The Luddite argument of Southern States over Hindi Language
The recent controversy over Home Minister Amit Shah’s view on introducing Hindi as a second language in all schools of the non-Hindi speaking states raised much heat and dust in the South. The DMK supremo MK Stalin is up in arms to negate the process. Already, the Centre run educational institutions with CBSE and ISCSE syllabuses, have Hindi as first/second language. Many in Tamil Nadu learnt Hindi by studying in those schools. However, the DMK supremo Stalin and his party spokespersons have been vehemently saying, this introduction of Hindi, in all state-run schools to be some kind of political game-plan by the BJP. If the Centre’s introduction is political, Tamil Nadu’s resisting it is also political. As a matter of fact, the Tamil parties are playing politics of language chauvinism.
Rabble-Rousers have come out from slumber:
Kamal Hassan, who is in political oblivion till yesterday, jumped his gun in opposing entry of Hindi to Tamil schools. He could get his pictures dubbed to Hindi for Hindi audiences, and now, he has the cheek to say Hindi is not needed for Tamil kids! What kind of statesmen are these for Liberals like Rajdeep Sardesai to support? He often offers, his channel, as the platform for Kamal Hassan to air his weirdest views. Freedom of speech! These divisive politicians should be exposed. In the name of free speech, they are talking non-sense. They are unnecessarily dragging young Tamil children, innocent by their very nature, into the politicos’ cultural war over the language. Who has given them right to deprive a language that is largely spoken in the country, Hindi?
Participating in TV debates, the Davidian parties’ spokespersons shamelessly support English as the link language in the country, instead of Hindi. No one or no political party opposes to learn English in India. The Constitution of India gives the right/freedom to learn any language including English. Many can learn English if they wish to, but why opposing the minimal introduction of Hindi? There is a provision in the Constitution for promoting Hindi as national language. What’s wrong if the country heads towards that. It’s the dream and wish of the father of our nation Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi ji sought for the improvement of all languages, however, he emphasized that every cultured Indian in addition to his provincial (state) language should know Hindi. Though Gandhi ji best expressed his own thoughts in Gujarati and English, he asked for the country to have a universal language i.e. Hindi.
The politicians and political parties in Tamil Nadu are so scared to support the Centre’s move, a wee bit, only indicates, their support for populism over pragmatism. The neighbouring states are not as vehement as the T.N. They all, already have a three-language formula in place in their schools. The Centre, if keen on introducing Hindi, it can go ahead with a legislation. If T.N opposes, let them not have it, the future generations of the state will suffer because of their Dumbo- politicians. In any case, let T.N, be T.N with their crackpot ideas.
The Luddite argument:
The Telugu Organisation Heads in Andhra Pradesh are shouting from rooftops against the move on T.V debates, as, in their opinion, Hindi would eventually wipe out Telugu. This is ridiculous. All along, all these years, Telugu has been marginalised by giving importance to English in both Andhra and Telangana. Both governments introduced English medium state-run schools neglecting the mother-tongue Telugu. Then, this Telugu Bhasha Samithees did nothing. Now, they have worries/qualms to say Hindi (another language of the country) would erase Telugu! For all southern states, English is the preferred language and Hindi is something that has to be kept at arm’s length! The craze for English over mother-tongue has never been questioned and it has been accepted with so much of silent reverence! Now, when it comes to Hindi, all hell broke loose! What for?
Illogical arguments of some Hindi-speaking people:
One of the arguments from an eminent Hindi-supporter (on T.V) was, that all southerners should learn Hindi so as to talk with the migrant Bihari, M.P/U. P labourers (to the South) to get their work done. To be candid, these labourers migrated to greener pastures in the South are also bound to learn the language of the place in order to make themselves understood. It’s not for the boss to learn the language of an employee. To argue more liberally, both (the employer and the employee) should make effort to learn one another’s language to work harmoniously.
Wooing a particular state necessary?
Most of the columnists and other eminences would try to woo Tamil politicians and Tamil people all the while. South India has Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam also as major languages. These languages are also considered as rich as Tamil. The author and columnist Chetan Bhagat, way back, while writing his column in support of introduction of Hindi in southern state schools, writes that the North has to have Tamil compulsory in its schools as an exchange formula. Why so? Why not one of the other south-languages? These columnists like rabble rousers, not the other sober southerners.
Hindi Language is for the identity of the country:
Logically speaking, South Indian languages are difficult to learn. Moreover, language learning is need- based. To learn some amount of Hindi for the South Indians, is a genuine concern. Then, there would be a predominant language for the country to project to the world. The government at the Centre is duty bound to promote all Indian languages as they are all our ancient treasures and contain immense wisdom. Let Hindi knit the country fabric and let states knit their own, state languages. We, as Indians take pride in all our languages. After all, multilingualism is the strength of our country. Let’s not ignore that Hindi is the identity of this country.
I am Indira Garimella living in Hyderabad. I hold a Master’s Degree and M. Phil (in English) with M.Ed. I worked as PGT in English in Government run Residential Schools. I have been associated with Pragna Bharati, Hyderabad. I also worked as Associate Editor of Bharatiya Pragna, monthly magazine of Pragna Bharati in the past. I have been a keen observer of National Politics and also write letters and articles to the English and Telugu newspapers from time to time.