‘Are you Indian?’: MP Kanimozhi says CISF officer asked her for not knowing Hindi

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Lok Sabha Member of Parliament from Tamil Nadu M Kanimozhi on Sunday tweeted about an incident at an airport, where she said she was asked if she was an Indian by a CISF officer, for not knowing Hindi. Kanimozhi took to Twitter and said, “Today at the airport a CISF officer asked me if “I am an Indian” when I asked her to speak to me in tamil or English as I did not know Hindi. I would like to know from when being indian is equal to knowing Hindi. #hindiimposition.”

The incident has raised several questions about Hindi Imposition in the country, and why many people think it’s the national language of India whereas India does not have any national language.

The official Twitter handle of CISF (Central Industrial Security Force) tweeted in reply to Kanimozhi, “Warm greetings from @CISFHQrs. We sincerely acknowledge your unpleasant experience. Kindly DM journey details;  name of airport, location, date, and time of the incident for appropriate action in the matter.”

Critics however point out that this is not an issue with an individual officer from a central force, but the larger belief being pushed in India that Hindi is the national language, or that Hindi is more important than other Indian languages. Currently, there are 22 official languages recognised in the eighth schedule of the Indian Constitution, and it includes Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Maithili, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu.

English and Hindi meanwhile are used as official languages for communication between the Union government and the state governments.

Several people in Kanimozhi’s replies and retweets condemned the alleged Hindi imposition by the Union government – most recently brought up in relation to the National Education Policy’s push for a three-language formula, that Tamil Nadu has always opposed on the grounds that this is a means of Hindi imposition.

Read: The history of anti-Hindi imposition movements in Tamil Nadu

Many people also recalled similar incidents they’ve faced – expressing shock that even MPs are not spared such treatment.

Read: NEP 2020: Why India needs to learn from Tamil Nadu