He said that it was the educated middle and upper middle classes who could contribute to the literature, beauty and aesthetics of a language, but they have abandoned the vernacular languages.
    
"If it (vernacular languages) has been given to slum-dwellers. It will be unfair to demand contribution from them to the development of literature," Akhtar said at the Kolkata Literary Meet when he was asked about the falling standard of Urdu poetry.
    
He said that language does not survive on literary value alone; it survives on the basis of its economic utility.
    
"English has become crucial to connect to the rest of the world. But what is happening is that children from middle and upper middle class families are learning English at the cost of vernacular languages," Akhtar said.
    
Stressing the importance of a language, he said it is a vessel that carries history, culture and tradition.
    
"You kill a language, you kill history, your culture, you kill tradition and that is what is happening," rued the lyricist.

(Agencies)

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