Hindi diwas: What is there to celebrate for non-Hindi speakers, asks Kumaraswamy

Do away with Hindi diwas or celebrate all official languages of India, says the former Karnataka Chief Minister


Terming ‘Hindi Diwas’ celebration as an “underhand method” to impose the language on people speaking other languages, JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy on Monday demanded its cancellation.

In a series of tweets on a day on which Hindi Diwas is celebrated, the former Chief Minister warned against “imposition” of the language, and said the cordial nature of Kannadigas should not be construed as their weakness.

“In India, which is a land of diverse language, culture and traditions, several means are being used to impose Hindi on people speaking other languages, including Kannada. Today’s Hindi Diwas is also one such underhand method. Proud Kannadigas are opposed to this Hindi Diwas which is a symbol of linguistic arrogance,” Mr. Kumaraswamy tweeted in Kannada.

Hindi is not our national language and there is no such concept in our constitution, he said and alleged that despite this there have been attempts to project it as a national language and “do politics over it.”

“It has now reached extreme. Before people of other languages revolt against such attempts, imposition of Hindi should be stopped,” he added.

Education or learning is being used as an excuse to impose Hindi, Mr. Kumaraswamy said, adding, learning can be only by choice and not by imposition.

Imposition of a language should not question the identity of another language; it should not lead to “expiration” of another language or impair the country’s culture, diversity and unity, he said.

Pointing out that September 14 is observed as Hindi Diwas to commemorate the birth anniversary of Beohar Rajendra Simha, who fought for implementation of Hindi in central administration, he asked, “what is there for non-Hindi speakers to celebrate? Pointless Hindi Diwas should be cancelled.”

Mr. Kumaraswamy said, if Hindi Diwas has to be celebrated, then days of all other official languages including Kannada should be observed by the Centre across the country.

“Separate days should be announced for this. November 1 (Karnataka formation day) should be observed as Kannada day across the country.”

In recent times, a wave of ‘anti-Hindi imposition’ sentiment has gathered momentum in a section of the population in Karnataka.

Slogans such as, “Hindi Gotthilla Hogo. Naavu Kannadigaru, Naavu Dravidaru” (We dont know Hindi, go away.We are Kannadigas, we are Dravidians), also #ServeInMyLanguage a social media campaign demanding for government services to be available in Kannada have gained traction.