After its enormous pressure forced the state Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to write to the central government asking for the Hindi signage at Namma Metro to be removed, the Kannada Development Authority (KDA) has come up with yet another demand.
Now, the KDA wants the three-language policy at schools in the state be brought down to a two-language policy, thereby removing Hindi from the list. Chethan Kumar & BV Shiva Shankar of The Times of India report that several activists and groups who supported or led the Namma Metro Hindi Beda campaign, have given their nod to the latest demand.
SG Siddaramaiah, chairperson of KDA told TOI, “Now that the Metro issue has taken a positive shape, we will take up the issue of language in schools. Imposition of Hindi is being carried out in the guise of an optional third language, which need not exist. We believe the two-language policy is best suited for the state."
According to the report, several activists including the ones from Banavasi Balaga, who initiated the Metro agitation on Hindi signage, have supported the latest demand. Moreover, Campaign for Language Equality and Rights (CLEAR) and several writers and intellectuals have also given their nod.
Speaking to the newspaper, Anand, a member of CLEAR argued that they were not against teaching or learning Hindi per se. It is only the imposition of the language, that they are resisting against, he pointed out.
"There is no constitutional recognition for the three-language policy and it's only an agreement between states and the Centre. We are not opposed to Hindi-speaking people or learning the language, but we certainly believe that forcing students to learn Hindi as a third language is unnecessary imposition. The larger agitation is for equality of all languages and campaigns like Metro and schools are means to achieve that end," Anand told TOI.
Currently, teaching Kannada at all schools in the state is compulsory, after the KDA brought in the demand a few years back. According to a report published by The Hindu in 2007, the KDA, then headed by Chairperson Siddalingiah, had demanded that Kannada be taught at all schools, across all boards.
Another report by The Hindu published on Sunday says that the KDA is even mulling to propose making Kannada compulsory in colleges, including undergraduate, post graduate and professional courses. According to the report, KDA Chairperson is said to have held meetings with the Vice-Chancellors of universities on Saturday regarding this.
While the anti-Hindi imposition campaigns began with the appearance of Hindi signage at the newly-opened Metro line in Bengaluru, it soon led to pro-Kannada groups raising a number of demands.
Last week, the KDA had even said that it wants non-Kannadiga engineers removed from Namma Metro.