Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan on Monday joined the chorus protesting against Home Minister Amit Shah’s remarks on Hindi Diwas, saying “no Shah, Samrat or Sultan can renege on the promise of unity”.
In a video message, Haasan warned against making “inclusive India an exclusive one”, saying all would suffer because of the “folly”. He added that Jallikattu was just a protest and “the battle for our language will be exponentially bigger than that”. “India or Tamil Nadu does not deserve such a battle,” he said, adding: "We respect all languages but our mother language will always be Tamil."
The politician said: “Most of the nation happily sings the national anthem in Bengali with pride and will continue to do so. The reason is that the poet who wrote the anthem gave due respect to all languages and cultures and hence, it became our anthem.”
Now you are constrained to prove to us that India will continue to be a free country. You must consult the people before you make a new law or a new scheme. pic.twitter.com/u0De38bzk0— Kamal Haasan (@ikamalhaasan) September 16, 2019
Haasan is the latest to register his protest against the statement by Amit Shah on Hindi Diwas, who said it was extremely important for a country to have a common language that becomes the mark of its identity in the world.
Pitching for 'one nation, one language' on the occasion of Hindi Diwas, Shah said, "India is a country of different languages and every language has its own importance but it is necessary to have a common language that becomes the mark of identity of the country. Today, if a language can keep the country united, it is the widely-spoken Hindi language."
He further appealed the people to use Hindi more often, and contribute in fulfilling the dream of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel of 'one nation, one language'.
Slamming the move, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said it 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.
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.