Unlike Tamil Nadu, there are no strong anti-Hindi sentiments in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. But both the Telugu states want the apprehensions over the draft new national education policy to be addressed.
Though the Telugu states have been following the three-language formula, politicians and academicians have cautioned the Centre against imposing any language against the wishes of the states.
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), the ruling party in Telangana, wants the Centre to circulate the draft policy among stakeholders and take further steps only after taking into consideration their suggestions and after addressing the apprehensions of all concerned.
Well-known academician K. Nageshwar points out that while south Indians learn Hindi, Hindi-speaking people don’t want to learn any South Indian language.
“When people from north India coming and living in south India don’t want to learn south Indian languages, why south Indians should learn north Indian language and that too not having to ho there? This is clear linguistic chauvinism,” he told IANS.
Nageshwar, a professor in the journalism department at Osmania University, alleged that the BJP was identified with Hindi chauvinism and pointed out its proposals for displaying boards on highways in Hindi.
“We not against Hindi but there should equal propagation of one of the south Indian languages in north India. The problem is not with South India but with the Hindi heartland itself. If north Indians learn south Indian languages, Hindi will get more acceptability in the south,” he said.
Nageshwar, also a former member of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council, said it was a misnomer to say Hindi was a national language. “There is no national language. Hindi is spoken by only 30-40 per cent population and not by the majority.
“People say learn Hindi for national unity. Why not they learn Tamil, Malayalam or Telugu for national unity? National unity can’t be prerogative or requirement of only Hindi-speaking people. Hindi-speaking people should also have a sense of national unity. National unity or linguistic unity can’t be one-way traffic,” he said.
“I think justification will be there to impose Hindi when Hindi speaking states also learn one of non-Devanagari languages like Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam or Telugu,” Nageshwar added.
M. Kodandaram, an academician and President of political party Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS), is against the three-language formula at primary school level.
“A child at primary level can’t learn three languages. Have two languages till they complete their primary education and introduce other language at subsequent level,” said Kodandaram, a former professor of political science at Osmania University.
He believes that imposing three languages at the primary level makes learning difficult.
Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader Abid Rasool Khan said that with India having a federal set-up and composite culture where one finds a different language after every 200 km, a single formula for the whole country would be disastrous.
“Languages should be state specific. Every state has its own language or languages. You cannot curb or kill local languages. You have to allow local languages to flourish.”
He said no language should be discriminated against. He said students should be allowed to learn in the mother tongue along with English or Hindi.
Khan considers the three-language formula ideal but wants the mother tongue to be given importance as first language.
“Mother tongues are slowly dying. Urdu is a classic example. We need to address that. Everybody should be consulted and everybody’s apprehension be addressed.”
The TRS spokesman pointed out that the draft educational policy was not circulated to stakeholders.
“It has only been drafted and opinions and responses have not been invited from stakeholders. The government should hold state and district level meetings to discuss the policy and state specific recommendations should be accepted,” said Khan.