Clarifying his remarks on endorsing Hindi as the common language of India, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that he never asked for imposing Hindi over other languages, but proposed that it should be used in place of English, which is increasingly becoming the preferred medium of communication across states.
In an exclusive interview to News18 Network’s Group Editor-in-Chief Rahul Joshi, Shah appealed to the people to listen to his entire address once more. “I said that there is a need to strengthen all languages in India. Instead of using English, Hindi should be a common second language,” he said.
“Hindi is not in competition with any local language, I myself come from a non-Hindi speaking state,” Shah added.
Shah in September had pitched for Hindi as a common language for the country, reigniting the debate on the issue even as regional satraps in the south said they would oppose any attempt to “impose” the language. Many states, even the BJP-ruled Karnataka, had openly resented his statement.
“It is a national responsibility that Hindi expands and prospers. Every language has its own importance. But it is absolutely essential that the entire country has one language that becomes the identity of the nation in the world. If there is any language that can tie the whole country in one thread, it is the most spoken language of Hindi,” Amit Shah had said on the occasion of Hindi Diwas.
DMK president M K Stalin has asked his party workers to get ready for another anti-Hindi agitation in Tamil Nadu on September 20. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the Hindi language was not the mother tongue of a majority of Indians and his claims that it unifies the country was absurd.
When asked about the One Nation, One Language theory propagated by the RSS, Shah said, “I have said this before and I will say this again, all languages need to be strengthened. Our local languages are far more prosperous than any foreign influence.” He further dispelled any speculations about him laying an impetus on Hindi after taking charge as the home minister. “The department of official language is a part of my portfolio,” he said.
After push from Amit Shah to make Hindi as the unifying language received a cold response from regional political parties, PM Modi spoke about the greatness of Tamil language – one of the oldest in the world -- at the Indian Institute of Technology’s 56th convocation ceremony.
When asked if this was the PM’s attempt to woo South Indians, Shah said, “All the cultures of this country are represented by the prime minister and such a gesture by him should not be seen as an act of political posturing.