Sparks are starting to fly over the language issue as non-Hindi states fear becoming second-class citizens

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Lakshmana Venkat Kuchi, Senior Editor
@kvlakshman

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Stalin blames the divisiveness on language issues and urges Prime Minister Narendra Modi to abandon the move, which could harm the country’s unity. He is not alone – Kerala Chief Minister Pinarai Vijayan also asked the Prime Minister to intervene and abandon the move, which would put many Indians at a disadvantage in terms of jobs and livelihoods.

Yes, the language had well and truly kicked off in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections if the media reported on the Centre’s alleged initiative to replace English with Hindi as the language of higher learning such as IITs, IIMs, AIIMS and Central Universities.

Within hours of a media report citing the government’s apparent intentions contained in the report of the Parliamentary Committee on Languages ​​headed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister strongly opposed the reported move.

Yes, the language war has well and truly begun – and sparks are flying over the matter ahead of the general elections, with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin strongly opposing the decision to “make” Hindi the common language. state and central universities and colleges adopting Hindi as their lingua franca. He said this measure would reduce South Indians to second-class citizens.

In a scathing statement in Chennai over a media report, the Tamil Nadu chief minister reminded the Center of past anti-Hindi agitation in the state and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to provoke another language war. on the ground.

Responding to a report circulated in various sections of the media about the contents of the commission on official language, Stalin said that if implemented, the huge non-Hindi population would be made second-class citizens in their own country.

“Forcing Hindi is against the integrity of India. The BJP government would do well to learn from the anti-Hindi agitations of the past,” he said, referring to earlier anti-Hindi agitations in the 60s that ousted the Congress government in the state, and since then the Congress has had to hang either the DMK: n or AIADMK to get a few seats in the state. Currently, the Congress is in alliance with the DMK for the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections.

Incidentally, the DMK-led front swept Tamil Nadu, winning all but one of the 39 Lok Sabha seats in the 2019 general elections, and if it once again hands over an emotional issue on a plate, it is likely to repeat its past performance even in the 2024 general elections. election.

Stalin tweeted, “Union BJP Govt’s draconian push for #HindiImposition, nullifying India’s diversity, is happening at an alarming rate. The proposals made in the 11th volume of the Parliamentary Committee on Official Language report are a direct attack on the soul of India.”

The Centre’s stance on enforcing one nation, one language, one religion, one food and one culture would affect the unity of India, Stalin added: “The report to the President by the Parliamentary Committee on Official Language headed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah contains recommendations that jeopardize the integrity of the Indian Union.”

According to media reports, the committee has recommended replacing English with Hindi as the medium of instruction in all central universities like IITs, IIMs, AIIMS, Central universities and Kendriya Vidyalayas.

Stalin expressed dismay at the move, noting that 22 languages, including Tamil, have equal rights in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. But the panel has recommended Hindi as the common language across India, he said.

“In such a scenario, what is the need for a Union minister-led committee to recommend making Hindi the common language of India,” the Prime Minister asked.

Wondering why the English question paper in union recruitment exams should give preference to Hindi, he argued that it is against the spirit of the Constitution to give undue, unfair advantage to Hindi and discriminate against other Indian languages.

Accusing the BJP-led government at the center of “continuing to try to impose Hindi in total disregard of the Constitution,” Stalin said imposing a common language, which is practically impossible, is akin to claiming that the only Hindi speakers are legal citizens of India. speakers of other languages ​​are second-class citizens. “This is divisive in nature,” the prime minister said.

He said that in the true nature of the country – Unity in Diversity – the nature of India is unity in diversity and therefore all languages ​​must be treated equally and all must be made equal official languages.

Stalin is the only one, and will not be the last, to oppose the central government’s apparent stand on the language issue, with activists from the southern Indian states of West Bengal, to name a few, opposing the move.

(Lakshmana Venkat Kuchi is a senior reporter who covers social, economic and political issues and is also interested in sports. He has worked with prominent news organizations.)



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