Urdu writers and editors, whose books are acquired for distribution by the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL) have been made to sign a declaration stating that their books will not contain anything that is critical of the central government and country.
HRD minister Smriti Irani is the chairperson of NCPUL.
According to a report on The Indian Express, the NCPUL, which works under the ministry of human resource development has been issuing forms to writers and editors whose books they will purchase in bulk.
The form, originally written in Urdu was accessed by the paper. The declaration that the authors had to sign read as follows: “I son/daughter of confirm that my book/magazine titled which has been approved for bulk purchase by NCPUL’s monetary assistance scheme does not contain anything against the policies of the government of India or the interest of the nation, does not cause disharmony of any sort between different classes of the country, and is not monetarily supported by any government or non-government institution.”
The form also warns authors that strict legal action will be taken against those will breach the contract.
Irteza Karim, NCPUL director told The Indian Express, "If a writer wants financial aid from the government, then of course the content cannot be against (the government). NCPUL is a government organisation and we are government employees. We will naturally protect the interests of the government."
The organisation's website states that the NCPUL was set up in 1996 and its objectives are as follows:
"-To promote, develop and propagate Urdu language.
-To take action for making available in Urdu language the knowledge of scientific and technological development as well as knowledge of ideas evolved in the modern context.
-To advise the Government of India on issues connected with Urdu language and having bearing on education as may be referred to it.
-To undertake other projects for the promotion of Urdu language as may be deemed fit by the Council."
Apart from Irani, the governing council of the organisation includes the director general of Doordarshan, the chairman of Sahitya Akademi and the chairman of the National Book Trust of India. The 40 member council also has several Muslim scholars, writers and academicians.
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