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Posted at: Apr 15, 2018, 12:43 AM; last updated: Apr 15, 2018, 12:43 AM (IST)

‘People, not rulers, will decide what to eat or drink’

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 14

It is the people, not the rulers, who should decide what to eat or drink, Deputy Chief Minister of the capital, Manish Sisodia said, charging that the the ruler now want to restrict even people's thoughts.

Sisodia, who also headsthe Art, Culture and Languages Department, made the remarks last night in his speech at the 20th edition of the annual Jashn-e-Bahar 'mushaira' here.

"We are very brave people to be talking about 'jashn' (celebration) and 'bahar' (spring) at a time when those in power want restrictions even on what people think," he said, stressing "there has never been a greater need for communal harmony than now."

"It is not only about a poetic symposium, it is about ideology. What the people should be eating or drinking, what is kept in my refrigerator, or being cooked in someone's kitchen... The 'nizaam' (the ruler) should not decide this, the country and its people should decide this," he said.

He emphasised the significance of such gatherings for the country "at this hour" where people may find poets expressing the thoughts that they had been wanting to express.

Sisodia, who described Urdu as the language of love and amity, said his government is working on initiatives for the language.

Padma Vibhushan-awardee Kathak exponent Birju Maharaj was the chief guest at the poetic soiree, attended by former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and former Union Minister Farooq Abdullah, among others.

Former Chief Election Commissioner S. Y. Qureshi, who presided over the event, reflecting on the country's 'Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb' said, being united despite the diversity that India has, is a virtue in itself. Qureshi lamented that after the partition, Urdu, which played a significant role in the freedom movement, was portrayed as associated only with a certain religion, doing harm to the language's appeal.

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