"Urdu is not a Muslim language, it is a North Indian language. It is a wrong propaganda by some Hindu nationalists who say Urdu is a Muslim language," he told PTI in an interview and also mentioned about the name changes as an example of this attitude.
He said much of the antipathy towards the Muslims is a result of the scars of the Partition which are yet to go off the memory.
Desai also criticised the Congress for not doing enough to protect the secular fabrics of the nation saying the first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru was a towering figure who could rally the masses and make them secular but subsequent Congress governments failed on this front.
He seemed to suggest that one need not read a lot into the incidents like Mohammed Akhlaq's lynching for allegedly eating cow meet in September 2015, and exuded confidence that our democracy will ensure that such tendencies are contained.
"The strength of our democracy is every vote counts and if you want to come to power, you can't neglect any vote- bank. I am an optimistic on this," he said, adding the people don't like "ugliness" of any kind.
Any majoritarianism cannot flourish as a permanent feature in this country and such tendencies will be contained, Deasi said.
There is a need for political parties to not get religion into the foreground of the political discourse and promote one religion at the exclusion of all others, just like it has happened in Europe, he said.
Desai, who runs the Meghnad Desai Academy of Economics for the past three years here, said there is a need for history to be written with the rigours of scholarly pursuit and not change things just because the earlier version is uncomfortable with the present administration.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)