Chennai: Rejecting outright Home Minister Amit Shah’s prescription, ‘One Nation, One Language’ as going against India's unique identity as the land of multiple languages and cultures yet practising ‘Unity in Diversity’, actor-politician Kamal Haasan on Monday cautioned the BJP regime at the Centre against ‘thrusting’ Hindi on the Tamil people.
“Do not make an inclusive India, an exclusive one”, Kamal said, warning that if the Centre persists with its Hindi imposition, it could lead to public unrest in Tamil Nadu that would do no good, either to the Centre or to Tamil Nadu. “Jallikattu (2017) was just a protest; the battle for our language will be exponentially bigger than that. India or Tamil Nadu do not need or deserve such a battle”, he said and everybody would suffer “due to such short-sighted folly”.
Home minister Shah sparked controversy a few days back when he said during the Hindi Diwas celebration at Delhi that it was important to have one language for India, Hindi, to be identified in the world.
Reacting sharply, albeit a bit late compared to the other politicos in the state, Kamal reminded the rulers that Unity in Diversity was a promise made by the leaders when India finally won its freedom and became Republic.
“No Shah, Sultan or Samrat should renege on that promise”, he warned.
Kamal's statement came in a 1.33 minute video and received huge response on social media, with many wondering how a man with such dislike for Hindi had acted in Hindi movies and married a northerner (Sarika). There were just as many, if not more, posts on the twitter that supported his stand, with one of them pointing out that the star-politician was not against Hindi as a language but only against its imposition.
“We respect all languages, but our mother language will always be Tamil”, said Kamal in his video message. He also pointed to India's national anthem and said, “Most of the nation happily sings its national anthem in Bengali, with pride, and will continue to do so. The reason is that the poet who wrote the national anthem gave due respect to all languages and cultures within the anthem. And hence it became our anthem”.
He ended his bilingual (English, Tamil) video saying 'Vazhga Senthamizh, Vazhga Num Tamizhar, Vazhiya Bharata Mani Thirunadu”. (Long Live Tamil, Long Live our Tamil people, Long Live the great land of Bharat)
In another tweet he had posted, Kamal told the BJP Government: “Now you are constrained to prove to us that India will continue to be a free country”, He also said the Centre should “consult the people before you make a new law or a new scheme”. And he reminded the rulers that freedom from the British was won only for establishing true democracy and not for propping up some symbolic figurehead”.
Kamal's angry response on the bilingual video has come days after Home Minister Amit Shah stated that only Hindi can unite the country. “There are many languages in India and they have their own value, but it is important for the nation to have one language that it is identified by in the world. If there is one language that can unite the country, it's Hindi.” He had also appealed to the people to not only use their mother tongue but also Hindi gradually so as to replace the foreign language, English, as the link language, thereby fulfilling the dream of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhai Patel of 'one nation, one language'....