File photo: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami. Photograph:( PTI )
In recent days, the Tamil Nadu government has been drawing flak from opposition parties for not having opposed the NEP, which makes a mention of three-language policy.
The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami has said that the state has rejected the three-language policy that was proposed as per the New Education Policy 2020, adding that he requests the Prime Minister to consider Tamil sentiments and allow states to pursue their own language policy as per the states’ respective ideology.
“It is worrisome and painful that the NEP makes a mention of three-language policy, but the people of Tamil Nadu and all the major political parties prefer carrying forward the two-langauge policy” the statement mentioned.
Making a mention of the first Dravidian party leader CN Annadurai who was elected chief minister, the statement talks about how Anna had announced in the state assembly, in 1968, that Tamil Nadu would follow only the two-language policy.
It also refers to AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran, who as chief minister had passed an assembly resolution, in 1986 that talks about reinforcing the two-language policy. Likewise, former chief minister late Jayalaltihaa too had said that Hindi must not be imposed on non-Hindi speaking states and that such attempts would be opposed and defeated.
It must be noted that Tamil Nadu saw widespread agitations in 1965 when the then Congress state government had attempted to make Hindi the state’s official language.
“When the NEP was in draft stage I had written to PM Modi (in June 2019) on Tamil Nadu preferring to continue with the existing two-language policy. I had emphasized the same in my Independence Day speech and also several Aseebmly debate sessions” Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said in a statement.
In recent days, the Tamil Nadu government has been drawing flak from opposition parties for not having opposed the NEP, which makes a mention of three-language policy. This is given that, Tamil Nadu has been following the two-language (English-Tamil) policy for decades, though the three-language policy leaves it to states to decide on what that language would be.
On Sunday, Union education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said that the Centre will not impose any language on any state. The clarification was made through a tweet in Tamil, given the opposition to NEP in Tamil Nadu on the grounds that the policy allegedly imposed Hindi and Sanskrit.
It is needless to say that the issue of Hindi imposition is viewed very seriously in Tamil Nadu for several decades. The Dravidian political movement and all its leaders have also been staunch about protecting Tamil sentiments and identity. With an election impending in 2021, the ruling party is treading carefully by opposing the three language policy one on hand while balancing an alliance with the ruling BJP on the other.