Kerala Against Hindi Imposition; Terms Recommendations Attack on Federalism and Diversity of Nation
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The report submitted by the Official Language committee headed by union home minister Amit Shah on making Hindi the medium of instruction among several other recommendations has invited strong objections from southern states.
The recommendation to use English as the medium of instruction only where it is necessary and replacing it with Hindi gradually has not gone well with the southern states. The committee has also recommended carrying out other activities in Hindi in the technical and non-technical institutions and making English optional has also irked the states.
Kerala joined Tamil Nadu in raising dissent against the recommendations of the committee. Both states termed the move as an attack on India’s soul and unity in diversity.
‘OPPOSITION FROM THE SOUTH’
‘In accordance with section 4 (3) of the Official Language Act, 1963, it is the duty of the Committee to review the progress made in the use of Hindi for the official purpose of the Union and to submit a report to the president making recommendations thereon.’
The report presented by union home minister Amit Shah is the 11th such report, with 112 recommendations including making Hindi the medium of instruction replacing English gradually, and shifting to Hindi-medium question papers for recruitment exams among others.
Voices of dissent were raised as soon as the recommendations were made public, with Tamil Nadu chief minister M K Stalin asking “not to impose another language war by imposing Hindi’.
The Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan in a tweet said, “Union Govt’s Hindi Imposition move is an onslaught on India's cherished ideal, unity in diversity. It will disadvantage a vast majority of Indians in matters of education and employment. This callous move, an affront to cooperative federalism, has to be opposed unitedly”.
The minister for Municipal Admin & Urban Development in the government of Telangana K T Rama Rao, tweeted, “India does NOT have a National language & Hindi is one among the many official languages To impose Hindi by way of mandating in IITs & central Govt recruitments, NDA Govt is flouting the federal spirit”.
All the leaders raised serious concerns over the autonomy of the states, which continuously faces threats ever since the BJP captured power.
ATTACK ON UNITY IN DIVERSITY
Pinarayi Vijayan, in a letter, addressed to the Prime Minister has opposed the recommendations of the committee. In the letter, the CM has insisted the use of all the languages specified in our constitution is to be encouraged.
Raising concerns over the recommendation to make Hindi the language of instruction in higher education institutions, the CM added, “The state-specific aspects in the educational sector have to be recognised. There cannot be a hasty decision in this matter”.
The union home minister, in his Hindi Diwas speech in September 2019 has openly called for ‘one nation, one language’. The recommendations presented now could be easily correlated to the policies of the RSS.
“While communicating among themselves, people of India residing in various states have assimilated knowledge of other languages and appreciated the similarities. India has many languages and there cannot be a single language which can be termed as the country’s language,” the letter insisted.
Dr Thomas Isaac, former finance minister of Kerala and a central committee member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] told NewsClick, “India is being ruled by a party that does not believe in the diversity of the country. How else could it insist on knowledge of Hindi as a precondition for central government employment by insisting that the recruitment tests would be only in Hindi?”.
‘YOUTH WILL BE AFFECTED’
Referring to the diverse nature of the country and the harmony among the cultural, linguistic and religious diversity, the CM flagged the concerns of the younger generation aspiring for jobs who are now feeling alienated.
“While the younger generation must be encouraged to learn languages other than their mother tongue too, any attempt which will be even remotely perceived as an imposition of language will give rise to apprehensions among the people in general and job aspirants in particular,” the letter added.
“Our youth has limited job opportunities in the Government sector and any attempt to put a substantial section of them at a relative disadvantage will not be in the best interest of our society”, the letter said referring to the recommendation on changing the question papers in Hindi.
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