For a state that has kept the language fire burning furiously it was no surprise that both the ruling and opposition parties of Tamil Nadu joined hands yet again to shoot down the three-language formula proposed by the National Educational Policy (NEP). They quickly dubbed the policy as yet another attempt to impose Hindi or Sanskrit on unsuspecting Tamils and swore by the two-language formula implemented since 1967.
Only this time contrarian voices against the two-language formula are ringing out loud and clear, raising questions if the concept has outlived its political utility. For the first time the chief minister’s stand that the two-language formula would persist has been openly questioned by a well-known educationist. “The two-language formula deprived poor and rural students of government schools of learning an additional language while the rich and urban students of CBSE, Central and private schools have the freedom to study any language they wish,” said E. Balagurusamy, former vice chancellor of Anna University.
Balagurusamy went on to trash the hypocrisy of leaders opposing the three-language formula by pointing out that their children and grand children had studied or were studying Hindi happily. And that many these leaders or their kin were running CBSE schools where Hindi was compulsory. He was apparently referring to a CBSE school in Chennai being run by M.K. Stalin’s daughter Senthamarai and similar schools run by senior politicians elsewhere in the state. And he went on to sell Hindi as the language that would facilitate mobility across states, employment trade and help join central services.
His wasn’t the lone voice as Solomon Pappaiah, an iconic scholar with a huge following among Tamils across the globe too felt that denying Hindi to the Tamils was unjustified any longer. The 84-year-old...