Last month too, actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan was among those who had sharply criticised Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s remarks on Hindi Diwas on September 14 emphasising the need for Hindi language to be made the common language of India
MNM chief Kamal Haasan has described the Hindi language as a “little child in diaper” as compared to older languages such as Tamil and Sanskrit. However, the veteran actor accepted Hindi as his own and added that we all need to take care of it.
The 64-year-old Makkal Needhi Maiam leader was responding to a student’s question on “politics over languages’ during an event at Loyola College in Chennai.
“Among the family of languages, the youngest one is Hindi. It is a little child in diaper. We will have to take care of that language because it is our child too. We will definitely take care of it. Compared to Tamil, Sanskrit and Telugu, it is still the youngest language,” Haasan said.
Kamal Haasan’s remark came soon after DMK chief MK Stalin on Tuesday appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make the Tamil language as an official language of the country.
PM Modi had referred to Tamil as an “ancient language of the world” in his address at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) last month.
Notably, each state and union territory has one or more official languages. The Eighth Schedule to the Constitution consists of the following 22 languages – Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, Assamese, Urdu, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Oriya, Nepali, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Bodo, Dogri, Santhali and Maithili.
The debate over Hindi
Last month, actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan was among those who had sharply criticised Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s remarks on Hindi Diwas on September 14 emphasising the need for Hindi language to be made the common language of India in order to have one language representing the country in the world.
“No Shah, Sultan or Samrat can suddenly break that promise. We respect all languages but our mother language will always be Tamil. Jallikattu was just a protest. The battle for our language will be exponentially bigger than that,” Kamal Haasan said in a video he uploaded on Twitter, adding that India was one country with many languages.
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
The sharp criticism also came from other quarters as well.
Kerala CM Vijayan took to social media to write about the issue. “Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s Hindi agenda push despite nationwide protest needs to be seen as Sangh Parivar’s signs to launch a new battlefield in the name of the language. The perception that only Hindi can unite the country is completely wrong. People in the south and the north-east don’t speak Hindi,” Vijayan wrote in Malayalam on his Facebook page.
“Attempts to make Hindi their primary language is an attempt to disown their mother tongue… No Indian should feel that they do not belong here just because they don’t understand Hindi. India has a national structure that accepts various languages. Sangh Parivar should retract from any attempts to hamper this. They must also realise that the people will understand such moves that are used to shift focus from important issues,” the Kerala chief minister added.
No Indian should feel alienated because of language. India’s strength is its ability to embrace diversity. Sangh Parivar must relinquish divisive policies. They must realize that people can see through the ploy; that this is an attempt to divert attention from the real problems.
— Pinarayi Vijayan (@vijayanpinarayi) September 15, 2019
Superstar Rajinikanth too seemed to agree with the chorus in South India. Rajinikanth said that while a common language is good for the unity and progress of the country, it cannot be implemented in India.
“Forcing a language is not acceptable. Southern states will not accept Hindi imposition. Even some northern states will not accept Hindi Imposition,” he said.
DMK chief MK Stalin had called Amit Shah’s views as “shocking” and asked him to “withdraw his views immediately.
However, later on, Home Minister Amit Shah issued a clarification saying that he didn’t want to impose Hindi over other regional languages but only wanted everyone to learn Hindi as their second language.