DMK MP Kanimozhi tweeted on Saturday to say a CISF person at an airport had asked her if she was Indian when she said she doesn’t speak Hindi. Responding to her tweet, a BJP MP slammed her saying she was lying about not knowing Hindi.
Kanimozhi was quoted by PTI as saying on Wednesday, in reaction to the BJP leader’s allegations, “The issue is not about knowing Hindi or not. It is shameful (to say) I can be Indian only if I know Hindi.”
She also said, “The truth is I don’t know Hindi. I never studied it in my school, where only Tamil and English were taught. Even after I started going to Delhi, I have not learnt that language.”
The issue of politicians claiming Hindi was our “national language”, which it is not, has made headlines over and over again with people from non-Hindi speaking states pushing back.
Tamil Nadu, the Kanimozhi’s home state, has led several movements to push back on imposition of Hindi as a national language.
After her experience with the CISF personnel, Kanimozhi had tweeted saying, “The truth is I don’t know Hindi. I never studied it in my school, where only Tamil and English were taught. Even after I started going to Delhi, I have not learnt that language.”
To her tweet BJP national secretary H Raja claimed in another tweet, “The tweet raises many doubts. When the former Dy.PM Devilal came to TN his speech in Hindi was translated into Tamil by Kanimozhi. So her claim that she did not know Hindi is a white lie. So @blsanthosh was right in observing that the election is still far away.”
Other politicians too spoke out against the incident and CISF has now ordered a probe.
Congress leader Karthi Chidambaram said in a tweet that the incident at the airport was ridiculous.
BJP leader SM Krishna said, “Hindi is another Indian language and nothing more. Let’s not equate Hindi with nationalism.”
DMK chief Stalin asked, “Is Hindi the yardstick for being an Indian. Is this India or Hindia.”
Meanwhile, MG Devasagayam, a retired IAS officer of the Haryana cadre, said that he was the one who had actually translated the speech of Devi Lal.
Devasagayam was quoted by The New Indian Express as saying, “He came to participate in a farmer’s rally near Coimbatore to commemorate the death anniversary of farmer leader Narayanasami Naidu and discuss with then Chief Minister Karunanidhi the matter of additional allotment of foodgrains to the state on an urgent basis. Since I was living in Chennai at that time after taking voluntary retirement, Devi Lal requested me to accompany him to his meetings and functions. I translated his Hindi speeches heavily tinged with Urdu into Tamil.”