ays after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s massive victory in Lok Sabha 2019 election, the Hindi debate has once again erupted in Tamil Nadu.
The draft National Education Policy, proposed by Ministry of Human Resources and Development on Friday, suggests teaching of Hindi in non-Hindi speaking states. However, there is no clarity if the state language will be taught.
The 500-page report states that non-Hindi speaking states would include the regional language, English and Hindi, while states, where Hindi is spoken, would have English and another modern Indian language in addition to Hindi.
“Students will be required to attain proficiency in discussing their major in at least one Indian language through an appropriate written project or presentation in that language,” the policy says.
This has sparked the Hindi language debate in Tamil Nadu once again.
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The school education minister of Tamil Nadu took the lead in criticising the Hindi-related proposal in the new policy.
“Tamil Nadu will follow only two-language policy. Only Tamil and English will bravely march in Tamil Nadu,” said KA Sengottaiyan, whose AIADMK party is an ally of the BJP which rules at the Centre.
The Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu concurred with anti-Hindi sentiments of the government.
AMMK leader TTV Dhinakaran said, “Imposing Hindi on non-Hindi speaking states will destroy pluralism. This would make non-Hindi speakers second class citizens.”
DMK termed the policy proposal as a direct attack on the state and its linguistic culture.
“I warn BJP any such move will cause them a huge disaster,” DMK leader MK Stalin said. MDMK leader Vaiko warned of a “language war”.
Trichy Siva, DMK Rajya Sabha MP said, “An attempt to force Hindi will not be tolerated by the students, youth and the DMK. We are ready to face any consequences. Trying to force Hindi in the name of educational reform is like adding fuel to the fire. There will be agitation in the state with students, youth rising against this. The DMK is ready to face any consequences to stop Hindi being forced on people. The central government will not be able to face the severity of the steps taken by DMK. DMK is ready to face any consequences to stop forcing Hindi on people of Tamil Nadu.”
Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan, whose party Makkal Needhi Mayyam managed to get a 3.7 per cent vote share in the recently concluded election, also warned of consequence if Hindi was forced on the people of Tamil Nadu. Kamal Haasan also hinted at the 1965 language agitation in the state.
Speaking to media on the issue, Kamal Haasan said, ” I have acted in many Hindi films, in my opinion, the Hindi language should not be imposed on anyone… Those interested can learn anything they want. Most importantly, Tamils won’t be ready to accept another language and it is also difficult for them. A request for not forcing a language has been made. This has been also made very clear in the past by Tamil Nadu.”
Reacting to the developments, former HRD minister and current Information & Broadcast Minister Prakash Javadekar said that there will be no imposition.
“There is no intention of imposing any language on anybody, we want to promote all Indian languages. It’s a draft prepared by the committee, which will be decided by the government after getting public feedback,” the minister told news agency ANI.
Tamil Nadu has been consistently protesting against Hindi since the pre-independence era. The region saw first anti-Hindi protest between 1937 and 1940. In 1965, the issue flared up once again, resulting in riots which killed around 70 people. Following the violence, then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru announced that Hindi will not be imposed on non-Hindi speaking states.
New National Education Policy
The New Education Policy has been drafted by an expert panel led by Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan, a former chief of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The committee handed over the draft policy to new HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal on Friday.
The draft said, “Curriculum and pedagogy will be transformed by 2022 in order to minimise rote learning and instead encourage holistic development and 21st-century skills such as critical thinking, creativity, scientific temper, communication, collaboration, multilingualism, problem-solving, ethics, social responsibility, and digital literacy.
The policy also suggests changes in teaching and assessment to make the education system more stress-free.
The existing NEP was framed in 1986 and revised in 1992. New education policy was part of the BJP’s manifesto ahead of 2014 general polls.