New Delhi: In an attempt to stop Urdu writers from writing books on anti-government issues, National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL), which operates under the Human Resource Development Ministry, has introduced a form that requires an author to declare annually that the content of his or her book wouldn’t be against the government, according to a report in The Indian Express.
The aforementioned form has been given to several authors over the past few months. The form not only demands the compliance of the author to the conditions mentioned but also asks them to provide signatures of two other witnesses.
Director of NCUPL Irteza Karim said, “The step has been undertaken in order to protect the interest of the government. An author who seeks financial aid from the government shouldn’t pen down things that would go against the latter. Further, being a government organisation, it is the responsibility of NCUPL to protect the interest of the government."
The decision to introduce this form was taken a year ago in a meeting which was also joined by members of the HRD ministry. The Home Ministry has also been apprised of this newfound development.
The director also pointed out that it was difficult for the organization to leaf through each and every page of a book, therefore, the form would in a way lessen the responsibilities of the organisation.
In case an author fails to adhere to the terms and conditions mentioned in the form, he or she will be penalized by NCUPL, Karim added.
The form was introduced following a seething controversy over a book on Abul Kalam Azaad last year. The book disseminated misinformation which could have taken an ugly turn as Azad is a national figure.
However, the move has been severely criticised by authors. The form not only muzzles dissent but also curbs free flow of ideas which does not go hand in hand with ideologies borne by the government of the day, said a professor at the Calcutta University.
Besides, authors also believe that the form will give a legal backing to the government to crack down on dissent, which at times might not be governed by proper rhyme and reason....