The Background: Home minister Amit Shah’s comment on Hindi being the “heart and soul of our freedom struggle” drew scathing criticism from opposition parties.
Slamming him for his Hindi language pitch, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday said it was a “planned attempt” to stir up controversy and divert attention from pressing problems in the country. He termed it as a ‘war cry’ against the mother tongues of non-Hindi speaking people.
The chief minister, in a Facebook post, said that despite protests erupting in many places on the issue, Shah was not prepared to withdraw from the “Hindi agenda”, which are signs to show that the Sangh parivar was getting ready to open a new “agitational platform”.
However, Kerala governor Arif Mohammed Khan welcomed the move, saying language inspires and unites the people and the country’s unity can be strengthened through Hindi.
“A language inspires and unites people. Let us strengthen our unity through Hindi, our national language. Along with our mother tongue, let us use Hindi in our work”, he said in a tweet on the occasion of Hindi Divas on Saturday.
It must be reiterated here that Hindi is not the national language of India.
Shah had in a series of tweets on Saturday, said, “India has many languages and every language has its importance. But it is absolutely necessary that the entire country should have one language that becomes India’s identity globally.”
Launching a scathing attack on Shah, Vijayan said the notion that Hindi can unite the country was “absurd” and the move was a “war cry” against those loving their mother tongue.
“The claim that Hindi unifies our country is absurd. That language is not the mother tongue of a majority of Indians. The move to impose Hindi on them amounts to enslaving them,” he said.
The chief minister said people in the southern, western and eastern parts of the country do not speak Hindi and to make it the primary language in these areas amounted to rejecting their mother tongues.
No Indian should feel alienated because of language, he said and pointed out that India’s strength lies in its ability to embrace diversity.
The CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury also tweeted and said that RSS’slogan will promote national insecurity.
DMK leader MK Stalin also criticised Amit Shah for his assertion that Hindi is “the one language marking (India’s) identity globally”, declaring “this is India, not Hindia”. He warned the Centre of another “language war” unless Prime Minister Narendra Modi issued a clarification. “The Home Minister’s views threatening India’s integrity are painful and condemnable.”
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Congress MP from Kerala Shashi Tharoor also issued warnings against the forced imposition of Hindi.
At the Hindi Diwas on Saturday, Shah rekindled the controversy when he stressed on the ability of the widely-spoken language to “unite” the country and be representative of the nation at a global level.
With inputs from news agencies