Several users asked why the updates were not tweeted in Tamil if the purpose was to inform people.

Image of cyclone above ocean
news Cyclone Nivar Wednesday, November 25, 2020 - 15:56

The #StopHindiImposition hashtag trended on Twitter on Wednesday, after the India Meteorological Department (IMD) tweeted updates on Cyclone Nivar in Hindi. At 11:47 am, the IMD’s official Twitter handle tweeted a slew of updates on Nivar, a cyclonic storm which will make landfall between Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on Wednesday, in Hindi. The Cyclone will affect Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry.

This is the first time that the IMD was tweeting updates on Cyclone Nivar in Hindi, tweets till then were in English. However, this thread which had details of the cyclonic storm was not posted in Telugu or Tamil, they were however tweeted in English. A translation of the Hindi tweets read

“In the last six hours, the severe cyclonic storm "Nivar" moved towards west-northwest direction with a speed of 11 kmph and latitude 10.7 ° in southwest Bay of Bengal in the morning of Indian time today, November 25, 2020, 0830 hrs. N and Longitude is centered at 81.7 ° E.”

Another tweet in Hindi below the first one stated: “Its (the cyclonic storm’s) distance is about 240 km east-southeast of Cuddalore, about 250 km east-southeast from Puducherry and 300 km south-southeast from Chennai. It is likely to intensify during the next 06 hours into an extremely severe cyclonic storm."

The third tweet stated that the cyclonic storm would cross the coasts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, between Karaikal and Mamallapuram, near Puducherry as a "very severe cyclonic storm in the midnight of November 25 and 26, and then move towards the west-northwest.”

The final tweet in Hindi said: “While crossing the coast, the average wind speed associated with this extremely severe cyclonic storm is estimated to be 120-130 kmph and maximum wind speed of 145 kmph.”

Reacting to the Hindi tweets, several users trended the #StopHindiImposition hashtag. Tamil is the official language of Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Puducherry and Karaikal, while Malayalam and Telugu are used for official purposes in Mahe and Yanam. Tamil and French are also spoken widely in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. Several users asked why the tweets were not shared in Tamil, English and maybe even French, if the purpose was to inform those who would be affected.

Other users sarcastically wondered if the cyclone was crossing Uttar Pradesh and Bihar for the IMD to tweet updates in Hindi.

This is not the first time that #StopHindiImposition has trended on Twitter in the south. Tamil Nadu, especially, has been strongly opposed to the efforts to introduce Hindi in the state by the Union government, and has seen a slew of anti Hindi agitations both pre and post Independence.

Earlier this year, the state saw protests against the Union government's New Education Policy (NEP) which recommended introducing a three-language system, including Hindi, English and a regional language. All major parties of the state opposed the move, calling it a deliberate attempt to impose Hindi on the state’s population. Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami too wrote a letter to the Union Minister of Education Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, reiterating that the state would continue with a 2-language policy of instruction in Tamil and English.

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