Amit vs Anna: How Hindi push snowballed into political row in TN

Chennai: The timing of Home Minister Amit Shah’s call to promote Hindi, made on Hindi Diwas, might be appropriate for the north. But it was totally wrong for the south, especially Tamilnadu, for it came just a day ahead of the 110th birth anniversary of CN Annadurai, popularly Anna, a name that has been the driving force behind the Tamilnadu politics for the past six decades.

As expected, Dravidian parties like the DMK and the MDMK, which were gearing up for Anna birthday celebrations, promptly seized the opportunity to score brownie points by launching a tirade against Shah and his party-led government in the Centre.

Since 1938, Tamilnadu had been protesting against Hindi imposition and several such agitations continued through the years including those held in 1949 and 1953.

These protests culminated in a massive agitation in 1965, when Anna was spearheading Dravidian politics in Tamilnadu. In fact, the success of anti-Hindi agitations was believed to be one of the reasons behind the DMK dethroning the Congress and Anna coming to power in the late 1960s. Soon after becoming the Chief Minister, Anna renamed Madras State as Tamilnadu and kept the Tamil spirit alive.

Cut to the present, Amit Shah’s love for Hindi is being seen by Dravidian leaders as yet another attempt by the Centre to impose the language on non-Hindi speaking States.

However, BJP says the Union government will not impose anything on anyone. Besides accusing the Centre of ‘autocratic imposition of Hindi,’ DMK president M K Stalin has also made use of the opportunity to underscore the need for unity in opposition ranks to take forward protest against the government on such issues.

Addressing an MDMK event chaired by its leader Vaiko in Chennai, Stalin said Tamil was sidelined in the competitive examination conducted by the railways and postal department.
On Shah’s pitch for Hindi as a common link language, the DMK chief said that such a view was against national integrity and demanded that it be taken back.

“We have been compelled to go the protest mode everyday to get our rights,” he said and sarcastically added ‘even if we snooze they (the Centre) will thrust Hindi and ease out Tamil if went tired.”

Later on Sunday, speaking at the DMK’s Mupperum Vizha in Thiruvannamalai, he said, “Hindi imposition is happening through functions organised by government wings like the Postal department. The DMK was formed with the fundamental principle of protecting Tamil culture and language, and the party will strive hard to follow it.”

A BJP functionary from Thiruvallur district justifies Shah’s remarks. “Amit Shah has not spoken against Tamil or any other language. On the occasion of Hindi Diwas, he praised the language. The Union government is for promoting all Indian languages and Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself has expressed his love and admiration for Tamil many times. Stalin and Vaiko, who are left with no other issues, are blowing this out of proportion.”

M Bhaskar Sai