Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu Assembly witnesses a debate in Telugu

Tamil Nadu Assembly Hall at the State Secretariat in Fort St. George, Chennai.

Tamil Nadu Assembly Hall at the State Secretariat in Fort St. George, Chennai.   | Photo Credit: M. Prabhu

The Assembly witnessed some interesting moments on Monday, when a few legislators spoke in Telugu.

The DMK MLA from the Thalli constituency, Y. Prakash, during his maiden speech on the floor of the House, suddenly began speaking Telugu, with the Speaker’s permission, to raise the issues faced by linguistic minorities in the State.

Barring a few MLAs, everyone, including the Speaker, were all at sea regarding the speech, until School Education Minister K.A. Sengottaiyan translated it, besides replying to the concerns raised by Mr. Prakash.

The Thalli MLA told the Assembly that the government was not according importance to the minority languages in the State, such as Telugu, Urdu and Kannada, and that the students were being forced to write exams in Tamil. “You [the government] forced the students to go to court and get an order [stating] that they can write exams in their mother tongue. You could have solved this issue in the past two years,” he said.

In reply, Mr. Sengottaiyan said the government had provided an exemption of two years for local students and four years for students who had come to the State from elsewhere.

Animal Husbandry Minister Balakrishna Reddy also spoke in Telugu, blaming the DMK for making Tamil a compulsory language. He said former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had made efforts to protect minority languages.

While their colleagues made speeches in Telugu, MLAs from opposing sides kept thumping their desks with laughter, unable to comprehend what was being said.

Joining in the debate, DMK MLA Thangam Thennarasu also began his speech in Telugu, and subsequently switched to Tamil to say that his party was not against any minority language, as was being claimed by Mr. Reddy.

As the exchanges went on and on, Speaker P. Dhanapal intervened and put an end to the debate. “We don’t have a Telugu translation desk here. Your speech will be recorded in the books if you give a translation of it, or we will just record it as ‘The MLAs spoke in Telugu’,” he said, as the House erupted in laughter.

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Printable version | Sep 30, 2020 2:23:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/mlas-get-a-taste-of-telugu-during-debate/article24257251.ece

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