At the inauguration of three-day ‘Jashn-E-Iqbal’, dedicated to famous Urdu poet Mohammad Iqbal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said she has been working for Muslims despite all criticisms.
“People criticise me as I work for minorities. I have been working for Muslims, this is not any favour. I have surveyed what they need for two years and then worked for them. My Muslim brothers and sisters should get opportunity in higher education. In two to three years, you will see the result,” she said.
The function was organised by West Bengal Urdu Academy, to commemorate Mohammad Iqbal, widely known as Allama Iqbal — the author of Saare Jahaan Se Achha, Hindustan Hamara — for his contribution to Urdu literature.
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At the event, Iqbal was posthumously conferred the title of Tarana-e-Hindi, which was received by his grandson Waleed Iqbal, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader.
Describing the Indo-Pak relationship as a complex one, he added that his grandfather had dreamt of Pakistan, but he also wanted the relationship between both the countries to be ‘saare jahan se accha’.
Waleed also claimed that Mamata was very popular in Pakistan, not only as a politician but also as a patroniser of Urdu language.
In her speech, which Mamata delivered mostly in Hindi, dotted with Urdu shayaris, the CM admitted that her Urdu
and Hindi was not perfect grammatically.
“We speak Bengali and thus, our way of speaking Hindi and Urdu is also like Bengali. We speak from our heart so little grammatical errors can be overlooked.”
Enthralled by the programme, Mamata said she wishes that the event is held every year.
“It is a wonderful concept. The entire country will be proud of this programme. We will celebrate this every year. We will felicitate those who excel in Urdu,” she added.
Claiming that the next generation should know Iqbal and his contributions, Mamata said: “His works should be translated in different languages. We would want the grandson of Allama Iqbal to come forward and work in tandem with us for a better relationship between India and Pakistan.”
She also asked the authorities to start an Urdu department at Aliah University and set up a chair in Iqbal’s honour.