“Do not make an inclusive India, an exclusive one,” said actor and the Chief of Makkal Needhi Maiam Kamal Haasan as a sharp retort to Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s proposal of ‘one nation, one language’ policy. “No Shah, Sultan or Samrat should renege on the promise of unity in diversity of India,” he added.
Breaking his silence on the controversy, Kamal Haasan, in a 1.33-minute-long video said that Indians were promised unity in diversity when the country became a republic. Indicating that the promise is being taken back by the present union government, Kamal Haasan warned that the battle for language will be many times bigger than the Jallikattu protest of 2017.
Kamal Haasan pointed to India’s national anthem and said, “Most of the nation happily sings its national anthem in Bengali, with pride, and will continue to do so. The reason is that the poet who wrote the national anthem gave due respect to all languages and cultures within the anthem. And hence it became our anthem,” he said. Urging the union to not make an inclusive India into an exclusive one by trying to impose a single language across the country, Kamal Haasan said that everybody will suffer due to such ‘shortsighted folly’. The video ends with him saying ‘Long live Tamil, Long live Tamils and Long live India. Jai Hind’.
Now you are constrained to prove to us that India will continue to be a free country.— Kamal Haasan (@ikamalhaasan) September 16, 2019
You must consult the people before you make a new law or a new scheme. pic.twitter.com/u0De38bzk0
Kamal Haasan’s statement comes days after Union Minister Amit Shah stated that only Hindi can unite the country. His speech and tweets came on the occasion of ‘Hindi Diwas’: “There are several languages in India and they have their own value, but it is important for the nation to have one language that it is identified by in the world. If there is one language that can unite the country, it's Hindi.” He also urged the people of India to use their mother tongues but also Hindi more often, thus contributing to fulfilling the dream of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhai Patel of ‘one nation, one language’.
These remarks from the country’s Home Minister garnered sharp reactions from various quarters, most of them slamming the statements and calling it imposition.