New Delhi: German Ambassador Michael Steiner is organising a 'satsang' on his birthday on Friday and he has invited Human Resources Development Minister Smriti Irani to attend it. The gesture comes in the middle of a raging row over the Union government replacing German with Sanskrit as the third language in Kendriya Vidyalayas.
A statement from the German embassy said Sri Sri Ravishankar, who would be conducting the satsang, will speak on how to bring different cultures together and foster the mutual understanding between people in Europe and India.
Mr Steiner, however, denied the function has anything to do with the language controversy. "This was decided between my wife and I even before this government was sworn-in. I had written to him (Sr Sri Ravishankar) and he graciously accepted," the Ambassador said.
Mr Steiner was also reluctant to confirm if the minister had been invited. "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".
Asked if invitations have also been sent to RSS leaders and right-wing ideologue Dinanath Batra, whom the Ambassador had met last week, Mr Steiner said the embassy has been "very inclusive in approach".
Asked whether he was hopeful of a solution to the ongoing controversy about German language, the envoy said he was very confident that a "practical and good" solution respecting the local law will be found. He refused to speak further, saying the matter was sub judice.
Mr Steiner has been pro-active about the cause of German after the HRD ministry recently decided to replace the language 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.
Earlier this month, Chancellor Angela Merkel had raised the matter with Prime Minister Narendra Modi the sidelines of a G 20 summit. The Prime Minister had promised to look into the controversy. The Education ministry is yet to review the decision, sources had said.