At a time when states across India are fighting to protect their linguistic independence from the Centre's repeated attempts to impose Hindi, Union Minister Amit Shah has declared that only Hindi can unite the country and has openly pushed for the 'One Nation, One Language' agenda.
The Minister in a tweet on Saturday, stated that, "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 then went on to urge citizens on the occasion of Hindi Diwas to increasingly use their mother tongues, and also the Hindi language more often, and in doing so, contribute to realising the dream of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel of 'one nation, one language'.
भारत विभिन्न भाषाओं का देश है और हर भाषा का अपना महत्व है परन्तु पूरे देश की एक भाषा होना अत्यंत आवश्यक है जो विश्व में भारत की पहचान बने। आज देश को एकता की डोर में बाँधने का काम अगर कोई एक भाषा कर सकती है तो वो सर्वाधिक बोले जाने वाली हिंदी भाषा ही है। pic.twitter.com/hrk1ktpDCn— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) September 14, 2019
The BJP government's attempts to impose Hindi on non-Hindi speaking states have been far from subtle in both its first and ongoing second term. As recently as in May, they proposed the three language formula in schools and recommended the inclusion of English and Hindi besides the mother tongue in non-Hindi speaking states.
The policy had claimed that learning the three languages, including Hindi, must be considered an opportunity for expanding one's horizons. It was met with protests from several states, especially Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
After a huge outcry, the Centre was forced to make changes to the new Draft National Education policy and make Hindi optional.
Later in June, the Southern Railways had been forced to withdraw a circular directing Station Masters to communicate with the Divisional Control Office only in English or Hindi, following protests from the railway employees and the DMK in Tamil Nadu.
The circular which was issued on June 12 had mandated that Station Masters and Division Control Office must ‘avoid using regional languages’ for internal communication, which they said was an effort to avoid any miscommunication. However, railway employees and opposition leaders protested against this move, calling it illogical and an imposition of Hindi.
In July, the Centre released a notification for the postal department recruitment exam which had stated that candidates can write the exam only in Hindi or English. The move to restrict the exam only to Hindi and English was reportedly done just three days before the exams, without any publicity. The move led to massive uproar once again and following protests from political parties in non-Hindi speaking states, the exam was cancelled and scheduled for another date with the original language preferences.
In addition to this, after major outrage about the bilingual nature of the exams, the Ministry of Finance recently stated that the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS) will conduct recruitment exams for Officer scale 1 grade and Office Assistant grade in English and in the regional language of the state of the applicant.
Amit Shah's tweets have already garnered in sharp reactions and he has been accused of promoting language hegemony.
Hindi isn't every Indian's "mother tongue". Could you try appreciating the diversity & beauty of the many mother tongues that dot this land? Article 29 gives every Indian the right to a distinct language, script & culture.— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) September 14, 2019
India's much bigger than Hindi, Hindu, Hindutva https://t.co/YMVjNlaYry
The very fabric of this nation lies on diversity.. Imposing #Hindi everywhere in this country is like cutting that fabric into pieces. Its time to protest. Join us today & support our campaign by tweeting using these hashtags.#StopHindiImposition#MakeMyLanguageOfficial— ಮಲ್ಲಿಕಾರ್ಜುನ್ ಬಿ (Mallikarjun B) (@arjuna04) September 14, 2019
Hindi is not the national language of India it's just an official language like other languages.. States like TN Karnataka WB Andhra Punjab Maharashtra do not celebrate #HindiDiwas so #StopHindiImposition— IndiaMyPride (@IndiaMyPride1) September 14, 2019
Let's be united as Indian's not Hindians
Hindi imposition is just a dream pic.twitter.com/7K1ClZ6hIA