Farmers protest against the plan to join the Regional Comprehensive Economics Partnership at Khasa, Punjab, on Saturday. Agence France-Presse
Prominent south Indian leaders have flayed Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s proposal for “one nation, one language” formula. Shah pitched the idea on Saturday on the occasion of Hindi Diwas.
In Tamil Nadu, a state which has always fiercely fought against the imposition of Hindi, the ruling Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (ADMK) as well as the opposition DMK raised its voice, while in neighbouring Karnataka local groups took to the streets and former chief ministers Siddaramaiah (Congress) and HD Kumaraswamy (Janata Dal) opposed the proposal.
DMK president MK Stalin said on Saturday: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi should issue a clarification on Amit Shah’s statement. Else, the DMK will prepare itself for another language protest. Is it India or Hindi-a?
“India stands for unity in diversity. The BJP-led government is trying to destroy this and go against it. The home minister should withdraw his statement.”
“We have always stood against the imposition of Hindi and have raised our voices against the same in cases of exams like the railways and postal departments. We strongly condemn the home minister’s statement,” Stalin said.
“Today’s remarks made by Amit Shah gave us a jolt, it will affect the unity of the country. Day after tomorrow we will be holding our executive party meeting where we will take up this issue further,” he said.
Stalin had in June opposed a move for a three-language formula for schools in Tamil Nadu. “Hindi is not in the blood of the people of Tamil Nadu,” he then said.
A #StopHindiImposition tag has started trending on Twitter.
On Hindi Divas, Amit Shah had tweeted, “India is a country of different languages and every language has its own importance but it is very important to have a language which should become the identity of India in the world. If one language can unite the country today, it is the widely spoken Hindi language.”
In another tweet, he added, “Today, on the occasion of Hindi Day, I appeal to all the citizens of the country that we should increase the use of our mother tongue and also use the Hindi language as one language to realise the dreams of Bapu and iron man Sardar Patel.
Happy Diwas.” BJP ally ADMK’s spokesperson Vaigaiselvan said though Amit Shah might have said what he felt, it might affect the unity of the country.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has several times said that he has love and affection for Tamil and I hope that he stays true to this words,” he added.
VCK chief and Lok Sabha member Tol Thirumavalavan said Amit Shah’s statement hints at dictatorship.
“Amit Shah is able to make such a statement because they have absolute majority. This will affect the multifaceted nature of the country. If this is allowed this will only have negative impact and will not help in the development of the country by any means,” he said.
Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party working president JP Nadda also greeted the nation on the occasion of Hindi day.
Nadda said: “Hindi is the most spoken and understood language across India, which unites all of us in the thread of unity and is also our identity in the world. Wish you all a very Happy Hindi Day. Let us all increase the use of Hindi in our daily lives and inspire others as well.”
From Bengaluru, Siddaramaiah tweeted, “The lie that Hindi is a national language should stop. Let it be known to all that it is just like Kannada, one among the 22 official languages of India. You cannot promote a language by spreading lies and fake information. Languages flourish by affection and respect for each other.”
Kumaraswamy tweeted, “The central government is celebrating ‘Hindi Diwas.’ When will you celebrate Kannada Diwas Narendra Modi, which is also an official language like Hindi? Remember that the people of Karnataka are part of the federal system.” The tweet carried the hashtag “Stop Hindi Imposition.”