When Chennapatna becomes ‘Chanpatanh’: Hindi on passports triggers debate

Sushma Swaraj’s declaration that Hindi will be imposed on passports has angered many citizens.
When Chennapatna becomes ‘Chanpatanh’: Hindi on passports triggers debate
When Chennapatna becomes ‘Chanpatanh’: Hindi on passports triggers debate
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External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is one of the most popular people on Indian Twitter. She interacts with people and listens to their problems, and she actually gets things done.

However, right now, the Minister is not on the list of favourites of many of people across the country; Sushma’s statement on Friday that personal details on all passports will now be bilingual - in Hindi and English - has drawn flak from many quarters.

“Passports should at least be bilingual. All Arab countries have their passport in Arabic, Germany makes it in German and Russia makes it in Russian. Why cant we make it Hindi? Personal details in passports are now printed only in English and Swaraj said she had received several complaints about it. Now, we have given an order to Nashik printing press that passports should be (printed) in Hindi as well. So you will receive passports in Hindi and English,” the Minister reportedly said.

While many were angry with the very fact that Hindi is being imposed on other parts of the country - especially south India, where Hindi is neither spoken nor understood in most parts - they also diligently pointed out the lack of logic in such a move.

There were also many counters to the ‘when you’re ready to use foreign language why not Hindi’ brigade. (Not that English is a ‘foreign’ language in India anymore.)

Some people also pointed out the hypocrisy of some politicians, who have been less than charitable to other regional languages, but have no qualms about Hindi imposition.

Even some BJP supporters are not happy with the move!

Of course, some people defended this move by the Minister.

But there are also questions about how Hindi might in fact murder the names of people and places in the south, considering Hindi-speakers have a problem with even the easiest of words in Tamil (not Thaa-mil), Kannada (not Kann-udh), Malayalam (not Mull-yaah-lum), and Telugu (not Thel-goo).

Case in point, this Hindi-imposed signboard in Karnataka, where Chennapatna became ‘Chanpatanh’, pointed out by many people including a BJP MP:

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