BJD MP Tathagatha Satpathy’s comeback at Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar’s invitation in Hindi is latest in the protest against Centre’s push to impose Hindi on non-Hindi speaking states.
When Satpathy received a letter in Hindi from Union Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water and Sanitation Minister Tomar on August 11 inviting him to a programme by the government, he sent out a reply in Odia telling him that he doesn’t understand Hindi.
“Why are Union Ministers forcing Hindi on non Hindi speaking Indians? Is this an attack on other languages?” said Sathpathy, putting Tomar’s letter out on Twitter.
Why are Union Ministers forcing Hindi on non Hindi speaking Indians? Is this an attack on other languages? -TS pic.twitter.com/QkcMwKXV1J— Office of T Satpathy (@SatpathyLive) August 18, 2017
The BJD’s chief whip in the Lok Sabha then told the media that he would send a reply to Tomar in a language he himself understands.
“Shri Narendra Singh Tomar ji,
I have received your letter dated 11/08/2017. Thank you for that. But I would like to inform you that I can't understand anything written in this letter as I don't understand Hindi language. I would also like to state that our state Odisha falls in the C category so kindly send us letter in English or Odia.
May Lord Jagannath bless you!”
Replied in Oriya to Hon'ble Union Minister Sri Narendra S Tomar expressing inability to comprehend his Hindi letter.— Office of T Satpathy (@SatpathyLive) August 19, 2017
'(3) Communications from a Central Government office to State or Union Territory in Region "C" or to any office (not being a Central Government office) or person in such State shall be in English,' says The Official Languages Rules.
And this is not the first time that the BJP-led NDA at the Centre has come under fire from non-Hindi speaking states for imposing the language on them.
After coming under attack from several quarters, the government told Parliament in July that it has no intention to impose Hindi over any other Indian language.
All languages are national languages, although Hindi is the official language, said Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, who is in-charge of the Department of official Languages in the central government.
"There is no question of imposition of Hindi over any other language. Hindi is the official language. There is no one language which is national language," he had said in the Rajya Sabha.
At present, there are 22 languages under the 8th Schedule of the Constitution while 38 languages have been listed formally. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, there are demands for inclusion of 38 more languages in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution.
Rijiju’s statement had come against the backdrop of allegations from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu that the central government is trying to impose Hindi on non-Hindi speaking states.
The controversy over Hindi being imposed was generated after former President Pranab Mukherjee accepted the recommendation of the Committee of Parliament on Official Language that all dignitaries, including the president and ministers, especially those who can read and speak Hindi, may be requested to give their speech/statement in Hindi only.
Towards the end of July, RSS activist Dina Nath Batra in a recommendation to the NCERT demanded that Urdu and Arabic words to be removed from school text books.
Batra, who heads Nyas, said that various things ought to be removed from the text books referring to Mughal emperors as generous, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's apology over the 1984 riots, and the sentence that around 2000 Muslims were allegedly killed in the Gujarat riots.
The recommendations were about five pages which highlighted the portions of what to be removed.
Less than a week ago, Karnataka’s Congress CM Siddaramaiah Karnataka said "imposition" of any language on a state, which has its own official language, is unconstitutional.
His statement comes at a time when pro-Kannada outfits were against use of Hindi on Namma Metro signboards. Siddaramaiah had written to the Centre stating the state government was compelled to ask the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation to temporarily re-design signboards in stations without the Hindi language.
With Agency Inputs