The BJP-led government’s directive asking central government employees to use Hindi while posting tweets or messages on social media has not gone down well with a number of political leaders.
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief Karunanidhi has already opposed such a move, terming it as the beginning of imposition of Hindi. On Friday, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha, Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief Vaiko, Paattali Makkal Katchi leader S Ramadoss and Communist Party of India (Marxist) also expressed their reservation against the government’s move.
Terming the Centre’s move on use of Hindi as being “against letter and spirit” of the Official Languages Act, 1963, Jayalalithaa wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him to suitably modify the instructions to ensure that English was the language of communication on social media.
Jayalalithaa said she had learnt that two office memoranda issued by the Union Home Ministry “direct that official accounts on social media like Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Google and YouTube, which at present use only English, should compulsorily use Hindi, or both Hindi and English, with Hindi being written above or first.”
That makes the use of Hindi mandatory and English optional, she said in the letter.
Prioritising Hindi is “a highly sensitive issue, causes disquiet to the people of Tamil Nadu who are very proud of and passionate about their linguistic heritage,” Jayalalithaa said, adding, “Hence, I request you to kindly ensure that instructions are suitably modified to ensure that English is used on social media.”
Meanwhile, Abdullah said that India is a diverse country as far as religion and languages are concerned. The imposition of one language must not be acceptable, added Abdullah.
Slamming the government’s advisory, PMK founder S Ramadoss said the BJP in its election 2014 manifesto, had promised to develop all languages with rich history and culture.
He also called for declaring all 22 languages in the VIII schedule of the Constitution, including Tamil, as official language and “thus put an end to the Hindi imposition controversy.”
Attempts to ‘impose’ Hindi in the past have been successfully resisted with, though attempts were later made to do the same, he said while terming the latest move as a “softer version” of the imposition of Hindi.
Vaiko, the leader of BJP ally Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, also slammed the directive saying, imposition of Hindi a threat to national integrity. He further cautioned the government from “waking up a sleeping tiger”, saying, “Tamil Nadu has shed blood on imposition of Hindi”.
Vaiko cited Modi’s preference of the social media platform and said that the Centre’s advisory on Hindi was a “matter of concern.”
He demanded that all Indian languages be made official languages in the interest of the country’s “unity and integrity” and till such time English should continue as the official language.
He recalled that the Atal Behari Vajpayee-led NDA government had set up a panel to look into making all languages in the VIII schedule of the Constitution as official languages.
The Home Ministry’s advisory is against principles of linguistic equality, opined CPI(M).
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati has, however, backed the government’s move. “It is a good idea to encourage use of Hindi language. However, use of regional languages should also be encouraged,” she said.
It is clear that the BJP-led government’s move to assuage upset feelings over the directive is not showing results.
BJP said it seeks to bind the nation together and should not be construed as an “insult” to English.
“Hindi is the national language and is the heart of the country. Priority to Hindi cannot be (construed as) an insult to English. The government’s initiative for according priority to Hindi and regional languages is a welcome step,” BJP vice president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.