Tamil Nadu Opposition leader M K Stalin has accused the Centre of trying to relegate people who don’t speak Hindi to second-class citizens, and of pushing the country into becoming “Hindia”. In a video message released by his office Saturday night, the DMK leader targeted PM Narendra Modi, alleging that from the day he took charge, his government has repeatedly tried to impose Hindi and Sanskrit in many forms. “And these efforts have started to disturb the peace, and damage the unity of this country.”
Citing the example of a recent parliamentary committee proposal to make it mandatory for MPs and Union ministers who know Hindi to use it as their official language, both in speech and writing, Stalin said, “The urgency and focus with which this ordinance for use of Hindi as an official language has been passed is a clear indicator of where the government’s priority lies.” He also reminded the Centre that it hasn’t accepted Tamil Nadu’s demand for exemption from NEET, the medical entrance exam.
He said the BJP-led government has obtained the President’s permission for use of Hindi in airport announcements, press news advertisements, “and going a step further, has made Hindi a compulsory subject for CBSE schools across the country. PM Modi’s promotional campaigns are exclusively in the Hindi script even when the words pronounced are in different languages”.
Instead of translating the names of programmes and schemes, the government insists on transliteration, which makes the names meaningless for many citizens of the country, he said. He cited the example of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, which is the name of the programme across languages, “instead of ‘Thuimai Indhiya’ [in Tamil] or translations in other languages, which would have instantly carried a meaning for the whole country”.
What makes it a matter of concern, he said, is that this is not an exception but the rule. “All the central government’s cesses and schemes are named only in Hindi or Sanskrit and then transliterated into other languages. Even Teacher’s Day has been recently named Guru Purnima. Recently, milestones on national highways were re-lettered in Hindi with the removal of English, which is universally recognisable,” he said.
He said this kind of retitling “goes against the spirit and letter of the Constitution of India that was framed under the leadership of Dr Ambedkar and ensures equal rights to all citizens in all dimensions”. “I urge PM Modi’s government to give up these efforts of sidelining non-Hindi speaking citizens I condemn the efforts taken so far in this pursuit, on behalf of the DMK and all non-Hindi-speaking citizens of the country,” Stalin said.
He recalled that Tamil Nadu has always stood up to the domination of an external language over the state’s mother tongue. “I would like to remind the central government that the Dravidian movement has a long history of spearheading struggles against imposition of Hindi and has a tradition of martyrdom, martyrs who laid their life during the anti-Hindi agitation. I sternly urge the Centre not to sow the seeds for the emergence of third generation, anti-Hindi-imposition protests through brute force, pushing India into becoming Hindia,” Stalin said(THE INDIAN EXPRESS,2017).