Amit Shah, the BJP President and Union Home Minister suggested that Hindi should be given the status of the country's national language. His statement has been taken very seriously by the opposition parties from South India. But I think it is just a gimmick on Shah's part.
Hindi is one of the scheduled languages of the Republic of India and not the national language of India, because no language has been given such a status in the Indian constitution. Amit Shah's move doesn't have the wholehearted support of the BJP and South Indian states which saw an anti -Congress move for the first time, has turned against it. Karnataka chief minister Yediyurappa has gone on record that Karnataka can't accept such a move. A well known chief minister who had a massive role in corruption, he was sentenced by the court. In Karnataka all politicians are of the same lot. Let that pass.
In this context, it should be noticed that the BJP, with a huge majority in parliament has not taken a pro Hindi stand. It will not or cannot. So we will have to take Shah's statement as a very clever one. For his party knows how the North Indian people would react because it has come from Amit Shah, the number 2 in the union ministry, and the party president and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's right hand man. The opposition considers him guilty of many things. That doesn't wash because he has been cleared by the Supreme Court of India, as it did in the case of Narendra Modi.
Amit Shah has made such controversial statements in the past also. Take Kerala's case for example. He made remarks, where the Supreme Court ruled that all women should be allowed entry.
Amit Shah wouldn't have made such a statement regarding Hindi without reason. One could be the state of the nation- it is in dire straits, its economy is slowing down. In this context, it should be noticed that the BJP has no ready solution to this meltdown in the economy. The Congress too doesn't seem to have any. Other opposition parties for example Mayawati's BSP and Andhra Pradesh's TDP led by Chandrababu Naidu or Tamil Nadu's AIADMK and parties which have no say, PMK, haven't yet said anything on this move.
The Modi government won a massive victory in the election. It was because the Congress has only a weakening ideology and no strong state level leadership. It was just an organisation that survived on Jawaharlal Nehru's ideas. It's one party that survived for decades thanks to its ruling and roosting that is displayed in several states.
In Tamil Nadu, the state which made the Congress and other opposition irrelevant, thanks to the pro Hindi move by the Centre in the 1960's, gave a chance to the DMK. In the elections held immediately after the anti Hindi agitation, the Congress leader Kamaraj was defeated. Such was the move of the DMK that Kamaraj who was behind Indira Gandhi becoming the Prime Minister was defeated. From the 60's the DMK or the AIADMK, the party that split away, have ruled Tamil Nadu where people have a dislike for Hindi.
Modi and Amit Shah have scored a winning point in 100 days. But things stand unpredictable now. They have got brownie points in two things; the Talaq Talaq Bill and the Bill for Uniform Civil Code which has almost all Supreme Court judges and the people supporting it. On these two points Modi and Amit Shah scored. The situation in Kashmir is complicated. The Modi government’s abrogation of Article 370 and 35 -1 were bold moves.
Just as the Congressmen have switched over to the BJP, come a crisis and BJP men or its allies will switch over to the Congress. The game will continue.
The least said the better about other opposition parties like Samajwadi Party or Bihar chief minister's Nitesh Kumar who has of late switched to the BJP. Kejriwal's party will switch to any side if the situation demands it. If Amit Shah's concept of Hindi being made the national language becomes true, unlikely though, the country will see mass street protests in some Southern states.
Narendra Modi and Amit Shah may have other ideas which are not specifically talked about by them. That is to win votes of the people of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar and other states in North India. Bengal and other East Indian states and Maharashtra could see a difference, I guess it will be dangerous for the country. It could be a time for RSS ideas. Let it not happen.
The facts and views expressed in the article are those of the writer.