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German envoy Steiner organizes satsang, invites Smriti

PTI 26 Nov 2014, 9:46:59 AM IST

New Delhi: German ambassador Michael Steiner is organizing a 'satsang' on his birthday on Friday to which he has invited HRD minister SmritiIrani, a gesture that comes in the midst of a raging row over government replacing German with Sanskrit in Central schools.

Steiner, who is organizing the 'satsang' by spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, denied that this has anything to do with the ongoing language controversy.

"This was decided between my wife and I even before this government was sworn in. I had written to him (Ravishankar) and he was gracious to accept it," the German ambassador told reporters here.

He said that many invites have been sent out including some to politicians and others.

Asked if Irani has been invited, he said, "We don't want to have a head count. We have invited several Union ministers. We have been inclusive". When pressed further, he said, "Of course. Everybody is welcome".

Steiner said the embassy has been "very inclusive in our approach" when asked if invitations have also been sent to RSS leaders and right-wing ideologue Dinanath Batra, whom the ambassador had met recently.

An embassy statement said Sri Sri will speak on how to bring different cultures together and foster the mutual understanding between people in Europe and India.

Asked whether he was hopeful of a solution to the ongoing controversy about German language, the envoy said he was very confident that "practical and good" solution respecting the local law will be found. He refused to speak further saying the matter was sub-judice.

Steiner has been pro-active in taking up the cause of German after the HRD ministry recently decided to replace it with Sanskrit as the third language in the Kendriya Vidyalayas on the ground it was against the three-language formula and "violated" the national policy on education.