Chennai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s endeavor to promote Hindi as the government’s official language on social media incensed two allies today, both from Tamil Nadu.
The go-getter of a controversy is pivoted in a Home Ministry order issued in May that asks government departments and officers to use Hindi in all official communication and posts on social media. An English version is optional.
In an attempt to quell the anger, a government spokesperson tweeted (in English), “Govt clarifies: Hindi on social media only for Hindi speaking states. Hindi not being imposed on non Hindi speaking states.”
But a lengthy line of critics wants the order rescinded, alleging that it is offensive and insensitive. Hindi and English are India’s official languages for union government business; the constitution recognizes a total of 22 languages
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, whose party is the third-largest in Parliament wrote to the PM today stating that Hindi updates by the government on social media would exclude huge swathes of people in states like hers. (Amend Tweet-in-Hindi Order, Writes Tamil Nadu’s Jayalalithaa to PM)
PMK chief Ramadoss described the diktat as “an unacceptable imposition of Hindi”. The PMK was among five regional parties in Tamil Nadu that formed a political cooperative in the state with the BJP before the national election last month. Another member of that alliance was the MDMK, whose leader V Gopalsamy, popularly known as Vaiko warned today, “Don’t wake a sleeping tiger. The imposition of Hindi is a threat to national integrity….Tamil Nadu has shed blood against the imposition of Hindi earlier.” (Regional Languages Should be Encouraged Too, Says Mayawati)
In the 60s, Tamil Nadu saw violent protests against a move to make Hindi the country’s sole official language. The issue remains an emotive one in the state.
Omar Abdullah, chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, said he regards English and Urdu as the main languages in his state “and whoever wants to use Hindi can. Our country is so huge that you can’t impose one particular language on everyone.”