CHENNAI: Amidst outrage against the draft National Education Policy (NEP) 2019 recommendation to mandate Hindi for all students, the Tamil Nadu government on Saturday said the two-language formula would continue in the State. Later, the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) issued a statement clarifying the document in question was not a policy but a draft placed in public to get feedback.
The MHRD released the draft NEP, which is based on recommendations of an expert panel led by former ISRO chief Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan, on Friday. The draft’s recommendation that a “three language formula” be adopted across the country came in for heavy criticism in TN with virtually every political party uniting against the proposal and dubbing it “Hindi imposition”. DMK chief MK Stalin warned there would be “serious repercussions if the BJP government disturbs the current system in the State”.
The draft recommends all States follow a three-language formula in which students learn Hindi, English and a regional language. However, State School Education Minister KA Sengottaiyan, on Twitter, said the two-language formula would prevail in TN, adding the State would continue to give preference to Tamil. For its part, the MHRD in its statement said, “There will be no imposition of any language in educational institutions, nor discrimination against any language.” The government would finalise the NEP only after getting feedback from public, and consulting State governments, the MHRD statement added.
No language will be imposed on anybody, assures Javadekar
Meanwhile, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar, who held the HRD portfolio in the first Modi government, said, “The Modi government has been of the view that all Indian languages should develop and no language will be imposed on anybody.”Tamil Nadu has a long history of opposing any move by the Centre giving Hindi prominence over other Indian languages. It witnessed anti-Hindi protests between 1937 and 1940. Seventy people died during anti-Hindi riots in the State in 1965. The riots only ended after then prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru assured that Hindi would not be imposed on non-Hindi speaking states.
In a statement on Saturday, DMK president MK Stalin, said the “Centre has flung a stone in the beehive of Tamil Nadu’s two-language formula.” “We will oppose Hindi imposition. We are not against any language,” DMK MP Kanimozhi said, while MDMK chief Vaiko warned of a “language war”. AMMK leader TTV Dhinakaran said, “Imposing Hindi on non-Hindi speaking States will destroy pluralism. This will make non-Hindi speakers second class citizens.”
PMK leader S Ramadoss said, “Imposing Hindi on States that do not speak that language is unacceptable.” MNM leader Kamal Haasan said, “I’ve acted in Hindi movies... (but) no one should impose anything on anybody. After all, it’s up to the individual to learn any language of his or her choice.”
Educationists too opposed the recommendation. Janki Rajan, professor of education at Jamia Milia Islamia University, said while multi-linguality was good, students should be given bouquet of languages they can choose from. Around 1.5 lakh tweets were posted with the two hashtags #StopHindiImposition and #TNAgainstHindiImposition.
The draft says, “...students in the Hindi-speaking States would continue to include Hindi and English and one of the modern Indian languages from other parts of India, while the study of languages by students in non-Hindi-speaking States would include the regional language, Hindi and English.”