Opposing voices from prominent southern political parties, including BJP ally AIADMK, continued on Saturday against Union Home Minister Amit Shah's statement on Hindi, with former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam insisting the language cannot be foisted.
Senior Telangana Minister K T Rama Rao said "language chauvinism and hegemony" in the country will boomerang, responding to Shah's comments that Hindi can be an alternative to English.
Panneerselvam, coordinator of main Opposition AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, said people may learn Hindi on their own volition but imposition of the language is unacceptable. Quoting Dravidian icon, the late C N Annadurai, he said if needed, people willing to learn Hindi may do so voluntarily. However, foisting Hindi on people is never acceptable, the former CM tweeted.
He said his party stood firm on the two-language policy of Tamil and English in keeping with the ideology of Annadurai. "#StopHindiImposition," Panneerselvam tweeted.
Rama Rao, President of the ruling TRS and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao's son, said it would be a "great disservice to impose Hindi" on the nation's youngsters who have global aspirations.
"Unity in diversity is our strength dear @AmitShahJi. India is a union of states & a true ‘Vasudhaika Kutumbam’. Why don’t we let people of our great nation decide what to eat, what to wear, who to pray to and what language to speak!," Rao tweeted with the hashtag #stopHindiImposition.
"Language chauvinism/hegemony will boomerang," he added.
"I am an Indian first, a proud Telugu & Telanganaite next. Can speak in my mother tongue Telugu, English, Hindi & a little bit of Urdu too. To impose Hindi & diss English will be a great disservice to the youngsters of this nation who have global aspirations," said Rama Rao, son of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao.
Shah on Thursday said Hindi should be accepted as an alternative to English and not to local languages.
Presiding over the 37th meeting of the Parliamentary Official Language Committee, Shah had said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided that the medium of running the government is the official language and this will definitely increase the importance of Hindi.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin had and former Karnataka CM Siddaramiah had earlier opposed Shah's remarks.
MDMK founder and Rajya Sabha member Vaiko warned that "Amit Shah's opinion of Hindi is India will shatter" the country's unity.
The Tamil Nadu unit of CPI also opposed Shah's remarks.
Meanwhile, an image posted by Oscar-winning music composer A R Rahman on Tamil language has led to an animated debate in the social media on languages.
A line, appearing as a footnote to the image, is from a popular poem of celebrated Tamil nationalist poet Barathidasan and it denotes that Tamil language serves as the root to the rights of the Tamil people.
An artistic depiction of a white saree-clad woman in the centre, against a background of red is seen as a subtle reference to mother Tamil and opposition to imposition of Hindi.
While a section of social media users lauded Rahman saying he has posted this image with a red background to denote opposition to Hindi and full support to Tamil, there were others who questioned him on the intent behind posting the image.
A user, replying to the top notch musician, alleged that Rahman built his career, earned money and fame and everything by doing Hindi movies and now started targeting Hindi.