimed that governments do not consider it appropriate to give advertisements to Urdu newspapers.
"I do not blame any one government for this. No government, no party promotes Urdu and giving advertisements to Urdu newspapers," he said.
In the programme, former vice president Hamid Ansari said, "In the 200-year history of Urdu journalism, apart from the last 75 years, 125 years were of slavery."
"In those days it was very difficult for newspapers to say anything," he said.
"Urdu is no longer just the language of India or the subcontinent, but it has become a global language. Urdu is being taught in all the countries from Australia to America," he said.
Ansari said that a strange situation has arisen in his country that the number of people reading Urdu is declining.
Azad, a former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, said that Urdu journalists and Urdu speakers have made sacrifices in the freedom struggle, but people are not aware of it.
"In 1947, we made a big mistake. The freedom struggle should have been made a compulsory subject, but we made English and Mathematics compulsory," he said.
"We should have made the history of the independence movement of India a compulsory subject and should have done so in every language. With this, no one today would have asked (from another person) who are you? Are you from here or outside? What is your part in this country?" he said.