Education

Almost every Tamil Nadu leader is against Modi’s draft education policy over Hindi

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses before the flag off ceremony of Vande Bharat Express
Prime Minister Narendra Modi | PTI Photo/Kamal Singh

Bengaluru: Within a day of taking over at the Centre, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP government appears to have sparked the old ‘Hindi versus Tamil’ war in Tamil Nadu.

And it has united leaders like Kanimozhi, Kamal Haasan, Vaiko and state chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on the issue of Tamil pride.

Both the ruling AIADMK and the newly resurgent DMK have used almost identical language to condemn Modi government’s draft education policy that asks the non-Hindi speaking states to follow a three-language policy in schools, making Hindi a compulsory language in the process.

This plays into the age-old Tamil political fears of what has come to be known as “Hindi imposition” by New Delhi.

On Saturday, social media platform Twitter saw trending hashtags — like TNAgainstHindiImposition — with Tamil Nadu leading the protest.

The ‘three language formula’ was first introduced by the Centre in 1968.

The new draft policy makes if mandatory for all states to follow the formula, including Tamil Nadu. The state currently follows a ‘two language’ policy.

‘Language war’

Speaking to reporters, Tamil Nadu state education minister K.A. Sengottaiyan said the state won’t allow the imposition of Hindi in the state and Palaniswami has already written to the Modi government asking them to reconsider their proposal.

“Tamil Nadu will follow only the two language policy and only two languages will be used in TN, Tamil and English,” said Sengottaiyan.

The DMK too has said it will oppose this move at both the state and the Centre levels. Party leader Kanimozhi told reporters that DMK is not against any language, but will oppose Hindi imposition, and will raise the issue in Parliament.

“This decision is harmful to the people of Tamil Nadu,” DMK spokesperson Manu Sundaram told ThePrint.

“If needed we will move the courts of law as this is a serious issue that goes against the basic constitutional rights. The previous government had assured us that Hindi will not be imposed and this proposal violates that promise.”

Actor turned politician Kamal Haasan also told reporters that nothing should be imposed and those who wish to learn any language should have the freedom to do so.

“I have acted in Hindi movies. I am living here (Chennai) happily believing that everybody’s language is respected. It will be very difficult for Tamil people to learn another language now,” Haasan appealed.

MDMK leader Vaiko joined the opposition bandwagon and warned that there would be a “language war” if the decision is not reversed.

The issue of Hindi imposition has been a sore point in Tamil Nadu. The Congress lost power and aided the growth of the Dravidian movement courtesy this issue in the late 1960s. Since then, the base of the national parties in Tamil Nadu has steadily eroded.

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