Linking Urdu to Muslims and Islam is wrong: Former CEC

S Y Quraishi

Hyderabad: Former Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi Tuesday said Urdu language does not belong to any religion and linking it to Muslim community was wrong as people irrespective of different religions speak it.

In his address at the seventh convocation of Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) here, Quraishi said, “Urdu is linked to Muslims and Islam… this is very wrong.. Urdu language is born in India. Urdu has grown in India.. it does not belong to any religion… people from different religions follow it… we have to remember this.”

Noting that India was the most diverse country in the world, he said, “we have had a secular atmosphere over the past 5,000 years. India is secular because Hindus are secular.”

On the educational status of the Muslim community, Quraishi said it was very strange that the community which had given utmost focus to education now has more number of illiterates.

Expressing concern over the educational backwardness in Muslims, he underlined the urgent need to look into it. Emphasising the importance of democracy and the power of vote, Quraishi, who was the chief election commissioner from July 2010 to June 2012, said it was “unfortunate” that educated people don’t exercise their franchise and “brag” about it.

“This not a matter of pride. it is a matter of shame and hence we had started the voter education programme.” “Every vote counts on the day of polls,” he noted.

MANUU Vice-Chancellor Mohammad Aslam Parvaiz said the University awarded 2,288 degrees in regular mode and 21,152 degrees in distance mode in various disciplines.

University Grants Commission member Prof G Gopal Reddy was among those present at the function. Earlier, a girl student created a “flutter” on the dais by holding a placard that read “SHAME ON CHANCELLOR.”

However, a varsity official took it away from her. Later, the graduate said she did so to condemn the allegations levelled by the chancellor against the head of Mass Communication and Journalism (MCJ) department of the varsity, over two complaints of sexual harassment.