Language Politics

Divide Our Nation

By Roamer

From the land of Rajaji (C.R or the late C. Rajagopalachari) who was the first CM in India to introduce compulsory teaching of Hindi as a subject in schools comes a complaint of ‘Language Imperialism ‘ and ‘imposition’ of Hindi in the South. The two  ‘Dravidian’ parties, DMK and ADMK  have been using linguistic chauvenism as a tool for political gain to rule Tamil Nadu alternatively since  1967 without a break. M. Bhaktavatsalam was the last Congress CM of that state and saw the basically anti-Brahmin movement of Dravida Kazakam (DK) grow into an anti-Hindu movement by organizing processions with icons of Hindu gods and godesses garlanded with old shoes. And both the parties were later led by leaders who were devoted to some Hindu god or the other.  Jaylalithaa and her mentor MGR of ADMK were devotees of Mookambika near Udipi and the present DMK chief Stalin’s wife was seen recently being honoured in  a temple. And the ‘thalaiva’ (Jaya)  herself was of Brahmin origin, while Stalin was named after the most  hated Soviet dictator Stalin.

Professions and practice are unrelated not only in Indian politics but also in our thinking and lifestyles. We are prepared to learn the language of our erstwhile rulers, English, a symbol of slavery, but  ñot Hindi, the language of North Indian 

‘imperialists’ . That this is a mere political stance is obvious from the fact that almost all shopkeepers in Chennai can understand Hindi. It is a question of politics Vs commerce and people don’t mind riding both the horses.

How politics influence our thinking is obvious from the act of the then Congress  union government  bestowing on the father of the idea of the South breaking away from India, MGR -film star Ramachandran, the country’s highest award of Bharataratna. This was just to win votes. The Tamils saw through the game and did ñot vote for it 

It is known that more South Indians are settled in Northern states than vice versa and who would have suffered more from another partition of India is too obvious. 

And the inability of most Telugu and Kannada people settled outside  to read their own  mother-tongue  also shows that we learn languages only for job or commerce. This despite the pedagogical fact that children can learn upto five languages with no difficulty simultaneously This shows that language politics is an adult imposition.

Many may not know that there are many South Indians who spoke better Hindi than some Biharis — like Nirmala Sita-raman, DD ex-newsreader J (Joshyula) V(Venkat) Raman, late RSS chief Sudarshan and mañy others.

Language has been so politicised thay we may have to agree with the eminent Urdu poet 

Miirza Ghalib (1954) who had said: “rahiye ab aisī jagah chal kar jahāñ koī na ho….  ham-zabāñ koī na ho….” (let us go stay some place where no one speaks our language.)

That is what happens when language ceases to be a tool of expression and becomes a cultural or political instrument


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