Hindi: Yet another issue on platter for DMK

Hindi: Yet another issue on platter for DMK

DMK president M K Stalin

As if the negative sentiments against the BJP are not enough for political capitalisation, the DMK has yet another issue handed over to it on a platter — the latest statement by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on integrating the country through the Hindi language.

This is the second time in just about three months that “Hindi imposition” on Tamils is dominating the political discourse in Tamil Nadu, the state that has been perennially opposed to learning Hindi through force.

For the DMK, which milked the anti-Narendra Modi and anti-BJP sentiments in the Lok Sabha elections by decimating the AIADMK-BJP alliance when the entire country favoured the saffron party, the language issue could not have come at a better time.

With less than two years for the state to go for Assembly elections, the DMK is certain to dub the BJP as “anti-Tamil” for trying to “impose Hindi” on people of Tamil Nadu while highlighting the statement by Shah and the draft of the new education policy that advocated three-language formula.

The DMK would need an issue like Hindi imposition and Tamil pride to take on the AIADMK, which is showing signs of resurgence for the first time after the party split in 2016 following Jayalalithaa’s death.

Already, DMK president M K Stalin has hit the ground with the Tamil pride plank, seeking to project the BJP and its alliance partner, AIADMK, as parties that push a language down people’s throat.

Though the Tamil Nadu’s ruling party maintains that it would not compromise on the two-language formula in place in the state since the 1960s, there are not many buyers for the argument with the top brass of the AIADMK preferring to keep mum rather than counter the statement by Shah, given the proximity between two political parties, political observers say.

It is no surprise that the DMK will continue to raise the language issue not just because it would bring them votes but also it helps the principal Opposition party project itself as the “protector of Tamil language”, they say. It is DMK’s steadfast opposition to “imposition of Hindi” that catapulted the then fledgeling party to Fort St. George, the seat of power of Tamil Nadu government in 1967.

Knowing well that anti-BJP sentiments are still prevalent in Tamil Nadu and Hindi is still a sensitive and emotional issue in the state, Stalin sought to know whether the country was still India or “Hindia” immediately after Shah’s statement on Saturday. To keep the momentum, the DMK president raked up the issue yet again on Sunday by warning that the party would be ready to sacrifice anything to oppose Hindi imposition and protect the singular identity of Tamils.