The DMK has decided to hold protest demonstrations in all district headquarters in Tamil Nadu on Sept 20 in protest against Home Minister Amit Shah’s view that Hindi should be the sole national language to promote unite the country.
Party president MK Stalin has already contested Shah’s view and said India’s unity lies in its diversity and uniformity is not unity.
A resolution adopted at a high-level meeting in Chennai on Monday said Shah’s views were against the pluralistic character of India and the assurance given by Jawaharlal’s Nehru that English would continue as the associate official and link language so long as the non-speaking Hindi want it.
The assurance was given by Nehru in 1963 and reiterated Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1966 after the 1965 anti-Hindi agitation led by students and the DMK when Hindi was sought to be made the sole language for writing UPSC examinations. The agitated students felt that it would give an unfair advantage to Hindi speakers.
As a result of the agitation, which catapulted the DMK to power in 1967 in Tamil Nadu, candidates have been allowed to write UPSC examinations in regional languages. It has also led to recognition of 22 languages, including Tamil and Sanskrit, as national languages.
The DMK says Shah’s view reflects the Sangh Parivar’s larger agenda of pushing for one-nation, one language, one religion. Or as DMK ideologue Murasoli Maran put it succinctly, “Hindi, Hindu, Hindutva”.
Shah’s statement is nothing to cause such an undue alarm. All he said was that he wished to see Hindi as the sole national language, a view he is entitled to. He also said that along with Hindi, mother tongue should also be promoted. That was lost in the din.
Shah said this in Hindi Nivas function whose aim is to promote Hindi. Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, when he was a Minister in the UPA Government in 2009, said much the same thing at the very same Hindi Nivas function. The DMK, which was part of the UPA Government, did not make much a fuss though DMK patriarch M K Karunanidhi took strong exception to it.
This time there is a storm of protest not only in Tamil Nadu but also in Karnataka, because it was Shah who said it, a man action, not of words. It came shortly reports said that he was asking Home Ministry officials to translate into Hindi all files in English.
In Tamil Nadu, it could not have come at a worse time. Sept 15 is the birth anniversary of DMK founder C N Annadurai who stoutly opposed Hindi imposition. It is also the DMK’s foundation day. Tuesday, Sept 17,was the 142nd birth anniversary of rationalist leader and Dravida Kazhagam party founder “Periyar’ E V Ramasamy.
After paying tribute to “Periyar”, DK president K Veeramani said his message “is far more relevant today than ever before”.
As Stalin put it, BJP wants to make India “Hindia”. Actor Kamal Hassan has said: “No Shah or Sultan can be allowed to undermine the unity by converting inclusive India into exclusive”.
Shah has given another handle to Stalin to get into agitation mode.