Commentators face bouncers for Hindi 'pitch'

Ranji Trophy: Commentators face bouncers for Hindi 'pitch'

Commentators Rajinder Amarnath and Sushil Doshi are in a spot of bother

Commentators Rajinder Amarnath and Sushil Doshi kicked up a language row during a Ranji match.

Former Ranji Trophy cricketer Rajinder Amarnath and veteran Hindi commentator Sushil Doshi kicked up a language row during the course of their commentary on the Ranji Trophy match between Karnataka and Baroda by insisting that Hindi was the “mother tongue” of all Indians and that every Indian “should” know the language.

Amarnath, the son of the legendary Lala and younger brother of former India player Mohinder Amarnath, made these comments in response to Doshi’s views where he was lauding Sunil Gavaskar for taking up Hindi commentary and how that was helping promote the language.

The duo is on the commentary panel for the match, which is being streamed live on Hotstar, here at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.

Hindustan mein har Hindustani ko Hindi aani chahiye, ye hamari matru bhasha hai (Every Indian should know Hindi, it’s our mother tongue),” Amarnath said the moment Doshi took a pause. “Iss se badi bhasha hamareliye nahin hai (there is no bigger language for us than this),” he added for good measure.

Doshi agreed with Amarnath and went on to say that it makes him angry when people say they are cricketers and still they have to speak in Hindi. “You are staying in India then you will obviously speak its mother tongue.”

The condescending tone of the remarks left many viewers enraged and the video clips of that segment went viral on social media. Many Twitter users slammed the comments and called it Hindi imposition. They also tagged BCCI and questioned how the sport can be used to promote a particular language in such a blatant manner.

Following an uproar on social media, Amarnath apologised just before the tea break. “India is a land of many languages and everyone can speak the language of his choice. We didn’t mean to hurt anyone,” he said.

Speaking to the media after the day’s proceedings, Amarnath and Doshi tried to clear the air. Amarnath initially tried to defend his comments saying, “I didn’t say Hindi is a national language and everyone should know it. All I said was it’s our mother tongue and what’s wrong if I say one should know the mother tongue?”

Doshi, who thought Telugu was the language of Karnataka before being told it was Kannada, toed Amarnath’s line saying they were referring only to those whose mother tongue was Hindi all the while ignoring Amarnath’s statement that “every Indian should know Hindi”.

When asked if he still stood by his opinion that every Indian ‘should’ know Hindi, Amarnath toned down a bit and said, “Maybe I could have said ‘could’ (try to know Hindi).”

On a lighter note, Amarnath quipped, “I don’t want to be another Amarnath to cause a controversy,” obviously referring to his father Lala and brother Mohinder, who were never strangers to controversies.

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