Union Home Minister Amit Shah Saturday attracted the ire of the opposition after he pitched for Hindi as the nation’s common language, with Tamil Nadu’s mainstream political parties such as AIADMK and DMK warning the Centre against its ‘imposition’.
Taking a swipe at the Home Minister, Congress said that it is BJP’s ideology which is a threat to India and not the nation’s linguistic diversity. “Linguistic diversity has been the greatest strength of our country. Hindi itself has acquired the words of other languages and enriched itself due to its generosity and diversity. India is bound in the thread of unity. It is threatened by your ideology and not by languages,” Congress tweeted.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also joined the chorus in attacking the BJP. She said people should respect all languages and cultures equally but not at the cost of their mother tongues.
“My best wishes to all on #HindiDiwas. We should respect all languages and cultures equally. We may learn many languages but we should never forget our mother-language.” She also posted the greetings in another tweet in Hindi.
A strong reaction to the suggestion came from the southern region where leaders equated it with a move to attack India’s pluralism. While AIADMK cautioned against its ‘imposition’, the DMK demanded that he withdraw his view, since it would “infringe national integrity.”
AIADMK leader and Tamil culture Minister K Pandiarajan said: “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.”
Condemning Shah’s remarks, DMK chief Stalin said the ‘One Nation One Language’ policy was a “deliberate attempt” to make non-Hindi speakers feel like “second-class citizens” of the country. “Our Constitution clearly says India is a union of states. The plurality of India is our strength. With various hidden agendas, the BJP is trying to destroy that identity from the day it came to power. Union Minister Amit Shah’s ‘One Nation One Language’ policy is seen as a deliberate attempt to make the non-native Hindi speakers feel as the second-class citizens of this country,” Stalin said.
The DMK would take a decision on the ways and means to oppose Shah’s stand at a high-level party meet to be held on September 16, the party president said.
Similarly, MDMK chief Vaiko said if India has to be a country of Hindi alone, then only Hindi speaking states would be part of it and not several other regions like Tamil Nadu and the Northeast. Meanwhile, Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam leader T T V Dhinakaran said Shah’s views were not acceptable. Urging the Home Minister to take back his view, he said efforts to “thrust Hindi” would only sow the seeds of hatred among the people.
Stalin quoted former Tamil Nadu chief minister Annadurai, who once said that if the central government is trying to make Hindi the official language on the grounds of numerical superiority, then the common crow would have to be India’s national bird, not the Peacock.
Former Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah said that a language grows out of mutual love and give-and-take. “Languages are the basics of knowledge, and we need to cultivate it with love, not through pressure. Our opposition is not about the language of Hindi, but about its forced imposition. My opposition to the celebration of the Hindi day. Please be aware that it is one of the official languages, like Kannada. Language cannot be brought up by falsehoods. Language grows out of mutual love and give-and-take,” Siddaramiah said.
In a strongly-worded statement, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi called out the BJP saying, “India’s much bigger than Hindi, Hindu, Hindutva.” “Hindi isn’t every Indian’s “mother tongue”. Could you try appreciating the diversity & beauty of the many mother tongues that dot this land? Article 29 gives every Indian the right to a distinct language, script & culture. India’s much bigger than Hindi, Hindu, Hindutva,” Owaisi tweeted.
On the occasion of Hindi Diwas 2019, Shah made an appeal to make Hindi the “common” language in India and said it is Hindi which is spoken the most and can unite the whole country. “India has many languages and every language has its importance. But it is absolutely necessary that the entire country should have one language that becomes India’s identity globally,” he said in a series of tweets in Hindi.
The home minister also said efforts will be made to expand Hindi to different parts of the country and asked everyone to use their native languages as much as possible.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed that the Hindi language has beautifully incorporated simplicity, spontaneity and elegance that provide meaningfulness to expression.
Hindi Divas is observed to mark the decision of the Constituent Assembly to extend official language status to Hindi on this day in 1949. Hindi Divas was first observed in 1953.