#HindiDebate: Kamal Haasan says 'battle for Tamil bigger than Jallikattu'
Mere days after Home Minister Amit Shah's push to make Hindi India's national language, actor and politician Kamal Haasan has come out in opposition of his comments. In a video message, the 64-year-old Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) chief referred to the promises of being inclusive of diversity in the Constitution of India and said the Centre must not break those promises.
Haasan said, "The unity in diversity is a promise that we made when we made India into a Republic. Now, no Shah, Sultan or Samrat must renege on that promise. We respect all languages, but our mother language will always be Tamil." Haasan went on to talk about the 2017 Jallikatu protests, warning that "the battle for our language will be exponentially bigger."
Haasan then said that most Indians happily sing the National Anthem, which is in Bengali. "The reason is the poet who wrote it gave respect to all languages and cultures within the anthem, and hence it became our anthem," he said. He added, "Do not make an inclusive India into an exclusive one. All will suffer due to this short-sighted folly."
The video ends with Haasan saying in Tamil, "Long live Tamil, long live the Tamil people and long live India." As he walks away from the camera, the text 'One Nation, Many Languages' flashes in front of the Ashoka Pillar and the Constitution of India.
Now you are constrained to prove to us that India will continue to be a free country.— Kamal Haasan (@ikamalhaasan) September 16, 2019
You must consult the people before you make a new law or a new scheme. pic.twitter.com/u0De38bzk0
To recall, on Hindi Diwas last Saturday, Shah had pushed for Hindi to be the one "unifying" language that would represent India globally. The move came after the May National Education Policy (NEP) draft proposed a "three language" policy, making Hindi compulsory in non-Hindi speaking states. It was later updated to make Hindi optional following protests. Incidentally, Haasan had also criticized the NEP draft.
Apart from Haasan, Shah's comments were also criticized by many others including Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who said the push for Hindi as a national language was "a new battlefield in the name of language. Non-Hindi speaking people would be made second-class citizens." DMK chief MK Stalin said, "This is India, not Hindia," and asked Shah to withdraw his remarks.
Separately, wishing people on Hindi Diwas, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee reminded people to "respect all languages and cultures equally." Former Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy also tweeted in Kannada saying that no language should be imposed over another.