15/09/2019 11:54 AM IST | Updated 15/09/2019 12:16 PM IST

Move To Inflict Hindi On Majority Of Indians Amounts To Enslaving Them, Says Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan

Amit Shah had on Saturday reignited the debate on Hindi after he said it was the only language that could unite the country because it was spoken the most.

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Pinarayi Vijayan, Chief Minister of Kerala

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan is the latest South Indian politician to slam Union home minister Amit Shah’s push for Hindi as a common language to “mark of India’s identity globally”.

Pinarayi called Shah’s statement “a war cry against the mother tongues of non-hindi speaking people.”

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“That language is not the mother tongue of a majority of Indians. The move to inflict Hindi upon them amounts to enslaving them,” he tweeted on Sunday.

Amit Shah had on Saturday reignited the debate on Hindi after he said it was the only language that could unite the country because it was spoken the most.

The comments invited backlash from southern parties who said they would oppose any attempt to “impose” the language.

At an event for Hindi Divas, Shah said that while diversity in languages is India’s strength, a national language is needed so that foreign languages and cultures do not overpower the country’s own.

“I want to appeal to people to promote their native languages but also use Hindi to make the dream of Bapu (Mahatma Gandhi) and Sardar (Vallabhbhai) Patel of one language come true,” Shah also tweeted.

In his tweets, Shah said, “India has many languages and every language has its importance. But it is absolutely necessary that the entire country should have one language that becomes India’s identity globally.

DMK and other parties in Tamil Nadu had earlier strongly opposed recommendation of a Union HRD Ministry panel to teach Hindi in non-Hindi speaking states and alleged that it was tantamount to thrusting the Hindi language.

In the backdrop of the strong opposition, a revised draft education policy was issued in June that did not have a mention of the language being compulsory.

What South Indian Parties Have Said This Time

DMK chief MK Stalin said Shah’s views were “shocking”. “This will certainly infringe national integrity and hence he should withdraw his views immediately,” he said.

The DMK said it would take a decision on ways and means to oppose Shah’s stand at a high-level party meet to be held on September 16.

“Shah’s Hindi pitch appeared to be an attempt to make non-Hindi speaking people “second class citizens,” Stalin said in a statement.

Leader of AIADMK, which is part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, and Tamil Culture Minister K Pandiarajan warned of adverse reaction from other states as well.

“If the Centre imposes Hindi unilaterally, there will only be (adverse) reaction and no support, not only in Tamil Nadu, but also in states like Bengal, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh,” he said.

AIADMK’s Pandiarajan said that the Tamil Nadu government has never toed the line that Hindi could be the link language.

“Only about 45 per cent people speak Hindi and even today it is not spoken by a majority of the people,” he said.

MDMK chief Vaiko, Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam leader TTV Dhinakaran and PMK founder leader S Ramadoss too criticised the remarks and said Hindi must “not be imposed.“

Former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah said he was opposed to celebrating Hindi Divas.

Tweeting in Kannada, he said, “The lie that Hindi is a national language should stop. Let it be known to all that it is just like Kannada, one among the 22 official languages of India.“

The Congress leader said that he was not opposing Hindi but the attempt to impose a language.

“Languages are the window of knowledge. It should be nurtured by love and not by force. I too oppose the Hindi Diwas celebrations,” he tweeted.

JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy sought to know from Prime Minister Narendra Modi when ‘Kannada Diwas’ would be organised across the country.

“The central government is celebrating ‘Hindi Diwas.’ When will you celebrate Kannada Diwas Mr Narendra Modi, which is also an official language like Hindi? Remember that the people of Karnataka are part of the federal system,” Kumaraswamy tweeted under the hashtag ’Stop Hindi Imposition.’

(With PTI inputs)