The Modi government’s move to prioritise the use of Hindi on social media and official channels is a good step (“Karunanidhi opposes Centre’s directive on Hindi,” June 20) because of its primacy as a national language. All State governments must cooperate with the Central government and propagate the use of Hindi.
There is nothing wrong in promoting Hindi in the public domain since it is spoken by millions across India. The Dravidian parties are opposing the move in order to gain political mileage. In fact, its study should be made compulsory and a three-language formula adopted throughout India. That India is a multilingual country must not be forgotten.
Enough damage was done in the 1960s in Tamil Nadu due to the anti-Hindi stance and which affected the student community to a great extent. Perhaps a whole generation of students was denied the opportunity to learn the official language. They were victimised due to the short-sightedness of those who spearheaded the opposition to Hindi, which in turn made pan-Indian employment difficult. As for the comment about relegating non-Hindi speaking citizens to second- class status, are they first-class citizens only if they transact business in English?
Controversy over language use must be avoided. Promotion of Hindi in no way constitutes a demotion of other regional languages. All official work and even all proceedings in Parliament must be in Hindi. Our motto should be no regionalism at the cost of nationalism.
The directive is a regressive step. Social media such as Twitter and Facebook are effective communication tools not just for broadcasting ideas but also for wider public engagement. In a diverse country like India where most social media users know English and many more are learning this important language, using Hindi instead might not have the same impact and the purpose of reaching out to a wider audience may be defeated. The Indian languages are rich. Merely using English on social media platforms cannot endanger the age-old languages. There are better ways to promote other languages, but not at the cost of undermining powerful communication tools.
The decision is most untimely. The new rulers were elected by the people in order to come up with greater ideas on how to take India forward. We did not vote for the BJP on the language issue.
Why this sudden hurry to use Hindi in the social media? Will this not lead to the stealthy spread of the compulsory use of Hindi in other spheres as well? The BJP should not forget the upheaval in Tamil Nadu in 1965 after Hindi was sought to be made the sole official language. I recall the comments of Rajaji when the Official Language Act was enacted in the 1960s, that making Hindi the sole official language would be unwise and unjust, considering the possible deleterious repercussions of the step.
The Centre is unnecessarily raking up an age-old issue when there are many other pressing problems on hand. The Home Ministry has said that all Indian languages are equally important. Then, why this sudden love for Hindi?
The Minister of State for Home Affairs must explain how the absence of Hindi is proving to be an impediment and holding back development. He must note that nations that were earlier avowedly opposed to English are now making efforts to propagate English as it has become the global language for trade, commerce, transfer of technology and linkage.
Sullurpeta, Andhra Pradesh
It is an established fact that the unity of our nation lies in appreciating and encouraging the diversities in our cultures and languages. Using language for political purposes will have serious consequences which we as a nation cannot afford to withstand. One can only look at this as an attempt by national political parties which are seeking to make inroads into regional politics. The attempt to “impose” Hindi is a step toward removing so-called barriers to spread their political net wider. This will only damage the linguistic identity of regions.
S.A. Thameemul Ansari,
Kayalpatnam, Tamil Nadu