The recent anti-Hindi protests emerged under the hashtag ‘NammaMetroHindiBeda’ on social media.
The official use of Hindi has once again caused a stir in Bengaluru as protests broke out on social media over use of Hindi signboards in the metro.
The Twiteratti protested using the hashtag ‘NammaMetroHindiBeda’ (no Hindi in our metro) after state authorities put up signboards and instructions in Hindi in Bengaluru metro. The Hindi instructions replaced English in many places, earning the ire of Kannadigas.
An online campaign has been launched urging the Karnataka government to do away with all Hindi signboards from the metro. The campaign is launched by Banavasi, a group focused on preserving the Kannada language.
Bengaluru metro currently has signboards in three languages - Kannada, English and Hindi.
— jds yuvabrigade (@jdsyuvabrigade) June 20, 2017
This use of Hindi signage in a state where majority is Kannada speaking was unnecessary and it should be limited, Congress spokesperson Dinesh Gundurao told CNN-News18. The popular demand has been to stick to the two language policy consisting of Kannada and English.
The Twitter account of PLE India—a group promoting linguistic equality—has assumed a significant role in the protests by constantly raising questions on the issue and asking people to organise joint actions to pressurize the government to withdraw Hindi.
The debate started addressing the larger issue of regional languages being ignored as people native to Odissa and other places lent solidarity to the Kannada cause against Hindi. They have been rallying against the use of Hindi signboards, instructions, and official postage in Karnataka, especially when the regional language is not used simultaneously.
Why is Hindi being promoted in non Hindi speaking states?Things ought to be written in the regional language & English.— Donna Radhakrishnan (@donna_rk_) June 20, 2017
In 2015, Karnataka had another social media protest with the hashtag ‘StopHindiImposition’ as Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered a whole speech in Hindi on Independence Day.
With Bangalore becoming one of the top IT hubs of India, people from the North and the East are settling in the city. This has forced authorities to resort to Hindi as common language for communication.
This led to alienation of local kannadigas majority who do not speak Hindi.
Although, India, with its multi-lingual, diverse identity, does not have a national language, there are many instances, like the current one, where Hindi has been used like a national language.
Earlier this year, President Pranab Mukherjee — who himself is not very comfortable in Hindi — recommended that all central and state government ministers capable of speaking in Hindi should deliver speeches only in that language.Previously, the Centre drew strong reactions and agitations from Tamil Nadu after trying to replace English with Hindi on highway milestones. The anti-Hindi sentiments swelled in Tamil Nadu quickly as it has a long history of resisting imposition of that language.