After ‘pani-puri’ jibe, Tamil Nadu minister says: ‘State willing to teach third language, including Hindi’

Ponmudy clarified his earlier ‘pani-puri’ remark on the Hindi-speaking population in the state stating that he didn’t mean to offend anybody’s sentiment

Tamil Nadu Higher Education Minister K Ponmudy. (Facebook)

Days after Tamil Nadu Education minister K Ponmudy took a dig at the Hindi-speaking population in the state, the legislator has now conveyed an intention of the DMK government to teach third languages, including Hindi, in schools. Currently, only English and Tamil are taught in schools as the state follows a two-language policy.

In an interview with a Tamil news channel, Ponmudy said that his government was willing to include a third language if there are enough takers. The Indian Express quoted Ponmudy as saying to the channel, “It is just that only two (languages) are compulsory… If there are students from Andhra who want to learn Telugu, if Malayali students wish to study Malayalam… If there are takers for it, we will make arrangements to teach them in schools. It’s the same for Kannada or Hindi as well. Just that we categorically stated that Hindi cannot be a mandatory language in our education system”.

In the same interview, he went on to clarify his earlier remark on the Hindi-speaking population in the state stating that he didn’t mean to offend anybody’s sentiment and said, “There are people saying that those who learn Hindi will get jobs. It is true that many Tamils are also going to other states for work. But most of the Hindi-speaking people, who are coming to Tamil Nadu, are running pani puri shops — that is what I meant. My statement never meant to portray anyone in the wrong sense. My point was just that learning Hindi and job opportunities have no relation with one another.”

Earlier this year, the Tamil Nadu government had reiterated its stand that it would stick to its two-language policy that was first adopted by Chief Minister CN Annadurai back in 1967 after the Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi mentioned in his Republic Day address that not allowing students the knowledge “of other Indian languages was unfair to all”.

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