190805 Amit Shah
Amit Shah Image Credit: PTI

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday slammed Union Home Minister Amit Shah for saying that the whole of India should know Hindi.

Shah had in a series of tweets on Saturday said: “India has many languages and every language has its importance. But it is absolutely necessary that the entire country should have one language that becomes India’s identity globally.”

The Kerala Chief Minister, in a Facebook post, said that despite protests erupting in many places on the issue, Shah was not prepared to withdraw from the “Hindi agenda”, which show that the Sangh Parivar was getting ready to open a new “agitational platform”.

However, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan welcomed the move.

“A language inspires and unites people. Let us strengthen our unity through Hindi, our national language. Along with our mother tongue, let us use Hindi in our work”, he tweeted on the occasion of Hindi Divas on Saturday.

Responding to Shah, Vijayan said: “The claim that Hindi unifies our country is absurd. That language is not the mother tongue of a majority of Indians. The move to impose Hindi on them amounts to enslaving them. The Union Minister’s statement is a war cry against the mother tongues of non-Hindi speaking people.”

The Chief Minister said people in the Southern, Western and Eastern parts of the country do not speak Hindi and to make it the primary language in these areas amounted to rejecting their mother tongues.

No Indian should feel alienated because of language, he said and pointed out that India’s strength lies in its ability to embrace diversity.

Vijayan demanded that the Sangh Parivar relinquish its ‘divisive’ policies and said they should realise that people can see through the ‘ploy’ to divert attention from real problems.

“Hindi is being spoken by crores [millions] of people and that has been recognised generally. In the name of language, there are no issues in the country now. And if one is unable to speak in Hindi, he/she need not feel that they are not an Indian national,” Vijayan said.

Hitting out at the BJP, senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala said the attempt was to create divisions in society on the basis of language.

KPCC President Mullapally Ramachandran also lashed out at Shah’s one nation one language theory, saying it would divide the country along linguistic lines.

The BJP should draw lessons from the protests in Tamil Nadu in 1967 against imposition of Hindi, he said.

CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said the RSS agenda of ‘imposing’ one language and one culture by decimating the country’s rich culture was now being revealed through Amit Shah’s words.