DMK Working President MK Stalin, after failing again and again to turn the tide in his favour in the absence of late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, is getting desperate and is running out of issues to complain about. Stalin has now taken the good old anti-Hindi debate in his hands to take pot shots at Prime Minister Modi and the BJP. He is threatening to create an environment similar to that of 1960s in Tamil Nadu, if Hindi is imposed upon Tamils.
On March 30, 2017, the DMK working president released a detailed statement on imposition of Hindi and cited incidents that were deemed to have imposed Hindi upon Tamils by the BJP government. While opposing the milestone markings in Hindi on national highways, Stalin warned of ‘new’ anti-Hindi protests if Centre continued to favour Hindi at the expense of other languages.
What Stalin failed to know from his advisors was that what NHAI is doing now with regards to the milestones is nothing but implementing a policy decision of the Centre. And when was this policy decision on three-language markings formula taken? In 2006, when DMK’s TR Baalu was the Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways & Shipping.
It is pertinent to note that the Modi government did not pass any law or amendments, and is just implementing what was prescribed by the government in TR Baalu’s period. It was DMK’s failure to forsee that such a policy would hurt Tamil Nadu in future. Hence, Stalin should take moral responsibility for such a goof-up and not target the NHAI, which is just implementing what’s there in the rule book.
On top of this, Stalin, in his long and harshly worded statement, also quoted similar ‘incidents’ that are far from the truth. I would like to give a point-by-point rebuttal to the incidents that Stalin used to lambast PM Modi and the BJP government.
Stalin claims that the BJP-led Modi Government has introduced Sanskrit/Hindi as a third language in place of German, and thus is imposing Hindi.
The three-language formula being followed by Kendriya Vidyalayas is very clear that only those among the 23 Indian languages listed in Schedule 8 of the Constitution could be opted for. Other foreign languages like German, Spanish, Russian can only continue to be taught as a foreign language.
The existing setup of having German as third language by the Congress-led UPA Government was illegal and was in violation of constitutional provisions.
German was introduced as a third language in Kendriya Vidyalayas following the signing of MoU between the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangthan and the Goethe Institute of Max Mueller Bhavan in 2011. The agreement, that was for three years, ended in 2014. The Modi government, while introducing Sanskrit as third language, has taken the position that the MoU between the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangthan and the Goethe Institute of Max Mueller Bhavan was illegal and in violation of constitutional provisions. Hence, the agreement was not renewed.
Where is Hindi or Sanskrit imposition here, Mr Stalin? More so, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry are places where the three-language formula is not in place with regards to the Kendriya Vidyalayas. So why are you bothered about something that has no connection to Tamil Nadu?
‘Sanskrit Week’ is forced upon schools to be celebrated mandatorily.
Again, a blatant lie. The Modi government never forced any school to mandatorily celebrate Sanskrit Week. The circular issued by HRD Ministry clearly reads, “In its endeavor to promote Sanskrit, the schools affiliated to CBSE may celebrate Sanskrit Week in an experiential manner by conducting activities connected to the real world.” It establishes that there is no mandatory clause.
Why should Stalin bother if someone really wants to celebrate Sanskrit? How is Tamil being compromised if a Sanskrit Week is celebrated?
Introduction of half-hour Sanskrit news bulletin in Doordarshan is Sanskrit imposition.
The fact is that Doordarshan already had a five-minute Sanskrit news bulletin, 'Varta', which is telecast at 6.55 pm every day. In addition to that, DD News launched a half-hour News Mag in Sanskrit in June 2015, as decided at the 16th World Sanskrit Conference, Bangkok. It has been made amply clear by Doordarshan officials that there have been demands from a section of viewers for a news programme in Sanskrit for a long time, and that DD News, being the public broadcaster, wanted to cater to this demand, and launched the programme in order to attract a niche audience.
Will Stalin make it clear how Tamil was compromised or Sanskrit was imposed upon the people of Tamil Nadu?
Law Commission reports are being made available in Hindi as well.
Large sections of Indian people speak Hindi. Earlier, Law Commission reports were prepared only in English. Stalin should understand that entire country is not privileged to get convent school English education. With Hindi being one of the largest spoken languages for Indians, the government is preparing the reports in Hindi language to help the students where Hindi is spoken the most.
If Stalin is a progressive leader, he should have demanded publishing the Law Commission Reports in Tamil as well, rather than complaining about those being made available in Hindi.
Further, this can no way, even in the wildest dreams, can be considered as imposition of Hindi at the cost of Tamil.
Modi government is forcing government officers and Departments to use Hindi as a communication language, thus imposing Hindi.
Stalin is again, in spite of being proven wrong multiple times, attributing a circular that was issued by the Congress-led UPA government to the BJP Government. The fact is this: The Department of Official Languages, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India had issued a circular on 10th March, 2014 (UPA Government was in place then) stating that in keeping with the existing policy of the government regarding use of Hindi, Government of India communication in ‘A’ category States i.e Hindi speaking States, must give equal importance to the use of Hindi in its social media platforms. The instructions reiterated that both English and Hindi must be used on official Twitter, Facebook, blogs etc. by the Government of India.
It is further also clarified that these instructions of the Department of Official Languages dated March 10, 2014, do not seek to impose communication in Hindi on States which are not Hindi speaking. Therefore, Tamil Nadu is no way related to this circular, but still Stalin would spread lies and keep harping on this to score brownie points. The instructions of Department of Official Languages have only reiterated the existing Government of India policy on the use of Hindi, in which the use of Hindi is compulsory in government communication in the Hindi speaking states.
Therefore, I would request Stalin to make allegations that are true in nature hereafter, rather than depending on lies to build up a political case. This is not doing justice to the senior position he is holding in the political space of Tamil Nadu.
Note: Opinions expressed by the writer are his own.
The writer is an advocate practising in the High Court of Madras & Vice President of BJYM (BJP Youth Wing) of Tamil Nadu.