The language narrative

The natural bonding one has with the mother tongue, and the conditions warranting learning of a language other than one’s mother tongue have been juxtaposed with the attempt to impose the three-language formula by the overzealous BJP (Editorial page, “Language, the opening move”, June 7). Perhaps the party thought it had successfully fired its first salvo at the States down south. That the BJP has touched a raw nerve has been proved beyond doubt by the enormity of the opposition to the imposition of Hindi, in Tamil Nadu especially. Moves like these will only further widen the divide between the party and the people of Tamil Nadu who have already rejected the illusions of nationalism and Hindutva.

G.B. Sivanandam,


If only 30% of India’s population speaks Hindi, it is absolutely clear what it is as far as the remainder is concerned. It is the English language which connects and unites non-Hindi speaking States. At this juncture, the importance of English cannot be ignored. This is an issue that we cannot gloss over especially when the States were formed on the basis of language. The Central government should stop unpleasant surprises such as the draft National Education Policy.

Antony C.J.,

Puranattukara, Muthuvara, Kerala

The article reminded me of an incident, in 1966, when I had travelled to Chennai, to take part in the All-India National School Games, as the captain of my State TT team (Uttar Pradesh). As soon as the train pulled into Madras Central, the bogies were set upon by anti-Hindi agitators. As a child of 14 years, I was left traumatised. The team manager was able to gather his wits and rush us out to a place near the YMCA. Next day, when travelling in a bus, we were intercepted, asked to get down and caned heavily for no fault of ours. The attackers could not understand our language, Hindi, nor could we theirs —Tamil. We were in confinement for the rest of the night. I could communicate just a bit in English and gathered that we were being punished because we had been heard talking in Hindi. We were released the next day when we told the police that we had come to participate in the national games that morning to be inaugurated by the leader M. Bakthavatsalam. I feel it should be left to a person to learn Hindi. English is a must as the major language in every State.

Ahmad Rais Siddiqi,

New Delhi

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