The Narendra Modi government’s advisory over use of Hindi has brought bitter enemies together. Days after DMK chief M Karunanidhi red-flagged the move, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram have raised serious concerns, while the CPI(M) has urged the government to modify its policy.
Shooting off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Jayalalithaa described the Home Ministry’s proposal as ‘against the letter and spirit’ of the Official Languages Act, 1963,” while pointing out that the ‘highly sensitive issue’ caused ‘disquiet’ to the people of Tamil Nadu ‘who are very proud of and passionate about their linguistic heritage’.
Karunanidhi, whose party had successfully led the anti-Hindi agitation in 1960s, had dubbed the move as a beginning of “imposition of Hindi.”
Chidambaram on the other hand slammed the decision by stating that ‘there will be a backlash in non-Hindi speaking states specially Tamil Nadu.’
A recent circular issued by the Director (official language) Avadesh Kumar Mishra, said, “All officers and employees who operate official accounts on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, Google, Youtube should use Hindi and English languages. Prominence should be given to Hindi.”
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Following the decision, CPI(M) attacked the Modi government for its directive. “Government should modify its policy and, along with Hindi, use other national languages as well as English for communication on social media,” the party’s Politburo said in a statement. The Modi government’s decision to use Hindi as the sole medium of communication for government information on social media was “against the principle of linguistic equality and is an injustice to other national languages,” it said.
BSP chief Mayawati said, “Encouraging the use of Hindi is good, but our country has a rich heritage of regional languages. That should be encouraged too,” she said.
The BJP government’s move found no favour with two of its Tamil Nadu allies also, with both PMK and MDMK opposing it.
It may be noted that another circular by official language department announced prize money of Rs 2,000 to two employees who do their official work mostly in Hindi. Rs 1,200 and Rs 600 will be given to the second and third position holders respectively.