Urdu is now the second official language of Telangana, as the State Assembly passed a bill on Thursday, with all parties supporting it.
The Telangana Official Languages (Amendment) Bill, 2017 was passed, as the Urdu-speaking population had increased in the state to 12.69%.
PTI reported that the state, which has a substantial Urdu-speaking population across all the 31 districts, declared Urdu as the second official language as per section 2 of the Telangana Official Languages Act, 1966 in nine districts (of total 10), except Khammam, of the Telangana region before bifurcation of undivided Andhra Pradesh, as per the statement of objects and reasons of the bill.
Telangana BJP floor leader G Kishan Reddy said that his party was not against Urdu, but claimed that the state government was not giving enough importance to Telugu, Telangana's official language.
“Is government giving orders in Telugu? The previous Congress and Telugu Desam parties did not make any effort to implement Telugu in official correspondence,” Kishan Reddy was quoted as saying.
Supporting the bill, AIMIM floor leader Akbaruddin Owaisi recalled the efforts of his late father and AIMIM leader Salahuddin Owaisi, and said that justice was not done to Urdu earlier.
Calling for the 'protection' of the language, he dubbed the decision as historic, and said that Urdu did not belong to a particular religion, taking the example of the slogan ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ which was used during India's freedom struggle.
Congress leader T Jeevan Reddy welcomed the bill, but claimed that the state government was not actively responding on the proposal to revive the Urdu Academy, library and other minority welfare centres.
Urdu was once the official language of the erstwhile Hyderabad state under the rule of Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan.
In fact, even Hyderabad’s renowned Osmania University was first established in 1918 with Urdu as the medium of instruction, citing reasons that “it was the language of the widest currency in India, official language of the State, and it is a language which is understood by a vast majority of the population of the State."