ALIGARH – The Indian government, issuing a new circular, has asked writers affiliated with the National Council for Promotion of Urdu (NCPUL) that Urdu authors will need to refrain from producing content against ‘national interest’ or that which creates hatred among communities. The council’s website now features a declaration form that the authors are required to sign. “The contents of the book, periodical, manuscript, magazine and project do not have any material which is against the ‘national interest’ or which may create any sort of hatred amongst different sections of the society,” the form said.These conditions have been laid out for Urdu writers whose books are acquired by the council, a body which promotes Urdu language under the Ministry of Human Resource Development. Some writers said that it was understandable that the council would not entertain any material that was against national interest. Some writers pointed out that the ‘national interest’ was hard to define and subject to interpretations. Others have termed the move a kind of declaration of loyalty and asked why Urdu writers in particular had to sign it. Tariq Chhatari, the Aligarh-based writer, said that the council had effectively reduced writers to beggars.“Why should a writer declare that his or her work is not against national interest,” he questioned. Chhatari, recipient of the Uttar Pradesh Urdu Academy Award, is popular fiction writer and critic. He has a collection of short stories, Baagh Ke Darwaze, to his credit. He has also edited a volume, Jadeed Afsana.