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How Tarek Fatah And Tufail Ahmad Told Javed Akhtar That Urdu Has Been Hijacked

Published on 21 February, 2017 at 7:43 pm By

Javed Akhtar is a noted Bollywood lyricist. He has complete command over Urdu and other languages and is rightly acclaimed for some of the finest songs ever written in Hindi film industry.

 


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But despite being so brilliant in his field, Akhtar appears to be a bit weak in history. This is what lyricist Javed Akhtar had said in 2010.

 

Since it was 2010 and Twitter was not as ubiquitous as it is now, Akhtar escaped getting trolled. For history’s sake, Alexander is called “great” because in spite of being an invader, he did not butcher his enemies, burn their cities to ground, erect separate mounds of skulls of men, women and horses or indulged in bloodshed even if it could have been avoided. On the contrary, Genghis Khan did all of that.


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But no one told Akhtar how flawed his understanding of history is. Cut to 2017. Twitter is everywhere and people are quick to point out the silliness of things – including the brains of self-proclaimed intellectuals. By all means, Akhtar shouldn’t have tried to teach history lessons to anyone.

The lyricist took objection to Tarek Fatah’s comment on Urdu. Fatah was recently forced out of the Urdu festival Rekhta by a group of young men just because they cannot tolerate the writer’s comments on radical Islamism. Some of them threateningly waved their shoes at him and even abused him.

 

Tarek Fatah being heckled by a group of young men at Rekhta. Twitter/TarekFatah

It began when noted political commentator Tufail Ahmad expressed his support for Fatah. He pointed at how Urdu had been hijacked by Islamists.

Fatah retweeted Ahmad’s comment and added this bit:



It should be noted that Fatah has long studied the use of Urdu as a language imposed on the people of Pakistan, who were otherwise Punjabi- or Sindhi-speaking.

Akhtar tried to ‘correct’ Fatah over his remark on Urdu and claimed that Jinnah didn’t know the language at all.


At this Tarek Fatah gave Akhtar a history lesson:

Javed Akhtar then dragged the Hindu groups into the argument:

Then Tufail Ahmad highlighted that the language was not the problem. The problem is that it has been hijacked:

In the end, Akhtar tweeted this:


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Both Fatah’s and Ahmad’s point was that Urdu was used by those who demanded Pakistan and is being used by Islamists as well. The fact is that Pakistan tried to impose Urdu on the Bengali-speaking majority in West Pakistan. That led to the first spark for Bengali nationalism on February 21, 1952. People opposed Urdu; some were shot dead by Pakistani authorities. By 1971 the spark had turned into an inferno leading to the formation of Bangladesh.

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