Tamil nadu is a queer place. Its people are one kind and its politicians are altogether another kind in every issue. In all the cities, district headquarters and towns across Tamilnadu, Hindi teaching academies make a killing with offers like '30 day Hindi" to "30 hour Hindi" programmes. Posters and flyers advertising for 'fluency in Hindi' are quite common across Tamilnadu. Gandhi is on record saying the Hindi spoken by South Indians is sweet.
Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha , organises Hindi courses in a proper manner and conducts exams here. To top it, almost all the matriculation schools in Tamilnadu has Hindi as an option in their curriculum not to speak of the CBSE pattern public schools where Hindi is normal.
It was in such a time that the politicians of the state went to war with Prime minister Sri Narendra Modiji for his remark to patronize Hindi in online media. They called it an imposition. The minions of these politicians parroted their leaders' voice all over the state and local media. The Prime minister's office had to work extra time to 'clarify' the PM's remark.
As a person who privately studied Hindi while in school , I know its value today and the advantage it gives me in my personal and business lives . Now looking back, I do not at all regret that long walk to the Hindi teacher's house. As I look at Modi ji's remark, I see no harm in it but, feel that there was another wonderful way this matter could have been handled. Only imagination and understanding of the Indian psyche was needed.
What Modiji wanted to achieve in the end ? Was it the acceptance of Hindi in Social media ? No, it was to decrease the dominance of English. When that was the case, why did Modi ji went to town patronising Hindi ?
He could have simply asked Indians to depend less and less on English and instead focus on other National languages instead. This would have been an instant hit and could have triggered a nationwide debate. I call that a 'win win situation' where no Indian stands to lose. We all know what a havoc English is wrecking on young indian minds. Stripping English language layer by layer to its barbaric and colonial levels will happen within quick time. Modi ji does not need any ministry to do this. He has enough followers on the internet to do this at zero cost and in a day.
Modiji would have had the whole nation behind him had he jumbled his words and said the same thing in different words. No doubt, Hindi has the maximum acceptance in India. But being the statesman that he is, Modi should have considered the non Hindi states. By consensus, Hindi could have become a second official language to teach technical subjects and arts subjects in colleges. At least a beginning could have been made. The crux of the matter is that English should not have such an unchallenged run and should be curtailed and relegated to an 'optional' language of Indians.
The Chinese, Japanes, German, French, Russian , Spanish, Italian - all of them study in their mother tongue. Only Indians on mass scale study in English. I also suspect that there is a coterie which works overtime to safeguard and impose the interests of the English language in India. For example, the dravidian lobby, while pretending to protect Tamil, has, in a short span of 10 years , pushed Tamil out of all government schools. Now Tamil is only an optional language there. This is an alarming situation. Children studying in a foreign language are undergoing an enormous stress which was highlighted by Gandhiji even 75 years back.
Modiji could have highlighted these and could have asked for our opinion. I know that he is a man of sincere intentions and he should simply reverse strategies to further his objectives in this. Side by side, Modi can also appoint expert committees to purge non hindi words from the present biriyani Hindi taught in school books and college texts.
For all the non Hindi states, Modi can leave them to use their languages. But, the underlying warning should be to rid English.There will come a time, when non Hindi students who study outside their state carry this language to their society. There is already a silent population which knows Hindi and welcomes it. And slowly but surely , we can have a NATURAL, UNIVERALLY LOVED NATIONAL LANGUAGE in our midst.
Once, Hindi starts to kindle our interests, side by side its grand parent language, Sanskrit, the mother of all languages will also start to bloom and emerge from its hibernation and will show its secular and spiritual treasures to us and the world at large.