Fight against Hindi 'imposition' moves to the next level

Fight against Hindi 'imposition' moves to the next level
Politicians, activists, ideologues and a high court lawyer came together on Sunday to chalk out the future course of the protest against the "imposition" of Hindi and its ideological contours.

At an event entitled 'Towards Linguistic Equality" organised by Banavasi Balaga, high court lawyer Manu Kulkarni said though the Constitution emphasised equality and protection to oppressed people like the minorities, it had not dwelt on language equality.

"Lack of clarity on language has led to ruling governments interpreting the Constitution as per their whims. Articles 15 and 16 that prohibit discrimination on various grounds do not include language. Article 343 allows for removing English from official languages after 15 years and making Hindi the sole official language, and gives primacy to one language," he said.

Kulkarni said the best way forward for regional languages was to bring Constitutional amendments that uphold their status. "There is a need for a larger discussion among communities across the country before arriving at a consensus on the Constitutional amendment," he added.

Chandan Gowda, professor, Azim Premji University, said the erosion of rural culture and rapid urbanisation had a direct bearing on regional languages. "We not only need to protect the interests of Kannada in Bengaluru but also try to bolster the rural economy and culture if we want regional languages to survive," he added.

Noting that the primacy given to Hindi was tied to the idea of India as a nation state, Gowda said political leaders needed to learn from Europe where the experiment of 'one nation-one state' had failed.

JD(S) leader Ramesh Babu cited the example of Tamil Nadu to argue that only regional parties could protect Kannada. "Though we had movements based on Kannada ethos around the time when Tamil Nadu saw the Periyar movement, we lost out after embracing the national parties. We need to send more representatives of regional parties to Parliament to find support for the Constitutional amendment," he said.


KRV to storm metro stations

Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV) state president T A Narayana Gowda said Hindi had not been removed from Namma Metro stations even after directions from Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

"We will meet the chief minister next week and urge him to ensure that his directions are obeyed. Otherwise, the Vedike will take matters into its own hands. Thousands of activists will go to metro stations and do what's necessary," he said.

Gowda further said the fight for regional languages would spread across the country in the coming days. "We are planning a campaign in Delhi where regional leaders from all states will protest against the imposition of Hindi," he added.

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