IANS /New Delhi
Home Minister Amit Shah yesterday said only Hindi can unite the country and pushed for a ‘One Nation, One Language’ agenda.
“There are several languages in India and they have their own value, but it is important for the nation to have one language that it is identified by in the world,” the minister tweeted.
“If there is one language that can unite the country, it’s Hindi.”
Later speaking at a function to mark Hindi Diwas (Hindi day), Shah urged the people to increasingly use their mother tongues, and also the Hindi language more often.
By doing so, they can contribute to realising the dream of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel of ‘one nation, one language’.
He said Hindi would achieve new heights by 2024.
Shah appealed to the citizens to get connected with the language and work towards making it the most widely used in the world. He also appealed to the people to at least talk to their children in Hindi.
The minister said the government will celebrate ‘Hindi Diwas’ publicly from next year.
“We will ensure that Hindi achieves new heights by the time we contest the next Lok Sabha election in 2024. The Hindi Divas Samaroh would be a public programme from next year, as Hindi belongs to the people. The government would take Hindi Diwas outside Delhi and would celebrate a ‘Hindi Saptah’ across the country,” Shah said.
He, however, clarified that other languages of the country would not be suppressed for the growth of Hindi.
However, the opposition Congress criticised Shah and said one should not stir up any controversy on a sensitive issue which has been settled with maturity by India’s constitution makers.
Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said: “The home minister should know that Hindi has been declared the national language long back. Secondly when you see the constitution of the country, it clearly recognises India’s diversity. The constitution of India recognises 22 languages, they are all Indian languages spoken by a large number of people.”
The Rajya Sabha MP said all the languages are equally important.
In Chennai, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the Paattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), two major political parties of Tamil Nadu, said the imposition of Hindi on the pretext of ‘one nation, one language’ would prove disastrous for the country.
Referring to Shah’s tweet, DMK chief M K Stalin said: “It’s shocking. It will surely affect India’s unity. On behalf of the DMK, I would urge him to take back that view of his.”
The party would decide how to mark its opposition to such views, Stalin added.
PMK founder S Ramadoss tweeted: “Shah’s views on Hindi to be India’s single language is wrong. He has the right to speak high of Hindi language on the Hindi Day. But Hindi can’t be forced on the people speaking other languages.”
He said “just because Hindi was spoken by a large number of people in India, it could not be a unifying force. If Hindi is imposed on people speaking other languages then it will break the country. There are global examples for this.”
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