Language War & Regional Politics: Is it Worth Your Time?

By the Editor: Siddharth Sehgal

There was this news about a twitter hashtag about Hindi imposition on non Hindi speaking parts of India and as our media blindly follows everything that goes viral. Suddenly news outlets started running breaking news that people in South India are angry over new education policy. It got me interested because I thought finally somebody took notice of the state of our education system but as it turned out the center of this storm was a language. M K Stalin, the guy with the Russian name, complained that Hindi is being imposed in Tamil Nadu and he strongly opposed this maneuver to sub-verse Tamil culture and language but it made me wonder, exactly how can we impose a language onto others and if in fact the education policy actually says something on the lines of imposing any language.

Turns out, the education policy draft simply reiterates the fact that academic curriculum should encourage learning in respective mother tongues. Which means a village in rural Madhya Pradesh should primarily impart knowledge of Science, Math, Social Science in Hindi and a school in Andhra Pradesh can do the same in Telugu. It also suggests that states should encourage students to learn different Indian languages. But how exactly our dear friend Stalin saw this, well he basically went berserk and exclaimed that Hindi is not in Blood of Tamil people. He is okay to include English, which in fact is a foreign language so why is so amped-up about Hindi? Didn’t he support Rahul Gandhi for PM? Didn’t his father was allied with BJP ones? I see a political angle here; I see a desperateness to remain relevant and may be a gain some brownie points by fanning the flames of division on the basis of religion.

What I feel surprising is that lots of people in our country take some kind of fake pride in speaking English language, while frowning upon other Indian languages. We kicked out British by fighting together, North and South, we cheer for same cricket team and wave same flag but yet we still allow ourselves to divide over the tongues we speak. The sheer number of languages that are spoken in our country should be a matter of pride but I think there is hardly anything that we wouldn’t fight over.

There is a philosophical text called Thirukkural that was composed by a Tamil poet and philosopher called Thiruvalluvar. I didn’t know that it existed until a gentleman from Tamil Nadu shared its translation on Indian Periodical. Its quiet an interesting and eye-opening treatise in poetic form and has inspired men and women around the world. I am incredibly proud that this literary gem was composed in India and it is this sort of pride that connects me from my countrymen who live in Tamil Nadu. Languages, any language, connect people; they act as bridges across cultures, so let’s not burn these bridges down.

One Comment

  1. Very well said!