Tamil Nadu and the central government clash over the official language

Union authorities want to impose Hindi in institutions of higher learning, but in Tamil Nadu, the state legislative assembly is standing up for Tamil. For its chief minister, imposing Hindi is "impracticable and divisive” since no “state that respects and values their mother tongue” will accept it.

Chennai (AsiaNews) – The Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu has adopted a resolution against the imposition of Hindi by the government of the Indian Union.

In it, state legislators urge the central government not to implement some of the recommendations by the parliamentary commission on official languages presented to President Droupadi Murmu on 9 September.

Chaired by Home Minister Amit Shah, the commission expressed hope that Hindi would be adopted in higher education institutions, at the Indian Institute of Technology for example, as the main language with English as an optional language.

The resolution argues that such recommendations go “against the state languages including Tamil and also against the interest of the people who speak those languages.”

In Tamil Nadu, the state has a two-language policy, approved in 1968 by the local Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party, whereby only Tamil and English are taught in state schools.

At the time of the vote, Members or the Legislative Assembly for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the party of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, walked out.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Muthuvel Karunanidhi Stalin wrote to Modi a few days ago describing the central government's attempts to impose Hindi as impractical and divisive.

The latter “will not be acceptable not only to Tamil Nadu but also to any state that respects and values their mother tongue,” his letter said.

Stalin added that all regional languages, including Tamil, should be treated equally in India and that they should be granted official language status by the Union (federal) government.