Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s assertion that Hindi, as the most spoken language, could work to unite the country continued to draw sharp reaction from the Opposition parties on Sunday.
“The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) strongly opposes these efforts, which stem from the RSS conception of one nation, one culture, one language,” the party said in a statement, rejecting the “imposition of Hindi”.
The party said Mr. Shah’s “announcement that Hindi should be treated as the national language runs contrary to the spirit of the Constitution and our country’s linguistic diversity”.
In Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan described the move as a planned attempt to trigger a controversy and divert attention from real issues.
“All languages listed in the Eight Schedule of the Constitution are national languages and must be treated equally. Any attempt to impose any one language will lead to the disruption of our country’s unity and integrity,” it said.
Speaking at an event in Bengaluru, Congress Rajya Sabha member Jairam Ramesh said “one nation-one language” would never be a reality. “We may have one nation-one tax, but one nation-one language will never be a reality...,” he said.
DMK president M.K. Stalin accused the Centre of “autocratic imposition of Hindi”, calling for unity among Opposition parties on the issue.
Speaking at a public meeting organised by ally MDMK on the 111th birth anniversary of former Chief Minister C.N. Annadurai in Chennai, Mr Stalin said, “If we close our eyes for a second, they will impose Hindi and completely discard Tamil. We have been protesting against this since 1938. We protested in 1949, 1950, 1953, 1963 and 1965. We have once again arrived at a stage where we have to protest.”
“They are not just imposing Hindi, but Centre and State Government is betraying Tamil Nadu in issues NEET, Cauvery issue and they have imposed dangerous projects such as hydrocarbon in Tamil Nadu,” he said.
However, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan welcomed Mr. Shah’s remarks, stating that the country’s unity could be strengthened through Hindi.
Puducherry Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy also joined the chorus of protests.
Earlier on Saturday, several Opposition parties — including DMK — had opposed Mr. Shah's pitch for Hindi. The Congress said the three-language formula should not be tinkered with. The remarks also triggered protests in Karnataka.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted: “My best wishes to all on Hindi Diwas. We should respect all languages and cultures equally. We may learn many languages but we should never forget our mother-language.”
The CPI said the comments smacked of an attack on the very concept of diversity. “The need today is to respect, protect and nurture diversity of our nation so that unity is ensured. The Home Minister’s statement is an attack on federalism extending the politics and ideology of RSS to every sphere of life,” it said.
(with inputs from PTI)