Two former Chief Ministers of Karnataka have backed Kannada actor Kichcha Sudeep after his comments on Hindi started a row with Bollywood actor Ajay Devgn on Wednesday, April 27. "Hindi is no more our national language," Sudeep had said at a film launch event last week when he was asked how he viewed the record-breaking pan-India success of the Kannada film KGF: Chapter 2. Devgn, who recently starred in filmmaker SS Rajamouli's pan-India blockbuster RRR, tagged the Karnataka-based actor on Twitter and wrote, "Hindi was, is and always will be our national language." "My brother, according to you if Hindi is not our national language then why do you release your mother tongue movies by dubbing them in Hindi?" Devgn wrote in Devanagari, the Hindi script.
However, India doesn't have a national language, and Hindi and Kannada are among the 22 languages listed in the eighth schedule of the Constitution as official languages.
Devgn's tweet prompted Sudeep to post a reply explaining that his statement was taken out of context. In a follow-up tweet, Sudeep said he understood what Devgn wrote in Hindi but wondered what his fellow actor would do if his response was in Kannada. "And sir @ajaydevgn, I did understand the text you sent in Hindi. That's only because we all have respected, loved and learnt Hindi. No offense sir, but was wondering what'd the situation be if my response was typed in Kannada! (sic)" he wrote. "Don't we too belong to India sir," Sudeep asked Devgn.
Congress leader Siddaramaiah and JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy, both former Chief Ministers of Karnataka, also took to Twitter to back Kichcha Sudeep. “Hindi was never and will never be our national language. It is the duty of every Indian to respect the linguistic diversity of our country. Each language has its own rich history for its people to be proud of. I am proud to be a Kannadiga!” Siddharamaiah tweeted.
Hindi was never & will never be our National Language.— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) April 27, 2022
It is the duty of every Indian to respect linguistic diversity of our Country.
Each language has its own rich history for its people to be proud of.
I am proud to be a Kannadiga!! https://t.co/SmT2gsfkgO
HD Kumaraswamy said that there was nothing wrong with the statement by actor Kichcha Sudeep. “Like Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam and Marathi, Hindi is also one of the languages. India is a garden of several languages. Land of many cultures. Let there be no attempts to disrupt this. Just because a large population speaks Hindi, it doesn’t become a national language. Less than nine states, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, have Hindi as second or third language or not even that. This being the situation, what is the truth in Ajay Devgan’s statement?” he asked.
“From the beginning, ‘Hindi’ based political parties in the Union government have been making efforts to destroy regional languages. Congress which started suppressing regional languages is being continued by the BJP. Ajay Devgn blabbered as a mouthpiece of BJP’s ‘Hindi Nationalism’...Devgn must realise that Kannada cinema is outgrowing Hindi film industry. Because of encouragement by kannadigas, Hindi cinema has grown…An addiction for primacy is dividing the country. A seed sown by the BJP has become contagious, dividing the nation. This is a threat to India’s unity,” he added.
Earlier this month, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had said Hindi should be accepted as an alternative to English and not to local languages. Presiding over the 37th meeting of the Parliamentary Official Language Committee in Delhi, Shah had said Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided that the medium of running the government is in the official language and this would definitely increase the importance of Hindi. His remarks had triggered off a row.
With PTI inputs