Days after Union Home Minister Amit Shah stressed on the importance of Hindi as a common language, Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa's remarks on the issue will definitely stand out. "All official languages are equal. However, as far as Karnataka is concerned, Kannada is the principal language. We will never compromise its importance and are committed to promote Kannada and our state's culture," Yediyurappa tweeted on Monday.
All official languages in our country are equal. However, as far as Karnataka is concerned, #Kannada is the principal language. We will never compromise its importance and are committed to promote Kannada and our state's culture.
— CM of Karnataka (@CMofKarnataka) September 16, 2019
Yediyurappa's comments assume significance given the closeness that BJP leadership and the Karnataka chief minister share, especially since the development comes almost a month after Yediyurappa's swearing in and picking his new cabinet. Yediyurappa had a tightrope to walk during the cabinet expansion as he had to craft a fine caste and regional balance in view of a large number of aspirants, especially with the central leadership having a final say in most of the decisions.
Shah's comments from Sunday reignited the language row, which has most of the Opposition, especially parties from the southern states, united against it. Former chief minister and senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah tweeted and oppsed the 'forced imposition' of the language. "Languages are the basics of knowledge, it must be cultivated with love, not by pressure. Our opposition is not about the language of Hindi, but about its forced imposition. My opposition to the celebration of the Hindi day."
JD(U) leader and former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy also opposed the "imposition" and asked why wasn't there a Kannada language day.
ಇಂದು ದೇಶದಾದ್ಯಂತ ಕೇಂದ್ರ ಸರ್ಕಾರ 'ಹಿಂದಿ ದಿವಸ್' ಆಚರಿಸುತ್ತಿದೆ. ಸಂವಿಧಾನದಲ್ಲಿ ಹಿಂದಿಯೊಂದಿಗೆ ಅಧಿಕೃತ ಭಾಷೆ ಎನಿಸಿಕೊಂಡಿರುವ ಕನ್ನಡದ ಭಾಷಾ ದಿವಸವನ್ನು ದೇಶಾದ್ಯಂತ ಯಾವಾಗ ಆಚರಿಸುತ್ತೀರಿ @narendramodi ಯವರೇ? ಕನ್ನಡಿಗರೂ ಈ ಒಕ್ಕೂಟ ವ್ಯವಸ್ಥೆಯ ಭಾಗವಾಗಿದ್ದಾರೆ ನೆನಪಿರಲಿ.#StopHindiImposition #HindiDiwas #ಕನ್ನಡದಿನ
— H D Kumaraswamy (@hd_kumaraswamy) September 14, 2019
Another politician from the south, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi slammed the home minister's remarks and asked, "Could you try appreciating the diversity & beauty of the many mother tongues that dot this land?"
Hindi isn't every Indian's "mother tongue". Could you try appreciating the diversity & beauty of the many mother tongues that dot this land? Article 29 gives every Indian the right to a distinct language, script & culture.
India's much bigger than Hindi, Hindu, Hindutva https://t.co/YMVjNlaYry
— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) September 14, 2019
DMK president M K Stalin accused the Centre of "autocratic imposition of Hindi" and underscored the need for unity in opposition ranks to take forward protest against the government on such issues. Addressing an MDMK party event chaired by its leader Vaiko in Chennai on Sunday, Stalin said Tamil was sidelined in the competitive examination conducted by the railways and postal department.
Even actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan reacted sharply to Shah's comments and opposed any attempts to "impose" Hindi saying it was a promise made to the country decades back which "no Shah, Sultan or Samrat must renege on."
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
On Saturday, Shah batted for Hindi as the common language. "Though I believe that the diversity of languages and dialects is one of the biggest strengths of India, there is a need for our country to have one language, so that foreign languages don't find a place. This is why our freedom fighters envisioned Hindi as 'Raj bhasha'."
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Sep 16, 2019 18:27:18 IST