Many were quick to question the railways on the basis of one picture, but Malayalam wasn't actually missing.

No Malayalam Twitter users cry foul over Kerala rail station slogans in Hindi English
news Railways Saturday, November 04, 2017 - 13:59

The debate over Hindi imposition in the southern states has resurfaced once again.  This time triggered by a controversy over  safety slogans painted on the steps of a foot overbridge in Trivandrum Central Station.

On Friday, the official Twitter handle of Trivandrum Division Southern Railway shared a photograph of safety and cleanliness slogans painted in English and Hindi. Some of the signs read, "Cleanliness is the only medicine to all diseases”, "Today is the best day to pledge for cleanliness", "Swatchatha ki prathinja aaj hi harein" and “Safety rules are our best tools".

While some lauded the initiative to maintain cleanliness at the station, many were quick to point out the absence of slogans in Malayalam. 

Soon, Shashi Tharoor, Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram also took note of the initiative. However, he said that if the idea was to reach more local people, Malayalam should have been used in the slogans.

As several people began to flood the Divisional Railway Manager (DRM)'s Twitter page, TNM reached out to the official. 

The DRM said that the safety signs were painted on the foot overbridge as per the direction from the Chairman, Railway Board. 

"The direction has been given to all the divisions. We started doing it now, others will follow," the official said. 

Asked about the languages chosen for the sign boards, the official said:

"The directive did not specify the choice of language, that was done as per the discretion of the division."

The official, however, dismissed criticism that Malayalam was kept out of the sign boards. He said that safety and cleanliness slogans were painted in Malayalam too on a different set of steps on another overbridge.  

The debate over Hindi imposition was triggered recently when the signage boards in metro stations in Bengaluru sported Hindi boards instead of Kannada. The Hindi boards were eventually taken down following widespread protests by Kannada groups, which attacked the Centre for attempting to impose Hindi. 

The question of 'Hindi imposition' had started a war of words between Chief Minister Siddharamaiah and various central ministers.

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