Chennai: Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s appeal to unify India with the Hindi language was met with sharp criticism from Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who said the move would amount to enslaving people.
Vijayan called Shah’s statement “a war cry” against the mother tongues of non-Hindi speakers. “The claim that Hindi unifies our country is absurd. That language is not the mother tongue of a majority of Indians. The move to inflict Hindi upon them amounts to enslaving them. Union Minister's statement is a war cry against the mother tongues of non-hindi speaking people,” the Kerala CM said.
He said no Indian should feel alienated because of language.
No Indian should feel alienated because of language. India's strength is its ability to embrace diversity. Sangh Parivar must relinquish divisive policies. They must realize that people can see through the ploy; that this is an attempt to divert attention from the real problems.— Pinarayi Vijayan (@vijayanpinarayi) September 15, 2019
In a Facebook post later, Vijayan said, “Amit Shah's push for Hindi despite nationwide protests needs to be seen as Sangh's efforts to launch a new battlefield in the name of language. The belief that only Hindi can unite the country is completely wrong because people in the south and the north-east don't speak Hindi."
On Hindi Diwas on Saturday, Shah said it is extremely important for a country to have a common language that becomes the mark of its identity in the world. Later, at an event in New Delhi, he said that every child will be taught Hindi in north eastern part of India.
Veteran leaders such as Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) president MK Stalin and former Karnataka chief ministers Siddaramaiah and HD Kumaraswamy also came down heavily on Shah for pitching for his "one nation, one language" pitch.
In June, the Draft New Educational Policy 2019 had created an uproar, especially in the southern states, after a clause recommended mandatory Hindi teaching in all schools.
After the release of Union government's original draft, all Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu blasted the recommendations, and even the BJP's ally AIADMK refused to dilute the state's two language formula.