Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa is the latest leader to have waded into the choppy waters of politics over language. On Monday, Yediyurappa said all the official languages in our country are equal, days after Home Minister Amit Shah said India should have a common language to mark its identity globally.
The Karnataka Chief Minister said that "as far as Karnataka was concerned, Kannada was the principal language".
"We will never compromise its importance and are committed to promoting Kannada and our state's culture," he tweeted.
All official languages in our country are equal. However, as far as Karnataka is concerned, #Kannada is the principal language. We will never compromise its importance and are committed to promote Kannada and our state's culture.— CM of Karnataka (@CMofKarnataka) September 16, 2019
Shah's tweet on Saturday, on the occasion of Hindi Diwas, generated heavy criticism from leaders across the political spectrum.
Yediyurappa's reaction to Shah's push for Hindi as the common language came hours after another regional leader, actor-politician Kamal Haasan, also warned the Centre against the idea.
In a video message posted on Twitter, the Makkal Needhi Maiam chief said the fight for Jallikattu -- the traditional sport involving bulls and humans -- was just a protest, but "the battle for our language will be exponentially bigger than that".
"India or Tamil Nadu doesn't neet or deserve such a battle," he added.
Calling Shah's push for Hindi a "shortsighted folly", Haasan said all will suffer if a common language was imposed.
"Most of the nation happily sings their national anthem in Bengali with pride and will continue to do so," he said, adding, "the reason is the poet who wrote the national anthem gave due respect to all the languages within the anthem."
He urged the home minister "not to make an inclusive India into an exclusive one."
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine