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Non-Hindi States Come Together To Protest Against Hindi Imposition

Many other groups from Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal are likely to participate, in the first attempt to consolidate non-Hindi-speaking campaigners.

Deepa Balakrishnan | CNN-News18deepab18

Updated:July 14, 2017, 9:00 PM IST
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Non-Hindi States Come Together To Protest Against Hindi Imposition
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Bengaluru: Campaigners, who have been fighting against alleged imposition of Hindi by the Centre, are taking their fight to the next level by trying to unite people from all non-Hindi speaking states.

Pro-Kannada outfit Karnataka Rakshana Vedike is holding a round table in Bengaluru on Saturday, where language campaigners will decide how to fight Hindi chauvinism, says KRV spokesperson B Sanneerappa. Prominent among those who are participating are the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (which is sending its general secretary Sandeep Deshpande) and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (whose MP Tiruchi Siva and spokesperson Saravanan are participating).

Many other groups from Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal are likely to participate, in the first attempt to consolidate non-Hindi-speaking campaigners. Language activists from these states have taken to social media to fight against Hindi imposition at public places like Metro stations, railway tickets, bank documents, etc.

“In all these states, there is forced imposition of Hindi in some form or other. We want to save the languages of all these states for the future, so we have reached out the chief ministers, Opposition leaders and leaders from interest-groups have been called, especially the Dravidian languages and a few others like Punjabi and Bengali,” Sanneerappa told News18.

The recent outrage that Hindi songs weren’t given their due at Oscar-winning musician A R Rahman’s concert have further fuelled the angst against what is seen as superiority complex of Hindi-speaking population.

Kannada activists have also been disappointed about the lack of interest shown by BJP leaders like Venkaiah Naidu (who, two weeks back, said Hindi is the country’s national language), Ananth Kumar and Sadananda Gowda who have not supported their campaigns on #NammaMetroHindiBeda.

Another vociferous campaigner, both online and offline, Arun Javagal says that responses from politicians like MK Stalin and Raj Thackeray to unite against the Hindi-imposition cause have been encouraging.

“We want to send a strong message to people who are pro-Hindi-imposition with this event. And again, it is not against Hindi, it’s against Hindi imposition. Almost all the parties have agreed to send their representatives,” Javagal said.

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leader Sandeep Deshpande said: "Hindi is being forcibly promoted. It is forcibly imposed in Maharashtra. we demand equal treatment of other languages."

Attempts to bring in political parties from Bengal, Kerala and Andhra have, however, not been fruitful. “We all give taxes to the Centre. Just because Centre funds some project, they cannot discriminate against other states’ languages,” says Sanneerappa, who says the movement could one day grow into a political force.

“We want to keep Hindi high-command parties out, build a parallel to the NDA and the UPA. It is other parties that are saving our languages and identities — be it Kannada, Telugu or Tamil. We need to create an environment to usher in governments that don’t foist Hindi on us,” he says.

It may be early days for such ambitions, but the movement to unite non-Hindi states is building up.

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| Edited by: Swati Sharma
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