Thursday, Aug 18, 2022
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Opinion

The Tamil-Dravidian Framework As A Secular Antithesis To Hindi-Hindu-Hindustan

The government should be concerned that the younger generation dislikes language imperialism

Cryptic text-based unpoetry as vernacular vocabulary by Mithu Sen on Instagram

Many people in India, particularly outside of Tamil Nadu, may be genuinely unaware of the comp­­lexities of the state’s language politics. Almost all of the images they would have rec­eived from their political, media, and academic circles could be hopelessly inadequate in explaining why Tamils have been ‘against Hindi’.  The issue is far greater than you believe, and it is not just a question of picking up a new language. The language movement in the state may be divided into three distinct phases. The pre-Independence phase was propelled by the self­-respect movement; the 1960s phase was driven by hopes for self-rule; and the third phase, today, is marked by a new generation of self-assertive minds.

Behind the public sloganeering “Hindi Ozhiga! (Down with Hindi!)” was a centuries-old, even millennia-old, schism between the political north and political south. When Congress leader C. Rajagopalachari became the first premier of the Madras Presidency in 1937, he made learning Hindi a compulsory subject in the state’s public schools. A strong movement arose against him. After three years of unrelenting opposition by the people, the British Governor of Madras, Lord Erskin, rev­oked it in 1940.

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