Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday, 7 April, said that Indian people of different states should communicate with each other in Hindi, and not English.
Presiding over the 37th meeting of the Parliamentary Official Language Committee, Shah said that when citizens of different states communicate with each other, "it should be in the language of India."
The Union minister and BJP leader said that "Hindi should be accepted as an alternative to English and not to local languages. He said that unless we make Hindi flexible by accepting words from other local languages, it will not be propagated," as per a press release by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
He said that now, the time had come to make the official language an important part of the unity of the country.
Shah also noted in the meeting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had decided that the medium of running the government was the official language and that this would increase the importance of Hindi.
The Union minister, who chairs the Official Language Committee, informed members that now, 70 percent of the agenda of the Cabinet was prepared in Hindi.
'Cant Impose Any Language Forcefully: Siddaramaiah
Reacting to the statements, former Karnataka chief minister and Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah said, "Hindi is neither a national language nor a link language. In federal system, one can't impose any language forcefully. We don't have any problem learning other languages," as per ANI.
Denouncing the HM's push, Tamil Nadu Finance Minister P Thiagarajan said, "Why should I have a three-language formula? It makes no sense. Union HM Amit Shah's comment is completely off-logic. Hindi is not intrinsic to at least 60%-70% of country...Not only is this chauvinism but it is economically inverse logic."
JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy said, "The central government and Union home minister are actually trying to forcibly run their personal agendas. But they won't succeed. People will teach them a lesson," news agency ANI reported.
Meanwhile, senior TMC leader Sougata Roy took a jab at the Home Minister's remarks and said, "If Amit Shah and BJP try to impose Hindi on non-Hindi speaking states, it will be resisted. The people of this country, where there is so much diversity, will never accept such thing."
Shah's statements advocating Hindi as the lingua franca of India have elicited censure in the past as well.
On Hindi Diwas in 2019, Shah had said, "If there is any language that can tie the whole country in one thread, it is the most spoken language of Hindi."
Many residing in the southern Indian states had taken offence to Shah’s statement which was seen as an imposition of the Hindi language.
Shah Stresses on Boosting Hindi Education
The home minister further stressed the need to give elementary knowledge of Hindi to students up to class nine and pay more attention to Hindi teaching examinations.
He said 22,000 Hindi teachers had been recruited in the eight states of the northeast, while nine tribal communities of the region had converted their dialects' scripts to Devanagari. Apart from this, all the eight states that lie in the Northeast have agreed to make Hindi compulsory in schools up to Class 10, as per the MHA.