On the occasion of Hindi Diwas, The Home Minister of India made a statement that closely translates as follows: “We hope that all of us will be involved with complete dedication in developing national language Hindi as the language of the entire country“.
There was widespread appreciation for this speech that advocated Hindi to be made the language of the entire country. In fact, in NDTV’s own words – “Union Home Minister won the hearts of the audience.”
Am sure you must be baffled because you are expecting to be reading how there was widespread outrage because of the Home Minister’s statement and how South India has erupted in protests. Well, you are baffled because I left out a minor detail. The above statement was made by India’s Home Minister, Shri P. Chidambaram, in the year 2010. Now you know why NDTV was so thrilled back then but is severely upset right now with statements of the current Home Minister, Shri Amit Shah! And now you also know why the outrage is limited to statements made only post-2014 by BJP ministers.
Post-2014, it became mandatory for certain politicians and media houses to feign outrage on every Hindi Diwas or when meetings related to the official language policy happened. We are reminded of how South India in its entirety is opposed to anything that is remotely connected to Hindi and the BJP’s “Hindi Imposition” is devastating for the country. This argument certainly baffles me for two reasons.
The first reason being that all the 5 anti-Hindi violent agitations happened only in one state – Tamil Nadu. It was only in Tamil Nadu where there were multiple riots; where 100s of people died; where 100s of houses were destroyed; where 1000s, including leaders were arrested; and where 20 students even committed suicide in 1986. The remaining states in South India very happily adapted to learning Hindi where necessary (and if not necessary, just didn’t care) without any impact on learning their mother tongue or English for that matter.
The second reason being that 4 out of 5 violent anti-Hindi agitations in India happened when the mighty Congress was in power (either in Tamil Nadu or at the centre) – the other one happened pre-Independence but even then, the Congress was technically in government in the Madras Presidency. Bottom line is that there was violence only in one state and only when Congress was in power.
In fact, the various governments of Tamil Nadu were so angry about Hindi being made compulsory in Navodaya Schools in 1986 (run by Central Government) that even today Tamil Nadu is the only state in the entire country that doesn’t operate any Navodaya Schools!
Till last year, it was only politicians from Tamil Nadu who would react to anything remotely connected to Hindi. This year, other politicians belonging to some non-BJP parties have joined the chorus in an attempt to make empty noises around this topic. Buoyed by this meaningless support and forgetting the stellar role of the Congress party in fomenting this violence, senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor thought this was an opportune moment to jump on this bandwagon and chose to write a scintillating piece in The Hindu, the newspaper that is headquartered in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
He begins by saying that the BJP government is imposing Hindi by naming government schemes in Hindi and not in “neutral English” and cites the name “Swachh Bharat” as a sterling example of his argument! In his desperate attempt to fill up space for the page, Shashi Tharoor even went to extent of telling us that the Modi government renamed Teacher’s Day as Guru Purnima! Is it any wonder that the once-mighty Congress party is on a steady decline in the country where Guru Purnima precedes Teachers Day not just by centuries but by millennia!
This is the same Congress party that named its flagship programme in its 2019 manifesto “Nyuntam Aay Yojana”. It really takes some special skill to come up with a name like that and talk about Swachh Bharat being complicated, in the same vein. But what exactly is the solution that the Congress party, through Shashi Tharoor, is now offering to the problem they created in the first place? Brace for it – “use Hindi where it is understood, but use English everywhere, since it places all Indians from all parts of our country at an equal disadvantage.”
You read it right – use English because it puts everyone at a disadvantage! The gems of Shashi Tharoor in this article are simply never-ending – he claims that since Malayalam is gender-neutral, they would never understand the usage of gender for certain scenarios – so don’t use Hindi!
Shashi Tharoor credits Bollywood (or did he blame them? It’s just difficult to understand from his article) for the popularization of Hindi in the country. Shashi Tharoor is no ordinary person – he is a 3-time elected MP; he was a Union Minister, working in the ministry responsible for educating our children; he was in the running for UN Secretary-General, and he is a very (very) vocal member of the Congress party. There is no way he would have written such a hare-brained article without the approval of the higher-ups in the party. The arrogance of the Congress party in lecturing the people of India after it creates such problems is simply astounding.
Speaking of arrogance, how can Shekhar Gupta be far behind to exhibit this inherent trait of his? He goes ahead and publishes an article to bring in a caste angle also to this topic.
This article was authored by a known Modi hater – Kancha Iliah Shephard who relishes bringing in a caste angle to any issue that is under discussion in the English media! Even in this article, we are told that “First Brahmins benefited from the pro-English agitations of Tamil people.” – basically yet again stressing that this problem is only with the people of one state in the entire country.
If anything, Prime Minister Modi has been at the forefront in encouraging Indians to learn multiple Indian languages. Recently, he had even cited the example of the Tanzanian brother-sister duo who were lip-syncing to Hindi songs and asked fellow Indians to send in their lip sync videos of a song in a language different from their own. He has been at the forefront of promoting the Tamil language in his various speeches, even at International forums. He had even arranged for an India-China summit in Tamil Nadu, to showcase the rich cultural heritage of India. Guess what – we didn’t see any “PM wins hearts” headlines from the likes of NDTV when all of this happened.
Tamil Nadu continues to be the only state where Hindi is an issue. Politicians trying to make this an issue in other South Indian states are barking up a wrong tree – the people of these states are not averse to being multi-lingual for their own benefits. It is time we know these cold facts about the Congress party before the next outrage happens again next year.