The occasion: birth anniversary of Urdu journalist and RJD leader Ghulam Sarwar. Speaker after speaker stands up to sing paeans to the Urdu language and urges all and sundry - mainly Muslims from the poorer sections - not to forsake their tongue. One man stands up to differ: Lalu Prasad Yadav. The RJD supremo took off to vouch for the English language, of which he was such a bitter critic not so long ago.
"English is the only language which is acceptable worldwide. And knowing English is important to compete in this age of globalisation. If you all do not read English, you would remain deprived. So learn it," exhorted Lalu.
He also asked the gathering to send their wards to English medium schools so that they could learn 'A B C D….', insisting that during his regime he had made English compulsory in government schools. "I was then called anti-Hindi. But I must tell you, Hindi has its limitations," Lalu observed.
The railway minister appears to have developed a penchant for giving television interviews in the language, and slips into it quite naturally at the drop of a hat.