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Last Updated : Aug 10, 2020 03:44 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

After DMK's Kanimozhi, ex-FM Chidambaram joins chorus against 'Hindi imposition'

Chidambaram highlighted the need for the Centre to insist all central government employees to be bilingual in Hindi and English, if it is genuinely committed to both of these being the official languages of India.


A day after Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader MK Kanimozhi alleged she faced language bias at the Chennai airport, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram echoed her concerns, adding that he has faced 'similar taunts'.

On August 9, DMK's Kanimozhi took to Twitter to detail her experience at the Chennai airport. Alleging that a Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) officer questioned her nationality when she asked to be spoken to in Tamil or English as she does not know Hindi, she said: "I would like to know from when being Indian is equal to knowing Hindi."

Congress leader and former finance minister Chidambaram pointed out that the DMK leader's experience is not 'unusual' and went on to cite examples of similar experiences on his part. He tweeted:

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Chidambaram highlighted the need for the Centre to insist all central government employees to be bilingual in Hindi and English, if it is genuinely committed to both of these being the official languages of India.

He said that when non-Hindi speaking recruits to Central government posts manage to learn functional spoken Hindi, why is that Hindi-speaking recruits to similar posts cannot learn functional spoken English.

Following the tweet by Kanimozhi, the CISF said it had ordered an inquiry into the matter, adding that "it is not the policy of the CISF to insist upon any particular language."

Stirring the language debate

The episode has yet again fanned the flames of the raging language debate in India. The issue of Hindi imposition is not a new one, and has reared its head now and then.

Earlier this month, DMK President MK Stalin had slammed the Centre's newly passed National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 over what he termed as an attempt to impose Hindi and Sanskrit.

Similar concerns on the subject were raised by former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy last year, when he took to Twitter to criticise the draft NEP 2019 and the imposition of one language in the garb of a three-language policy.

Also Read | In-Depth: The language debate – Is 'imposition' of Hindi a threat to regional languages, or will they survive the sands of time?

'One Nation, One Language'

Again, in September 2019, Union Home Minister Amit Shah kicked up a storm when he batted for the idea of 'one nation, one language' on the occasion of Hindi Diwas. He had tweeted in Hindi, "India is a country of different languages and every language has its own importance but it is very important to have a language of the whole country, which should become the identity of India globally. Today, if one language can do the work of uniting the country, then it is the most spoken language, Hindi."

While Hindi and English are both official languages of India, the country does not have any national language. There are 22 languages that are under the eight schedule of the Indian Constitution. Shah's comment had triggered protests across the country, with several leaders from the southern states voicing their opposition to 'Hindi imposition'.
First Published on Aug 10, 2020 03:44 pm
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