The NCERT’s political science textbook for Class XII, which has come to the limelight now with the cartoon on anti-Hindi agitation, gives a glimpse of the Dravidian movement and the agitations staged by the DMK in the 1960s.
Two pages have been allotted for the lesson under the subhead: ‘Regional Aspirations’. The lesson starts with the famous quote of the DMK: “Vadakku vazhkirathu; therkku theikirathu” (the north thrives even as the south decays) and says that this slogan has summed up the dominant sentiments of one of India’s most effective regional movements.
The lesson has been written with all carefulness that no critical remark against any party or person has creeped into the text. Apart from the cartoon on the anti-Hindi agitation, there is a photograph showing the students of Government Arts College and the students Federation of All Colleges in Coimbatore taking out a rally against the imposition of Hindi.
The text says that the success of the anti-Hindi agitation of 1965 added to the DMK’s popularity. It adds: “Sustained political agitations brought the DMK to power in the Assembly elections to 1967.” After mentioning the DMK agitations and emergence of several Dravidian parties, the lesson ends with the remark: “Initially seen as the threat to Indian nationalism, regional politics in Tamil Nadu is a good example of the compatibility of regionalism and nationalism.”
In his letters to Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal and NCERT director prof Sinclair on Friday, MDMK general secretary Vaiko recalled that the assurances given by the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru that Hindi would not be imposed, was thrown to the winds and Hindi was thrust as the sole official language of India in 1965.
DMK founder Arignar Anna gave a clarion call to oppose Hindi. Even Rajaji, who advocated Hindi in 1930s, opposed Hindi, in the 60s. Thousands of students participated in the anti-Hindi agitation, braving oppression by police and army, Vaiko said and added that the cartoon in the lesson distorted history and hurts the sentiments of people of Tamil Nadu.