Bengaluru: Asserting that Hindi is not India’s national language, former Karnataka chief minister and senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Friday accused the ruling BJP of trying to unleash its agenda of “cultural terrorism” against non-Hindi speaking states.
Taking offence to Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s comment regarding the official language, the Leader of Opposition in the Karnataka assembly accused him of betraying the former’s home state Gujarat and mother-tongue Gujarati for Hindi, for his political agenda.
Shah on Thursday said Hindi should be accepted as an alternative to English and not to local languages.
Presiding over the 37th meeting of the Parliamentary Official Language Committee, Shah had said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided that the medium of running the government is the official language and this will definitely increase the importance of Hindi.
“As a Kannadiga, I take strong offence to @HMOIndia @AmitShah’s comment on Official language & medium of communication. Hindi is not our National Language & we will never let it to be,” Siddaramaiah tweeted with the tagline “#IndiaAgainstHindiImposition”
Stating that linguistic diversity is the essence of our country and we will respect each other’s sentiments, the former chief minister said pluralism is what has held our nation together and any attempt by the BJP to undo this will be met with strong opposition and retaliation.
“Imposing Hindi is a sign of coercive federalism rather than cooperative federalism. Myopic view of BJP regarding our languages needs to be corrected and their opinions are derived from pseudo-nationalists like Savarkar,” Siddaramaiah added.
Pointing out that 70 per cent of the agenda of the Cabinet is prepared in Hindi, Shah at the committee meeting had said the time has now come to make the official language Hindi an important part of the unity of the country.
He, however, had said Hindi should be accepted as an alternative to English and not to local languages.
Alleging that BJP is trying to unleash its agenda of cultural terrorism against non-Hindi speaking states, Siddaramaiah said the efforts of poets, authors, actors, and icons of Karnataka Ekikarana (unification) movement and others in strengthening the state shall be protected forever.
“It is time for the BJP to understand that more linguistic and cultural autonomy should be given to states. All All-India exams have to be held in regional languages, NEP has to be reworked to avoid Hindi imposition and all major state languages should be official languages,” he said.
“It is disgraceful on the part of Amit Shah to betray his mother state Gujarat and mother-tongue Gujarati for Hindi for his political agenda. I wonder how a person who betrays his motherland can ever work in the interest of India,” he said, adding that Shah’s roots are from where Mahatma Gandhi was born, but behaving like Savarkar”.
Further noting that history clearly suggests that any attempt to impose Hindi in other states have not gone well, Siddaramaiah said: “We take pride in Kannada identity and we believe that Karnataka, as our poet laureate Kuvempu said, is the daughter of Bharata.