Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla today sought to downplay Shiv Sena's demand that madrasas should be barred from using Urdu and Arabic as their medium of instruction, saying the saffron party was "unaware" that Urdu was their mother tongue and added she will speak to Sena leaders.
"Urdu is mother tongue of those who are learning in madrasas. The religious training they get there is in Arabic as Quran-e-Sharif is in Arabic. People in Shiv Sena don't understand this. It is a matter of communication.
"How will one manage in Maharashtra if he doesn't understand Marathi? I will speak on this when I will meet them," Heptulla told reporters here.
Reacting to the party's demand that Hindi should be made the language of instruction in madrasas, Heptulla said the language is already being taught there and added she is proud to know Urdu, which the Minister said, was born in Delhi.
"When we can learn English which is an international language, then Urdu is still an Indian language. It was born in Delhi. I am proud that I know Urdu," she added.
Shiv Sena, a key NDA constituent, had yesterday demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi take a cue from the UK government's warning that migrants on spousal visas who fail to speak English may face deportation, and sought to bar use of Urdu and Arabic as medium of instruction in madrasas.
It had sought to replace Urdu and Arabic with English and Hindi.