Hindi language is not the mother tongue of a majority of Indians and claiming that it unifies the country is absurd, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan asserted on Sunday.
Taking on Union Home Minister Amit Shah over his remarks that it is the “national responsibility that Hindi expands and propers”, Vijayan said the decision to impose the language upon the citizens “amounts to enslaving them” and is a “war cry” against regional languages.
The claim that Hindi unifies our country is absurd. That language is not the mother tongue of a majority of Indians. The move to inflict Hindi upon them amounts to enslaving them. Union Minister’s statement is a war cry against the mother tongues of non-hindi speaking people.
— Pinarayi Vijayan (@vijayanpinarayi) September 15, 2019
Taking to Twitter, the chief minister said, “The claim that Hindi unifies our country is absurd. That language is not the mother tongue of a majority of Indians. The move to inflict Hindi upon them amounts to enslaving them. Union Minister’s statement is a war cry against the mother tongues of non-Hindi speaking people.”
Vijayan also termed the saffron party’s idea as an “attempt to divert attention from the real problems”. “No Indian should feel alienated because of language. India’s strength is its ability to embrace diversity. Sangh Parivar must relinquish divisive policies. They must realize that people can see through the ploy; that this is an attempt to divert attention from the real problems,” he said.
On Saturday, Shah triggered a political row by saying that it was important that the country has one language reflecting its identity, and that only Hindi could unite the nation.
On the occasion of Hindi Diwas, he said, “Every language has its own importance. But it is absolutely essential that the entire country has one language that becomes the identity of the nation in the world. If there is any language that can tie the whole country in one thread, it is the most spoken language of Hindi.”
The BJP leader’s statement drew a sharp reaction from opposition parties, particularly those in the South. While the Congress warned that such remarks could incite strife, the CPM called it an attack on the core principles of India’s diversity. The DMK said Shah’s views “infringed on national integrity”, while K Pandiarajan of the AIADMK, a BJP ally, warned, “If the Centre imposes Hindi unilaterally, there will only be (adverse) reaction and no support, not only in Tamil Nadu, but also in states like Bengal, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.”