The draft of the National Education Policy, which proposes a three-language formula, has evoked strong opposition from political parties in Tamil Nadu, which has witnessed anti-Hindi agitations in the past.
As the day (January 26, 1965) of switching over to Hindi as sole official language approached, the anti-Hindi movement gained momentum in Madras State with increased support from college students. On January 25, a full-scale riot broke out in the southern city of Madurai, sparked off by a minor altercation between agitating students and Congress party members. The riots spread all over Madras State continued unabated for the next two months and were marked by acts of violence, arson, looting, police firing, and lathi charges. The Congress Government of the Madras State, called in paramilitary forces to quell the agitation; their involvement resulted in the deaths of people. To calm the situation, Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri gave assurances that English would continue to be used as the official language as long as the non-Hindi speaking states wanted. The riots subsided after Shastri’s assurance, as did the student agitation.
The Hindi language is part and parcel of our educational system and it is a national language. People from South suffer because they lack in learning in the Hindi language. When a Tamilian goes out of Tamil Nadu, he should learn other languages and learning Hindi is more important. We, students, studied in schools during the 1960s still remember the days of learning Hindi. We used to write in English and read Hindi in front of the teacher. Once I was caught red handed and I felt sorry for not knowing the language. By the time we realised our mistakes, the Hindi agitation came in 1965 and the trains were burnt in the aftermath and that was the end of our learning period of a National language.
After finishing my college education when I was appointed as a Bank clerk in Ghaziabad UP, I had a bitter time dealing with my clients. Once I issued a draft to a customer in record time and the client thanked me for saying Thannewad and I asked what then he said Shukriya and again what I asked then he politely told “Thank You” and went off from that place. I took less time to issue a draft but I took more time to accept his thanks. I felt shy and from that day onwards started learning the language through hearing Hindi film songs. However, still to date I cannot read and write Hindi, thanks to the DMK government in Tamil Nadu.
Why can’t the Dravidian parties let the decision to be made by the people of TN? People who want to learn will learn, others won’t. Why are they imposing that TN people must learn only Tamil? These parties are just doing to create an unfavorable impression of the central government. Karunanidhi’s children and grandchildren all go to private and international schools and learn a multitude of languages.
What does ‘imposed’ mean? When there is a choice, it cannot be an imposition. There are students from many communities in the Schools of TN. They should have the option of learning Hindi. DMK cadre need not learn it, because their job description is to oppose Hindi but those Tamils seeking jobs in the North may want to learn Hindi. Dravidian parties should stop their nonsense on preaching against Hindi. Why did the DMK party agree to introduce Urdu in schools? Is it just for creating fear that Tamil becomes extinct from daily usages like Latin or Sanskrit? It is totally absurd!
The message is loud and clear. People in Tamil Nadu do not want to learn Hindi at any cost. The Educational Framework Policy in 2016 submitted the report for follow up means in implementation. It requires common sense, deep consultations, discussions, and then arrive at a decision. There are no takers for Hindi in Tamil Nadu but the Hindi films are highly successful from the days of Aradhana film. Why then this Kolaveri Di.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)