Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan joined his Tamil Nadu counterpart M.K. Stalin in denouncing the purported move by the Parliamentary Committee on Official Language to employ Hindi as the medium of instruction in IITs, IIMs, Kendra Vidyalayas, and Central universities in Hindi-speaking States, and regional languages in similar centres of learning in other regions.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr. Vijayan said the decision would render questions for competitive examinations in Hindi, thus disadvantaging candidates from non-Hindi speaking States. (Union Home Minister Amit Shah chairs the committee.)
Mr. Vijayan suggested that the Centre formulated question papers for competitive examinations in all languages specified under the Eight Schedule of the Constitution instead of insisting on any particular language for discerning the merit of candidates.
Mr. Vijayan noted with concern reports that the committee had recommended knowledge of Hindi as a criterion for government employment. The Constitution encouraged the use of all national languages in education and matters of the State.
“Hindi cannot be imposed as the main language of instruction in our higher learning centres. The State-specific aspects of the education sector have to be recognised. There cannot be a hasty decision in the matter,” he said.
Mr. Vijayan also linked the issue to the country’s democratic founding principle of unity in diversity. The younger generation should learn other languages in addition to their mother tongue, he said.
Any attempt, even remotely perceived as the imposition of a particular language over other dialects, could cause public apprehension. “I request the Hon’ble Prime Minister to intervene at the earliest and take corrective steps,” he said.
Stating that India had many languages and no single language could be termed as the national language, he said that any move to the contrary would not augur well for the cooperative federal setup.
Mr. Stalin used stronger language to condemn the move. He said any attempt to make Hindi mandatory would force another “language war on us”. He said any move to impose Hindi would relegate non-Hindi speaking citizens and regions to a subaltern status. The population of non-Hindi-speaking citizens was higher. Mr. Stalin also opposed the motion to remove English as the medium of instruction.