Hindi Row: DMK Announces Protests; Rahul Gandhi Too Stirs the Pot

Yediyurappa asserted that Kannada is Karnataka’s principal language and its importance would never be compromised.

3 min read
DMK Stalin and Rahul Gandhi.

Upping the ante, the DMK on Monday, 16 September announced demonstrations across Tamil Nadu on 20 September against Home Minister Amit Shah's pitch for Hindi as a common language, while Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter and joined the bandwagon of those who disapprove Shah’s statements.

While celebrating Hindi Divas on 14 September, Shah claimed that Hindi, being the most spoken language had the power to unite the country.

Shah reignited the debate on the issue as a section of political parties in South India said they would oppose any attempt to “impose” the language.

India’s Many Languages Are Not Her Weakness: Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in a tweet said, “India's many languages are not her weakness,” listing 23 Indian languages.

Congress leader Rajiv Shukla, at a media briefing, said that Hindi is India's official language which “we want to grow”, but along with that regional languages should also be encouraged.

"Hindi continues to grow, this is what we all want, but by putting pressure, by doing something, it is not appropriate to use that issue only for votes,” he said.

The Congress on Saturday had said that the three-language formula should not be tinkered with and controversies must not be stirred up on “emotive” issues settled by Constitution-makers.

Shah Faces Flak From South

In BJP-ruled Karnataka, where Congress veteran Siddaramaiah and the JD(S) have come out strongly against Shah's statements, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa asserted that Kannada is the principal language in the state and its importance would never be compromised.

Meanwhile, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, hit out at those opposing Hindi as the 'national language', saying "they have no love for the country".

“I am supporting Hindi as the national language as most of the people of our country speak Hindi,” the BJP leader said, endorsing Shah's remarks.

DMK on Hindi Imposition

DMK chief MK Stalin said his party's agitation was the first phase of protest on Hindi issue and the further course of action will be decided on the basis of central government's response and consultations with like-minded parties.

The agitation was to nip in the bud the “adverse effects of Hindi imposition on mother Tamil and the mother tongue of people of other (non-Hindi speaking) states,” a resolution adopted at a party meet said.

‘Battle for Language Will be Bigger’: Haasan

Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) founder Kamal Haasan on Monday said, “The unity in diversity is a promise that we made when we made India into a Republic.”

“Now, no Shah, Sultan or Samrat must renege on that promise. We respect all languages, but our mother language will always be Tamil," he said in a video.

Referring to the 2017 pro-jallikattu protests, he said It was just a protest, the battle for our language will be exponentially bigger than that.”

In January 2017, massive protests were held in Tamil Nadu seeking nod to hold bull taming sport 'Jallikattu' after it was banned by the Supreme Court, following which a law was passed by the Tamil Nadu Assembly to allow it.

Talking about the country’s National Anthem, he said, “The reason is the poet (Rabindranath Tagore) who wrote the National Anthem gave due respect to all languages and culture within the Anthem," he said.

Tamil Nadu was witness to the anti-Hindi agitation in the 1960’s taken forward by the DMK.

Over 50 Eminent Bengali Personalities Issue Statement

Shah remarks have evoked mix reactions across the country with over 50 eminent Bengali personalities from different walks of life calling upon the people to give “due respect to all languages” and “resist attempt to impose just one.”

Taking to Facebook, they issued a statement on Monday, urging people to register a strong protest against any bid to edge out Bengali language from their lives.

Among the signatories are poet Subodh Sarkar, poet-columnist Binayak Bandyopadhyay, elocutionists Urmimala Basu and Jagannath Basu and independent filmmaker Pradipta Bhattacharya.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said that people should respect all languages and cultures but not at the cost of their mother tongue.

Meanwhile, CPI leader and Rajya Sabha MP Binoy Viswam also wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticising Shah's statement.

“People justifiably believe that the Home Minister was advancing the idea of 'One Nation, One Language', which is unacceptable to a multi-linguistic country like India,” he said.

(With inputs from PTI)

(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by The Quint.)

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