The “national language” debate came back in focus on Wednesday, as Hindi actor Ajay Devgn took to Twitter to react to a comment by Kannada actor Kiccha Sudeep.
It all began with a statement by Sudeep at an event associated the blockbuster KGF Chapter 2, which has been dubbed into many languages. He is learnt to have said at the event that “Hindi is no more a national language” to indicate the reach of some of the Southern films in recent times.
Reacting to his statement, actor Ajay Devgn tweeted in Hindi to ask Sudeep why films in his mother tongue were being dubbed in Hindi if it was not a “national language”. He insisted that Hindi “was, is, and will always be the national language.”
Sudeep said in response that he could read Devgn’s tweet in Hindi because he respected and had learnt the language, but asked what would have been the response if he had tweeted in Kannada. “Don’t we too belong to India, sir?” he asked.
This saw a flurry of responses, and among them one by actor Ramya. She wrote, “No, Hindi is not our national language ... Your ignorance is baffling. And it’s great that films like KGF, Pushpa and RRR have done so well in the Hindi belt ... art has no language barrier. Please enjoy our films as much as we enjoy yours.”
Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah also jumped in with a tweet. “Hindi was never & will never be our National Language. It is the duty of every Indian to respect linguistic diversity of our country. Each language has its own rich history for its people to be proud of. I am proud to be a Kannadiga,” he said.
Former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy also took to Twitter to condemn the “insolence” of Devgn in his tweet. He said the actor was speaking like a spokesperson for “autocratic BJP and its Hindi nationalism”.
Meanwhile, Sudeep has chosen to conclude the debate by stating that he would explain the context in which he had made the original statement when they meet in person.