Kolkata: West Bengal
chief minister Mamata Banerjee on May 26 said that the Urdu
language would be
given second-language status in districts with a 10 per cent or
more Urdu-speaking population.
She also declared the restoration of the word “Madrasa” to the
name of Aliah University.
The newly elected Chief Minister also announced that similar status would be granted to other
linguistic minorities, like the Hindi, Oriya, Nepali, Gurmukhi and
Santhali languages, in areas where the people speaking those
languages exceeded 10 per cent of the total population.
Making Urdu as the state's official
language was part of the newly elected Chief Minister's poll
Ms Banerjee’s announcements were welcomed by the Muslim community.
Shamim Ahmed, who has carried on a sustained movement to press for
the demand of making Urdu the second official language in the
state, said: “What the CPI (M) government could not do in three
decades, Mamatadi has done in a week.”
Ahmed claimed that he had met Ms Banerjee in 2009 and apprised her of the rationality of the demand
“The Trinamul Congress immediately included the promise
to make Urdu the second language in its manifesto in the Lok Sabha
election. She later included it in the Assembly election
manifesto,” he added.
Ms Banerji also declared to restore the word “Madrasa” to the
name of Aliah University. The Left Front government had dropped
the word “Madrasa” when it gave Madrasa Aliah the status of a
The Muslims had voiced their strong displeasure over the decision
but the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government had remained unmoved.
Ms Banerjee said that through a small amendment in the law the
word “Madrasa” would be restored.