Telangana Minister KTR Joins South Pushback To Amit Shah’s Hindi Pitch


Telangana Minister KTR Joins South Pushback To Amit Shah's Hindi Pitch

Unity in diversity is India’s strength, Telangana minister KTR has tweeted. File

Hyderabad, Chennai:

Unity in diversity is India’s strength and any attempt at “language chauvinism” will boomerang, Telangana minister K T Rama Rao has said, joining the chorus from the south against Home Minister Amit Shah’s pitch to propagate Hindi.

“Unity in diversity is our strength dear @AmitShah Ji. India is a union of states & a true ‘Vasudhaika Kutumbam’. Why don’t we let people of our great nation decide what to eat, what to wear, who to pray to and what language to speak! Language chauvinism/hegemony will boomerang,” said Mr Rao, son of Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao. 

“I am an Indian first, a proud Telugu & Telanganaite next. Can speak in my mother tongue Telugu, English, Hindi & a little bit of Urdu too. To impose Hindi & diss English will be a great disservice to the youngsters of this nation who have global aspirations,” the Telangana Rashtra Samithi leader, popularly known as KTR, added.

Mr Rao’s remarks come against the backdrop of a pushback from the south after Mr Shah batted for steps to increase the importance of Hindi at a meeting of the Parliamentary Official Language Committee.

“Hindi should be accepted as an alternative to English and not to local languages,” he said, adding, “unless we make Hindi flexible by accepting words from other local languages, it will not be propagated”. Mr Shah said the time has come to make the Official Language an important part of the country’s unity.

Following his remarks, a host of Opposition leaders have spoken out on the issue, with the loudest voices of protest coming from the south.

Warning that a push to impose Hindi will destroy India’s integrity, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin said, “Does Amit Shah think Hindi states are enough and other states are redundant? A single language will not help in unity, uniformity won’t bring about integrity.”

Accusing the BJP of continuing efforts to damage India’s pluralism, he warned, “Don’t repeat the same mistake, you will not win.”

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has also slammed the centre on the issue.

“India is a country which is known for its unity in diversity. The idea itself means accepting diversity. Our Constitution has also given importance to many languages in India. Most of the states were formed on the basis of language after a long struggle. The Sangh Parivar agenda is not to recognise diversity and federalism of our country. It’s part of their agenda to weaken the regional languages,” he has said.

Other regional forces, including the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, the Janata Dal (Secular) and outfits in the North-East have slammed Mr Shah’s remarks and accused the centre of trying to impose Hindi.

Main opposition Congress has accused the government of trying to create mutual distrust by “imposition” and coercion. Party leader Jairam Ramesh has said “Hindi imperialism” will be a “death knell for India”.

Against this backdrop, a tweet by music composer A R Rahman has sparked a buzz. 

Mr Rahman has posted the image of a woman in white saree against a background of red. The woman is being seen as a representation of Mother Tamil. A line, appearing as a footnote to the image, is from a popular poem of celebrated Tamil poet Bharathidasan and means that the Tamil language serves as the root to the rights of the Tamil people.


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