The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in Tamil Nadu, the Congress in Telangana and music composer AR Rahman on Monday welcomed the Centre’s decision to revise the draft version of the National Education Policy that many had objected to for recommending that Hindi be made a mandatory subject in non-Hindi speaking states.
The MK Stalin-led Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam welcomed the Centre’s move and said it was a success of former party chief M Karunanidhi’s legacy of opposing the “imposition” of Hindi.
“At a time when we are celebrating the birth anniversary of Thalaivar [leader] Kalaignar [Karunanidhi], the Central government withdrawing the Hindi compulsory subject clause shows that Kalaignar is living,” said party President MK Stalin. “Let us guard mother Tamil always breaking up the hegemonic imposition of Hindi.”
The Pattali Makkal Katchi, an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party, said the Centre’s announcement was a matter of joy. “This is a huge victory for the PMK, which raised its voice against the Hindi imposition, and the people of Tamil Nadu,” tweted PMK’s founder S Ramadoss.
Oscar-winning composer AR Rahman said the Centre’s decision was a “beautiful solution”.
“Hindi is not compulsory in Tamil Nadu…draft [policy] has been rectified!” he tweeted.
In Telangana, senior Congress leader Marri Shashidhar Reddy told PTI that the three-language policy had almost been given up. “Recalling the long anti-Hindi agitation that was witnessed particularly in Tamil Nadu, now, for that to find a place in 2019 in draft education policy, was something which was not necessary,” he added.
Reddy said no language should be imposed, and students will choose languages they want to learn. However, the Congress leader added that an organisation such as the Dakshin Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha, which actively spreads Hindi in the southern states, should be strengthened.
In Karnataka, senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah strongly opposed the draft policy. He said importance should be given to Kannada, PTI reported. “Nothing should be done against our opinion,” he added. “There is no need for three languages. English and Kannada are there...they are enough. Kannada is our mother tongue, so primacy should be given to Kannada.”
The former chief minister said there would be no compromise on matters related to the state’s water, land and language.
A panel of experts led by former Indian Space Research Organisation chief Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan initially recommended that students in non-Hindi speaking states learn a regional language, Hindi and English, while students in Hindi-speaking states learn Hindi, English and a modern Indian language from other parts of the country. It was seen as a way of forcing people who do not speak Hindi to learn the language. The revised draft, however, does not state which languages students must study in middle school.
After the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in Tamil Nadu and the Opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam raised objections on Saturday, and a number of social-media users protested online, the Centre clarified that Hindi will not be imposed in schools in the state. “Public feedback will be sought, it is a misunderstanding that it has become a policy,” Union Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal said. Union minister Prakash Javadekar and Union Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar also assured that the government does not want to impose any language on anybody.