Vajpayee, Are You Ignorant?

A. P. Thangamani

TAMIL TRIBUNE, May 2000 (2000-05-01)

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Definitions:

Hindians - People whose mother tongue is Hindi (similar to Tamil speakers are sometimes referred as Tamilans or Tamilians).

Abbreviations:

BJP - Bharatiya Janata Party

DMK - Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam

Outline

  1. Preface
  2. Lies about Tamil Nadu's Opposition to Hindi Imposition
  3. Why Vajpayee is Ignorant?
  4. Why are Tamil Leaders Silent?

1. Preface

Calling the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Vajpayee, "ignorant " may sound harsh and brash but he continues to make false statements about the history of Tamil Nadu. He is either a liar who knowingly distorts the history of Tamil Nadu or he is ignorant making statements without checking facts. I give him the benefit of the doubt and call him an ignorant rather than a lying scoundrel.

2. Lies about Tamil Nadu's Opposition to Hindi Imposition

In 1998 Vajpayee claimed that former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK General-Secretary C. N. Annadurai did not oppose making Hindi the official language of India. K. Chezhian demolished that statement and exposed the utter falsehood of it in his article, "Vajpayee's Big Lie about Annadurai and Hindi" (TAMIL TRIBUNE, January 2000).

In February 2000 Vajpayee uttered yet another lie about Tamil Nadu's opposition to Hindi imposition. He said, "If Hindi were announced the official language of India immediately after the British left, there would have been no opposition to Hindi". The fact of the matter is, people of Tamil Nadu opposed Hindi becoming the official language of India even before the British left India on August 15, 1947. Here is an excerpt from an article that appeared in TAMIL TRIBUNE:

"Hindi imposition in Tamil Nadu started in 1937 when the Congress Government of the Madras Presidency (this included much of present Tamil Nadu and parts of present Andhra Pradesh) under C. Rajagopalachari (Rajaji) made Hindi a compulsory subject in schools. (The British were still the rulers of the Indian subcontinent at that time but elected local governments in the Provinces were installed under the British rule.) Tamils opposed Hindi imposition immediately and Sir A. D. Panneerselvam and E.V. Ramaswamy (he would later be known as Periyar or "the great one") organized anti-Hindi imposition protests in 1938. Two of the arrested protesters, Thalamuthu and Natarajan, died in prison in January 1939. These were the first deaths relating to anti-Hindi agitations. There would be many more, in much bloodier circumstances due to police and army shootings, in the years to come." (Excerpted from "Hindi Imposition and Independence for Tamil Nadu" (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, December 1999)

You see, Prime Minister Vajpayee, Tamil people are opposing Hindi imposition well before the British left the Indian subcontinent. Now do you see the stupidity of your statement?

3. Why Vajpayee is Ignorant?

Vajpayee's ignorance of the history of Tamil Nadu is understandable. He is a Hindian and hails from a Hindi speaking state. There they do not teach the history of Tamil Nadu or most other non-Hindi states. The Indian history taught in their schools is Hindian-centered Indian history. Students in Tamil Nadu learn about the past emperors, kingdoms and freedom fighters from Hindi belt as part of Indian history but Hindians do not learn anything about Tamil Nadu in their schools. So an average Hindian comes out of school knowing very little about Tamil Nadu or other southern states. Thus Mr. Vajpayee might not have learned anything about Tamil Nadu at school. But it does not excuse him from making ignorant, idiotic statements about our feelings about Hindi imposition. He is the Prime Minister of India now. He should ask his assistants to research the subject and brief him before he says something in public. May be Prime Minister Vajpayee thinks that Tamil people's feeling do not count and he can say anything about them!

4. Why are Tamil Leaders Silent?

Why didn't Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi issue a statement exposing Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee's lies about Tamil Nadu's opposition to Hindi imposition? Annadurai was the founder of DMK and, in many ways, Karunanidhi's political mentor. Doesn't Karunanidhi have a solemn duty and obligation to the dead leader to correct Vajpayee's lie about Annadurai's stand on Hindi as well as Tamil Nadu's opposition to Hindi well before the British left the Indian subcontinent? What happened to the magazines that the DMK publish and the Cable TV Service that Karunanidhi family owns? Why didn't they expose Vajpayee's lie about their dead leader Annadurai? May be the great anti-Hindi champion Karunanihi and his DMK is silent because he is now allied with Vajpayee and the BJP, and want to hang on to power as long as he can, rather than rattle the apple cart by exposing calling out Vajpayee's lies.

We cannot rely on these selfish Tamil political leaders to restrain or end Hindian domination and hegemony over Tamil Nadu. We must seek other alternatives.

RELATED ARTICLE:

Vajpayee's Big Lie about Hindi and Annadurai (by K. Chezhian), TAMIL TRIBUNE, January 2000 (16 KB)

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