With political parties in Tamil Nadu reviving the issue of autonomy in state matters, and warning of a major protest against the BJP-led Centre if the government fails to clarify the role of Hindi in its proposed three-language policy, musician A R Rahman on Tuesday waded into the controversy with a cryptic tweet.
The Oscar-winning musician, who is known to wear his Tamil identity on his sleeve, wrote, “AUTONOMOUS | meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary,” and shared a web link of the word’s meaning in the dictionary.
Rahman’s tweets went viral within hours — his supporters started trending the hashtag ‘#autonomousTamilNadu’, while those who opposed him began targeting him personally.
AUTONOMOUS | meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary https://t.co/DL8sYYJqgX
— A.R.Rahman (@arrahman) June 4, 2019
Rahman tends to shy away from controversies and politics, but has been following the debate of the alleged “imposition of Hindi” through the three-language policy.
On Sunday, he tweeted about the Centre dropping the provision of compulsory teaching of Hindi in non-Hindi speaking states, writing in Tamil, “Good decision. Hindi is not compulsory in Tamil Nadu. The draft has been corrected.”
A day before, he shared a video of Punjabi singer Jasdeep Jogi singing a popular Tamil movie song with a caption, “Tamizh is spreading in Punjab,” using an alternate spelling for Tamil.
The controversy surrounding Tamil Nadu’s autonomous status has been revived by the DMK in the recent past, echoing Dravidian leader and former chief minister C N Annadurai, who raised the specific demand for more powers to states and organised an infamous conference in Chennai in 1968 in this regard.
DMK chief M K Stalin on Monday warned Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Tamil Nadu will witness massive protests if the Centre has plans to impose Hindi in the state. He said, “I warn Prime Minister Narendra Modi, you give an explanation about the announcement you have made with a view to cheating the people of Tamil Nadu. Otherwise, the leaders of all alliance parties will join together and Tamil Nadu will witness a major protest.”