New Delhi: With the realisation that it has fallen behind private players in competition to promote the Urdu language, the Modi government is finally waking up to the power of Bollywood.
Looking to rope in superstars like Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif, the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL), an autonomous body under the Ministry of Human Resource Development, now wants to take a more proactive role in what it’s meant to do — promote the Urdu language.
The NCPUL has been facing a tough competition from private players that organise events for promotion of Urdu and draw massive crowds of young people.
“The council has been tasked with the job of promoting Urdu as a language but all that we have been doing so far is producing literature in the language. We want to now focus more on promoting the language and not just the literature,” Aquil Ahmed, director, NCPUL, told ThePrint.
“We are going to approach Bollywood actors, prominent names like Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan and make them say a few lines in Urdu, we will then use these videos in our events,” said Ahmed.
Role for Bollywood
Ahmed said Urdu has been “popularised by art and cinema” and NCPUL wants to use this as a medium to further popularise the language.
“Right now, only lyricist Javed Akhtar and actor Shabana Azmi are coming forward in support of the language from the film fraternity. We want more to join in,” he added.
Ahmed added that the government body will approach the Film and Television Institute of India urging them to “make the actors endorse use of the language”.
The NCPUL director admitted to competition from private players, especially Rekhta Foundation, which have popularised the language among young people.
The non-profit Delhi-based Rekhta Foundation regularly organises Urdu events, featuring Bollywood celebrities like Akhtar, lyricist Gulzar and filmmaker Imtiaz Ali. It also runs popular social media accounts — its Twitter handle has a following of 3,78,000.
On a simple Twitter search, the NCPUL doesn’t even show up.
The government body received a budget of Rs 332.76 crore from the Modi government for 2014-19, almost double of what it received during the previous UPA-II government, where it received Rs 176.48 crore.
The NCPUL publishes books in Urdu language, organises conferences at national and international level and runs diploma courses in Arabic and Urdu to promote the language.
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