Urdu has become a minority language: Sharmila Tagore

Veteran actress Sharmila Tagore said that Urdu has "become static" and has been restricted to minority
communities.

The 72-year-old actress, who was speaking at the "Jab Filmein Urdu Bolti Thi" session at the ongoing
Jashn-e-Rekhta, said the language today is being spoken by "perhaps Muslims" alone.

"Traditions are vital to understand our history and to visualise a well-informed and balanced future. But
Urdu, which has been an integral part of Indian history, has somehow become static. It has become a
minority language, spoken by only the Muslims perhaps," Tagore said.

The language, which was once widely spoken in Delhi, bore the brunt of the Partition, which she said,
"broke the literary tradition of the country".

While it became Pakistan's official language, in India it was left limited to mere corners of the country.

She went on to say that the language did not belong to any particular religion.

"It is not a language of Muslims only, or Pakistan's language. It is our language...And we would like to
keep it like that," Tagore said.

Hailing from a Bengali family, the actress, who made her Bollywood debut with Shakti Samanta's 1964
film, "Kashmir Ki Kali" found it difficult to speak the Hindi prevalent in the industry at the time, let alone
the nuances of Urdu.

"My will was negating (me) to learn it. But, I imbibed it and now I feel culturally rich and enhanced," she
said.

But, it was her marriage to celebrated cricketer Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, who belonged to a traditional
Urdu-speaking family that made her understand and learn the language better over the years.

Sharing an anecdote about her ignorance of Urdu literature during her early years in Bollywood, she
recounted the instance when she told fellow actor Feroz Khan that her husband had penned a beautiful
couplet for her, which was in fact written by Ghalib.

"I recited, 'Dil-e-nadan tujhe hua kya hai, aakhir is dard ki dawa kya hai.' Feroz said, 'You idiot woman,
this is Ghalib, for God's sake'," she said.

Talking about the use of Urdu in Bollywood, she said it was actually Hindustani - a combination of Hindi
and Urdu - that was widely popular in films.

"The marriage of the sister languages, Hindi and Urdu made the 1940s and 1960s very, very memorable,"
she said.

The actress was joined by legendary actor Prem Chopra and famous Hindi-Urdu screenwriter Javed
Siddiqui on the panel.
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Rahul Gandhi says PM Modi promised like DDLJ's SRK, turned out Sholay's Gabbar

Rahul Gandhi on Friday found a novel way to launch an attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi –
invoking two Bollywood blockbusters. The Congress Vice President said PM Modi promised ‘achche
din’ just like Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge’s Shah Rukh Khan, however, he turned out to be Sholay’s
villain Gabbar Singh.

Rahul Gandhi slammed PM Modi for his ‘achche din’ promise as he referred to the 1995 blockbuster
starring SRK and Kajol.

“You must have seen the movie ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’, have not you? Do you remember it? In
the film there is a promise of ‘achhe din’ (good days),” he said drawing applause from the audience who
lapped up the banter.

Mocking the prime minister for making “empty” promises for developing the state by “pretending” to be
a hero, Rahul said Modi claimed he was a hero like Shah Rukh but ended up being villain Gabbar Singh.

ALSO READ | Priyanka Gandhi in Raebareli: 'Uttar Pradesh doesn't require to be governed by an outsider'

Rahul Gandhi was accompanied by his sister Priyanka Gandhi, who hit the campaign trail for the first
time in the ongoing Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.

Till now, her role had been confined to strategy and backroom talks from her brother’s home in New
Delhi.

Congress leaders say she is unlikely to go beyond mother Sonia Gandhi’s Raebareli and Rahul’s Amethi
constituencies.

Congress has credited Priyanka with playing a pivotal role in rescuing the alliance with the Samajwadi
Party when it was on the verge of collapse.
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Supreme Court Judgement on Sasikala – Convicted and 4 Years Jail

Tamil Nadu politics is set for an upheaval with the Supreme Court on Tuesday restoring the verdict of a
Bengaluru trial court that held former Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa and her aide and current
AIADMK general secretary Sasikala Natarajan guilty in the disproportionate assets case. In effect, the
court has not just held Sasikala — and Jayalalithaa — guilty of corruption, but may have also ended the
former’s political career before it could take off. Sasikala now faces a jail term of four years, which
could keep her out of electoral politics for a decade.

Her faction has elected a new legislature party leader, Edappadi Palanisami, who, as on Tuesday, appears
to have the numbers to form the government. The caretaker chief minister, O. Pannerselvam, and many
senior leaders who rebelled against Sasikala’s claim to the AIADMK leadership, have been expelled from
the party. However, the ouster of these challengers may not give Sasikala complete control over the
AIADMK: Ten years is a long time in politics and to demand loyalty of legislators and cadres from prison
will be no easy task.

The crisis in the AIADMK presents itself as an opportunity for the party to shed its inheritance of leader-
centric politics for a leadership that is more plural and decentralised. The party’s founder, M.G.
Ramachandran, and his successor, Jayalalithaa, built the party as an extension of their persona. They
refused to groom a second line of leadership, which has contributed to the crisis the party has had to
face after the death of MGR in 1987 and, Jayalalithaa in December last year. The present power struggle
in the party could, in its best version, help push leaders from the grassroots to centrestage. Until the
emergence of the MGR phenomenon, electoral politics in Tamil Nadu was more a battle of ideas and
ideologies and less a confrontation of leaders. But from the 1980s, state politics became a polarised battle
between Jayalalithaa and DMK patriarch, M. Karunanidhi.

The leadership transition in the DMK is also near complete with M.K. Stalin emerging as the party’s face
in recent months. Other regional parties like the DMDK, PMK and VCK as well as national outfits like the
Congress and the BJP too might fancy expanding their influence as state politics enters a post-Jaya, post-
Karunanidhi phase. But to be successful, these parties may have to look outside the tropes and leadership
models of the past decades and embrace a more modern idiom capable of addressing new social and
economic challenges facing the state.

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O Panneerselvam Asked Tamil Nadu Governor For 5 Days To Gather Support: Sources

At his 15-minute meeting with Governor C Vidyasagar Rao on Thursday evening, O Pannerselvam asked
for five days to gather support of AIADMK legislators, who, he has alleged, are being held "captive" by
the camp led by VK Sasikala, the close companion of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa
who now heads the ruling party. Mr Panneerselvam, who holds charge as interim chief minister after his
resignation was accepted earlier this week, has requested the Governor to ask him, instead of VK
Sasikala to prove majority in the state assembly, Mr Rao told Ms Sasikala and ten ministers who
accompanied her to stake claim to form government a few hours after Mr Pannerselvam met him,
sources said.

Team Sasikala challenged Mr Pannerselvam's claim, saying that it has support in writing of all of the
AIADMK's 134 legislators, including Mr Panneerselvam, and so must be invited to form government. Mr
Panneerselvam, who now says that he was forced to resign at a party meeting last Sunday, also alleges
that legislators were made to sign blank sheets of paper which are now being used by Ms Sasikala to
stake claim to be Tamil Nadu's next Chief Minister. Some signatures, he has alleged, were forged.

Sources said Governor Rao wants the signatures that Ms Sasikala has submitted as proof of support in
her party to be authenticated.

"Many signatures in Sasikala's list are forged... O Panneerselvam told the Governor that he was forced to
resign and that many legislators are being held in captivity in unknown locations," said Dr V Maitreyan,
one of the senior AIADMK leaders backing Mr Panneerselvam. He was referring to about 130 legislators
who haven't been seen or heard after they were bused by Ms Sasikala on Wednesday to hotels and
resorts in and around Chennai to prevent them from being poached by Mr Panneerselvam.

"We are the real AIADMK," Dr Maitreyan, a Rajya Sabha member added, pointing out that two key party
officials - E Madhusudhanan, the AIADMK's number 2 as its presidium chairman and Mr Panneerselvam
as treasurer - are on one side. Mr Panneerselvam has called his removal as party treasurer by Ms
Sasikala illegal.


"Justice will prevail," Mr Panneerselvam said after his meeting with the governor, assuring supporters
that "good things will happen."

Mr Panneerselvam's claim still does not carry the weight of numbers. At their meeting with the
Governor, Ms Sasikala and co conceded that five legislators may not be with them, but said even those
currently supporting Mr Panneerselvam could cross back, since they have withdrawn their signatures of
support. They offered to produce at least 129 legislators en masse before the Governor to prove their
support. Governor Rao reportedly told them that would not be necessary.

The AIADMK has 134 legislators in the 235-member Tamil Nadu assembly. Either side will need to
prove the support of 118 to form the next government.
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Mulayam does a U-turn, will campaign for son Akhilesh as UP election heats up

Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav on Monday said he will campaign for the SP -
Congress alliance in Uttar Pradesh, in what is being seen as an acknowledgement of the poll strategy by
his chief minister-son Akhilesh Yadav.

Mulayam’s climb down came days after he publicly voiced his opposition to the SP-Congress alliance,
which Akhilesh had pushed through after gaining the Election Commission’s nod as the real face of the
party.

The EC backing of Akhilesh is seen as his biggest victory in the bruising power struggle in the Yadav
family that pitted him against Mulayam and his brother Shivpal.

On Monday, Mulayam denied any differences in the party despite Shivpal’s threat to float a new party
after the poll results are declared on March 11.

“Nobody in the party is unhappy. Shivpal has not spoken to me or others in the party (about forming a
new party). He may have said that in anger. Now leave it, a new party will not be formed”, Mulayam told
reporters outside Parliament House.

Mulayam, a wrestler-turned politician, also said Akhilesh will be the chief minister again, a sharp contrast
to his earlier stand that the new leader will be selected by the new MLAs.

Elections in the country’s most populous and politically crucial state will be held in seven phases starting
February 11.

The SP-Congress front is facing a serious challenge from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the
Bahujan Samaj Party (BJP).

Out of 403 seats, the SP will contest 298 seats, while the Congress has put up candidates in 105
constituencies.

With just four days left for the first phase of polls, campaigning intensified on Monday with top leaders
of the major contenders raised their poll pitch.

The first phase will cover 15 western UP districts, including riot-scarred Muzaffarnagar and Shamli.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi addressed rallies at Shamli, Muzaffarnagar and Iglas and said the
alliance with SP “mirrors the bright future of UP”.

In Lakhimpur, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “manipulating
facts and figures about UP.”
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Arvind Kejriwal Calls PM Narendra Modi a 'Shameless Dictator'

New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday called Prime Minister Narendra Modi "a
shameless dictator" after the Income Tax Department sought derecognition of the Aam Aadmi Party
(AAP) for allegedly filing "false and fabricated" audit reports on donations.

Terming as "Modiji's dirty tricks" the I-T Department's move asking the Election Commission of India to
cancel the AAP's status as a political party, Kejriwal said the government was doing it because the BJP
was headed for a defeat at the hands of his party in the Punjab and Goa elections where voting takes
place on Saturday.

"Losing badly in Goa n Punjab, he (PM Modi) tries to de-register the winning party 24 hours before
elections. Shameless dictator," the AAP convenor tweeted.

According to some media reports, the I-T Department has submitted a report to the poll panel alleging
that the AAP had filed "false and fabricated" audit reports in 2013-14 and 2014-15 and hence "the
registration of the AAP as a trust and as a party could be revisited and cancelled".

Kejriwal also tweeted a link of the news article in a national daily about the I-T Department report to the
election panel.
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Trump's H-1B Visa Bill spooks India's IT companies

It may not be a good time to be an Indian techie in America.

India, the largest exporter of IT workforce to the US, could be jolted if the H-1B Visa Bill, which was
tabled in the House of Representatives today, becomes a law.

The country's biggest IT companies, TCS, Infosys, Wipro and others, that enjoy significant cost
advantages by sending Indian engineers to the US, are likely to be hit if the minimum salary cap for H-1B
visas is raised to $130,000 from its current $60,000.  

In anticipation of the eventuality, India's top four IT company stocks plunged on the Bombay Stock
Exchange today. Mashable India reached out to these companies but they declined comment.

Meanwhile, NASSCOM, the industry body for software and services companies, was not pleased with
the development. "The bill does not treat all IT service companies with H-1B visa holders equally, and the
provisions are biased against H-1B dependent companies," it said in a statement.

"The bill does nothing to address the underlying shortage of STEM-skilled workers, which has led all
companies to have a calibrated strategy of hiring locally and bridging the skills gap by bringing skilled
workers on non-immigrant visas including H-1Bs," it added.

India happens to be the largest recipient of H-1B visas in the world. In 2016, the US issued 85,000 H1-B
visas worldwide, of which 70% went to Indians, according to news reports.

IT analysts reckon that the new law, if and when it passes, will have far-reaching implications not only
on Indian companies but on the US economy as well since most US-based Fortune 500 organisations are
"deeply invested and dependent" on Indian IT services providers.

"Skilled foreign workers who come to work in the US by the route of H1-B visas don’t just directly
supplement the US IT industry with specialized skillsets, they also contribute indirectly to other industries
in the US," says Sanchit Vir Gogia, chief analyst at Greyhound Research.

"Often H1-B workers bring their families along and thereby bring additional business for other industries
like real estate, banking, hospitality to name a few. The effects of this announcement will impact the
GDP and the overall business economy and growth of US," he adds.

While the final outcome of the Bill is yet to be known, NASSCOM said it will continue to engage with the
US administration and legislators both directly and through the Government of India. The focus would be
on highlighting the value contribution of India’s IT sector as a “net creator” of jobs in the US.
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'BJP is like Jallikattu bull, will tame it', says Shiv Sena's Uddhav Thackeray after rejecting
alliance

speculation and suspense, the Shiv Sena finally snapped ties with the BJP and announced that it would
contest the civic polls in Mumbai and other parts of the state on its own strength.

"From now on, the Shiv Sena will unfurl the saffron flag in Maharashtra on its own. I will not go to
anyone with a begging bowl seeking an alliance," said party president Uddhav Thackeray who was
speaking at a party workers convention in Mumbai on Thursday.

"As the first step, we will not enter into any tie up for the municipal corporation and Zilla Parishad polls,"
declared Uddhav, while effectively ruling out any pre-poll understanding with the BJP.

Despite biting attacks on the BJP and its leaders, he was however mum on if the Shiv Sena's ministers in
the state and Central governments would resign from their posts or if the party's support to the Devendra
Fadnavis-led dispensation in Maharashtra would continue.

"Of the Shiv Sena's 50 year life, we have rotted away for 25 years in an alliance (with the BJP)," charged
the Sena president, while lashing out at the BJP's demand for 114 of the 227 seats in the Mumbai civic
body, which is India's richest.

He claimed that due to this alliance, the Shiv Sena had not contested seats in non-Maharashtrian areas or
even other states to prevent a split in the Hindutva votes.

The Shiv Sena is upset at the BJP, which was earlier its junior ally in the saffron alliance, gaining the
upper hand after the two parties went solo in the state assembly elections in 2014. While the BJP secured
122 seats, the Shiv Sena ended up as a distant number two with 63. Though it joined the Fadnavis
government after a short stint on the opposition benches, Sena leaders admit that they are uncomfortable
playing second fiddle to the BJP. The Shiv Sena also lost the edge in Mumbai, where it has 14 MLAs,
one less than the BJP's 15. This led to BJP leaders demanding that they get to contest from half of the
BMC's 227 seats considering the "changed situation on the ground." However, the Sena was willing to
part with just 60 seats compared to the 70 that were given to the BJP in 2012.
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UP?election:?Priyanka Gandhi on Congress’ list of 40 star campaigners

The Congress has named Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on its list of 40 star campaigners for the UP assembly
election.

The move comes in the backdrop of her speculation about her likely campaign for the Congress-
Samajwadi Party alliance candidates.

Although Priyanka’s name figured on the list of star campaigners in previous elections too, she has
restricted her campaign to assembly constituencies in the family bastions of Rae Bareli and Amethi.    

The other star campaigners on the list include Congress president Sonia Gandhi, party vice-president
Rahul Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, party general secretary (incharge UP) Ghulam
Nabi Azad and former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit.

Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) president Raj Babbar, actress- turned-politician Nagma,
former union ministers Jyotiraditya Scindia, Rajeev Shukla, Sachin Pilot, Salman Khursheed, Sushil
Kumar Shinde and RPN Singh are also on the list.

The names of PL Punia, Sanjay Singh and Pramod Tiwari are also on the list.

A Congress press release listed the 40 names for the first phase of the election. A senior party leader said
the same list of star campaigners will be there for all the seven phases.
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Congress gets 105 seats in deal with Akhilesh

Congress has just released its first list of 41 candidates for west UP, including seats where the SP had
earlier fielded candidates against its wishes.

The Samajwadi Party and the Congress will fight the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections together, in
a move that both parties hope will help them consolidate the Muslim vote, a significant 19 per cent of the
electorate.

After days of wrangling over the distribution of seats, the two parties agreed on a seat sharing formula
under which the Congress will contest 105 seats while the SP will battle it out in 298 seats under Chief
Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

The Congress emerged a winner from the deal as it got thrice the number of seats than its 2012 tally of
just 28. The SP had won 224 seats.

The formal announcement of the tie-up was made here at a hurriedly convened joint press conference by
SP State president Naresh Uttam Patel, SP vice-president Kiranmoy Nanda and Congress State president
Raj Babbar. The parties cited the need to preserve secularism and unity of the country as reasons for
coming together.

Mr. Babbar said the tie-up would usher in a “new beginning” in State and national politics and vowed to
“throw out communal forces and BJP.”

He said the two parties would form a “political and ideological force and challenge divisive politics” with
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s ideology of empowerment of youth and Akhilesh Yadav’s
leadership.

Asserting that the alliance would “set an example” in development, Mr. Babbar said the two parties would
issue a common minimum programme in one week, a “new agenda that is accountable and far-sighted.”
Mr. Uttam, who announced the alliance, said the two parties were uniting for the sake of the “unity and
integrity” of the country and its development.

The leaders, however, did not take questions on the talks over seat arrangement.

Soon after the press conference, the SP released another list of 77 candidates, including three from Rae
Bareli — Salon, Unchahar and Sareni.

It was soon followed up by the party announcing in a separate note that it would also contest on two
seats in neighbouring Amethi —Amethi and Gauriganj. While sitting MLA Rakesh Pratap Singh is fielded
in Gauriganj, the SP has fielded corruption tainted controversial minister Gayatri Prasad Prajapati from
Amethi.

Mr. Babbar said the two parties would issue a common minimum programme in one week, a “new
agenda that is accountable and far-sighted.” Mr. Uttam, who announced the alliance, said the two parties
were uniting for the sake of the “unity and integrity” of the country and its development. The leaders,
however, did not take questions on the talks over seat arrangement.
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Shivpal Yadav in Akhilesh’s list, but SP alliance with Cong hits roadblock

Talks for a Congress-Samajwadi Party alliance have failed, a senior SP leader said on Friday, indicating
differences between the two over sharing of seats for the seven-phase assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh
starting early next month.

The sharp divisions were evident when the SP released a list of 191 candidates that included several seats
held by the Congress and those falling in Amethi and Rae Bareli Lok Sabha constituencies, the pocket
boroughs of the Nehru-Gandhi family.

An angry Congress summoned an emergency meeting of its senior central and state’s leaders in Delhi
and called back UP chief Raj Babbar who had landed in Lucknow to announce an alliance. The meeting is
being held at the party’s war room at 15, Gurudwara Rakabganj Road.

The 191 seats are among 209 constituencies going to the polls in the first three phases starting February
11.

The list also includes party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav’s brother Shivpal, who was locked in a bitter
power struggle with chief minister Akhilesh Yadav till a few days ago.

SP vice president Kironmoy Nanda said negotiations with the Congress on seat-sharing have “failed”.

“We offered them 54 (seats) and were willing to concede 25 more but have not got any response from
the Congress so far. The Congress is not coming to the negotiating table now.”

The SP was not unwilling to concede Amethi or Lucknow Cantonment to the Congress. “But at the same
time, the doors were still open for negotiations…the party will withdraw its candidates on seats where
Congress has sitting MLAs,” he added. The party has named Mulayam’s younger daughter-in-law
Aparna Yadav from Lucknow Cantt.

However, SP parliamentarian Naresh Agarwal described Nanda’s comments as “his personal opinion”.

“SP national president Akhilesh Yadav to take final decision,” ANI quoted Agarwal as saying.

Raj Babbar said any alliance “should be done taking the pride of workers into care”.

“Talks are on for alliance, no obstruction so far,” he added.

The SP had on Thursday ruled out an alliance with the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), which was earlier
tipped to the third partner in the conglomeration for the seven-phase polls in the politically crucial state.

Besides Shivpal Yadav from Jaswant Nagar, the SP has also named minister Azam Khan’s son Abdullah
from Swar. MP Naresh Agarwal’s son Nitin will contest from Hardoi.

Other loyalists of Mulayam and Shivpal also figure in the list which hs 51 Muslim candidates.

Congress-held seats for which the SP has name candidates include Shamli, Mathura, Deoband and
Bulandshahr.

UP Congress legislature party leader Pradeep Mathur, who represents Mathura, said he will file his
nomination his the constituency.

Deoband MLA Mawiya Ali, who quit the Congress recently, has been named the SP candidate from the
same constituency.

The list has several young candidates and new faces, seen as Akhilesh Yadav protégées who have been
speaking about grooming a new generation of leaders in a party dominated by veterans.

On Thursday, an SP leader from western UP, Shahnawaz Rana, who was the party nominee from
Muzaffarnagar, joined the Congress. A former MLA from Merapur, Rana wields considerable clout in the
region and can give a tough fight even as an independent candidate, sources said.
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