Discrimination of Tamil Nadu in India

A DEBATE

Is Tamil Nadu Discriminated in India?

No: Vasudevan
Yes: Thanjai Nalankilli

TAMIL TRIBUNE, February 2003 (ID. 2003-02-01)
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EDITOR's NOTE: We received an e-mail from Mr. Vasudevan about the article "Why Independence (Freedom) for Tamil Nadu from Indian Rule? [Reference 1], arguing that the Indian Government is not discriminating against TamilNadu. We forwarded the e-mail to the author of the article, Mr. Thanjai Nalankilli, and received his response. We are publishing here Vasudevan's arguments and Thanjai Nalankilli's point-by-point response.

A NOTE FROM THANJAI NALANKILLI: Though I discuss the discrimination of Tamil Nadu in this debate, many other non-Hindi states are also discriminated economically and culturally by the Hindian dominated Indian Government. Independence movements is such diverse non-Hindi regions as Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, etc. are the direct result of this discrimination.

ABBREVIATIONS

AIADMK - All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam

CISF - Central Industrial Security Force 

DMK - Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam

IT - Information Technology

DEFINITION

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

1.

VASUDEVAN:

I read the article "Why Independence (Freedom) for Tamil Nadu from Indian Rule?" [Reference 1]. On the face of it let me tell you that it is peppered with a lot of lies. Though I agree that Hindi imposition existed in the past now it is not as much an issue. Tamil Nadu is now ruled by Dravidian parties who are sensitive to the needs of Tamil Nadu.

THANJAI NALANKILLI:

1.1.

You start your letter saying that my article is "peppered with a lot of lies". But you do not point to a single lie, because there is no lie in my article. You can disagree with my points of view but you cannot show a single factual error in my article. All factual information presented there are true. I challenge you to point out any false information. I will remove it.

1.2.

In the next sentence you say, "Hindi imposition existed in the past". The implication is that Hindi imposition existed in the past but that it does not exist today. You are wrong. Hindi imposition continues. It has been discussed in a number of articles Of particular interest are the articles, "Government of India's Hindi Imposition Agenda for 2002-2003" [Reference 2] and "Doctor, Learn Hindi or You are Fired!" [Reference 3]. More information about Hindi imposition may be found in "Tamil Nadu and Hindi Imposition" [Reference 4]. When a non-Hindi employee of the Indian Government is forced to attend Hindi classes, that is Hindi imposition. When non-Hindi employees of the Indian Government are denied promotions and salary increments because they did not pass Hindi examinations, that is Hindi imposition. Hindi imposition does not necessarily mean someone putting a knife to your throat and saying, "If you don't learn Hindi, I will cut your throat". Economic punishments (denying salary increments or promotions) to force one to learn Hindi is also Hindi imposition.

Let me make one point perfectly clear. A Tamil employee working in a Hindi state must learn Hindi. We have no problem with that. But, why should a Tamil employee working at a Indian Government office in Tamil Nadu be forced to learn Hindi? By the way, it seems that Hindians working at Indian Government offices in Tamil Nadu need not necessarily have to learn Tamil. There was an incidence at Trichi Airport (Thiruchi Airport) in November 2002. A Hindian policeman from Indian Government's Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) making security check on a Tamil woman put his hands at inappropriate places and molested her. She, her female friend and her husband objected and the Hindian replied in Hindi. It seems that even Hindians who work in Tamil Nadu and interact with Tamil people on a daily basis need not have to learn Tamil. One more point. As far as we know, this Hindian was not punished. You may also want to read the article, "Indian Soldiers on a Rape Spree in Tamil Nadu" [Reference 5]. Several instances of Hindian soldiers attempting to rape Tamil women and not getting punished is discussed.

1.3.

Last sentence of your first paragraph is, "Tamil Nadu is now ruled by Dravidian parties who are sensitive to the needs of Tamil Nadu." Yes, Tamil Nadu State is ruled by "Dravidian parties" [Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK)] since 1967. Yes, these parties have their root in Tamil Nadu and are sensitive to the needs and feelings of the people of Tamil Nadu. But they have no power to stop Hindi imposition. Every Tamil Nadu Chief Minister since 1967, namely, C. N. Annadurai (DMK), M. Karunanidhi (DMK), M. G. Ramachandran (AIADMK), Jayalalithaa Jeyaram (AIADMK) and Panneerselvam (AIADMK), have spoken up against Hindi imposition. They fell into the deaf ears of the Hindian politicians who dominate the Indian Parliament and thus control the Indian Government. Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly has passed a resolution against Hindi imposition. It had no effect on the Indian Government.

In short, people of Tamil Nadu, Tamil politicians, elected representatives from Tamil Nadu and Tamil Nadu State Government cannot do anything to stop Hindi imposition, as long as Tamil Nadu is a part of India. So the only solution to end Hindi imposition in Tamil Nadu is for Tamil Nadu to become an independent country [see Sections 4 and 6 of Reference 11]. Independence for Tamil Nadu would also stop the transfer of taxes from Tamil Nadu to Hindi states, and thus improve the living conditions and standard of living in Tamil Nadu  (this is discussed further in Sections 2.1 - 2.4). So Tamil Nationalists' call for independence is not merely based on opposition to Hindi imposition; far from it, economic benefits of independence are an important consideration.

Since 1950, billions of Rupees have been transferred from Tamil Nadu to Hindi states. The amount of money taken out of Tamil Nadu to Hindi states is tens of times more than the amount of money taken out of Tamil Nadu to England during the British rule. Independence for Tamil Nadu will put an end to it.

2.

VASUDEVAN:

I also do not agree that TamilNadu is the poorest state in India. That's far from the truth. Tamil Nadu is currently a leader in many major industries and people from Tamil Nadu have risen to eminent positions based on their skills. Right from Dr. Abdul Kalam to P.Chidambaram we have people achieving great things in our country (India).

The field of Information Technology (IT) is dominated by Tamils more than anyone else and has given prosperity to hundreds of poor students who work hard.

THANJAI NALANKILLI:

2.1.

You write, "I also do not agree that TamilNadu is the poorest state in India. That's far from the truth." Nowhere did I say that Tamil Nadu is the poorest state in India. (Show me where I said it.) Here are the facts. TamilNadu has one of the highest unemployment rates in rural areas. Rural population under poverty level is very high (according to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister's letter to the Indian Prime Minister in March 2002). According to economists, Tamil Nadu would have a standard of living comparable to Malaysia and Singapore if it had become an independent country when the British left the Indian Subcontinent. The reason why Tamil Nadu did not reach that level of prosperity is Indian Government's discriminatory economic policies and transfer of wealth from Tamil Nadu (and some other non-Hindi states like Punjab) to Hindi states by a number of direct and indirect means. (See Reference 6; it discusses some of the methods of transferring wealth from Tamil Nadu to Hindi states). As I said in Section 1.3,  billions of Rupees have been transferred from Tamil Nadu to Hindi states since 1950. The amount of money taken out of Tamil Nadu to Hindi states is tens of times more than the amount of money taken out of Tamil Nadu to England during the British rule.

2.2.

You say, "The field of Information Technology (IT) is dominated by Tamils more than anyone else and has given prosperity to hundreds of poor students who work hard." I agree that Tamil Nadu has made great strides in the field of information technology. Foreign companies want to work with Tamil Nadu companies. They also hire Tamil computer and software professionals. Tamil professionals bring to India foreign currency (foreign exchange) by their sweat and labor. Why is then Tamil Nadu in a fiscal crisis? According to both the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and the Finance Minister, Tamil Nadu State is in a fiscal crisis because of Indian Government actions and that many projects to help farmers (irrigation projects) and programs to generate employment to the millions of unemployed people have to be cancelled because of this. Road construction, maintenance and other such infrastructure projects in urban areas also have to be suspended or cancelled.

At a time when Tamil Nadu's information technology industry is generating wealth and tax revenues, why is this fiscal crunch? Reason: Indian Government taxes these businesses and software professionals, and transfers part of those taxes to Hindi states by way of discriminatory allocation of central government grants and fiscal aid. Why should we subsidize Hindi states year after year? If Tamil Nadu were an independent country, the wealth generated by our information technology industry could be used to help the unemployed rural poor as well as to improve the standard of living of the professionals who generate this wealth. It is true that computer and software industry professional earn comparatively decent wages. Remember this. If Tamil Nadu were an independent country, our skilled professionals would have a standard of living comparable to professionals in Malaysia and Singapore. That level of standard of living is denied to them because we are under the step-motherly rule of the Indian Government.

To put it succinctly, if Tamil Nadu were an independent country, people at all levels of economic strata, business owners, business managers, professionals, factory workers and farmers, would enjoy a better standard of living. Those working in the information technology and computer industry in Tamil Nadu may want to read the article "Indian Government Chokes Software Industry in Tamil Nadu" [Reference 13] about how Indian Government action or inaction is blunting the rapid growth of information technology industry in Tamil Nadu and thus reducing better job opportunities.

2.3.

Let me tell you a little story. There were two brothers. They lived in the same family house. They put their salaries in a common bank account and withdrew funds as needed. The older brother was lazy, performed poorly at work and stagnated. The younger brother worked hard, got promotion after promotion and salary increases. Although he earned a very good salary, his standard of living and that of his wife and children improved only a little, not much, because the lazy older brother and his family was a drain on the common bank account; they were spending more than their income.  The younger brother's friends wondered why his children were dressing poorly and look not well nourished in spite of his hard work and good salary. This is the situation with Tamil Nadu and Hindi states. People of Tamil Nadu are not reaping the full benefits of their hard work. It is time that Tamil Nadu becomes an independent country. We cannot allow Hindi states to drain our wealth. May be, after our independence, we will give some foreign aid to the Hindi country. But it would be our voluntary decision.

2.4.

You write, "People from Tamil Nadu have risen to eminent positions based on their skills. Right from Dr. Abdul Kalam to P.Chidambaram we have people achieving great things in our country (India)." True. So what? What has it to do with whether Tamil Nadu is economically discriminated or not? During the British rule over the Indian Subcontinent, Sir C. V. Raman received the Nobel Prize and held high-level positions. Dr. S. Radhakrishnan was an internationally acclaimed philosopher. If we were to follow your logic, then Gandhi was a fool to fight against British rule. Is that what you are saying?

You should not look at some individuals and say that they have achieved great things under British rule or Hindian rule and so it is all right to be enslaved. You should look at society as a whole as well as individual stratum of the society. If Tamil Nadu were an independent country people at all levels of economic strata, from factory workers to farmers, from textile workers to technology professionals, from small business owners to software engineers, from industrialists to information technology specialists, would enjoy a better standard of living. This is because wealth generated by our sweat and labor would stay within Tamil Nadu, generating better educational facilities, further employment, higher salaries, more entrepreneurial opportunities and a higher standard of living. Now the lion's share of our taxes are taken out of Tamil Nadu and spent within the Hindi region. Former Chief Minister C. N. Annadurai used to say, "North flourishes and south languishes". (By north, Annadurai war refereeing to the Hindi belt region in the north.)

3.


VASUDEVAN:


Language is one minor issue and should be the personal choice of individuals to learn or not. No one should be forced to learn anything against his/her will. It was fought in the past and it would be fought in the future too. But this fight need not be violent and anti-Indian. India is far bigger than just speaking Hindi or the Hindi heartland.

THANJAI NALANKILLI:

3.1.

Language is not a minor issue. Learning Hindi or any language takes time and effort. That time is taken out of time better spent on learning mathematics or science. We have to learn Tamil to communicate with fellow Tamils. It is our heritage, it is our mother tongue. We also need English to communicate internationally. There is no need for yet one more language Hindi, unless you want to work in a Hindi state (in the same way you would learn Assamese if you want to work in Assam or French if you want to work in France). Only reason we have to learn Hindi is because we are ruled by the Hindian dominated Indian Government. People of Bangladesh do not learn Hindi because they are not ruled by Hindians. People of Sri Lanka do not learn Hindi because they are not ruled by Hindians. People of Tamil Nadu have to learn Hindi because Tamil Nadu is under Hindian rule. As I said before, if a Tamil goes and works in a Hindi state, he/she should learn the language of the people. Why should I learn Hindi to work at the branch office of the Indian Government controlled State Bank in Chennai or Madurai? That is Hindian arrogance of power!

3.2.

You write, "No one should be forced to learn anything against their will." That is exactly what is happening. Tamil employees of the Indian Government and Indian Government undertakings such as the nationalized banks, railways, Life Insurance Corporation, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, etc. are FORCED to learn Hindi. Attending Hindi classes are compulsory. If they do not pass the required Hindi examinations their salary increments are withheld however good their performance at work is [References 2, 3]. It may be a "minor issue" to you but it is a major issue for the affected employees. A Hindian does not have to study a language and pass an examination because it is Hindian country!

Even if you learn Hindi, you are at a disadvantage compared to Hindians because it is their mother tongue. Are Hindians willing to compete against us in Tamil? This is the reason for the drop in the number of successful candidates in Indian Government public service examinations from southern India.

Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister C. N. Annadurai hit it right on target when he said to a huge crowd at the Chennai Marina (Madras Marina) on April 29, 1963, "If Hindi were to become the official language of India, Hindi-speaking people will govern us. We will be treated like third rate citizens". Further, when asked why he burnt the Constitution of India, he told the court on December 3, 1963, "Making a language that is the mother tongue of a region of India the official language for all the people of India is tyranny. We believe that it will give benefits and superiority to one region".

3.3.

You say, "India is far bigger than just speaking Hindi or the Hindi heartland." If Hindian politicians think that India is far bigger than just speaking Hindi or the Hindi heartland, we would not have a problem. Hindians run India as if it is Hindia. Hindi language and culture are imposed by every means and power available to the Indian Government. Hindi states are favoured in the granting of financial grants [see for example, Reference 7]. Everything from sales tax structure to import and excise taxes to food subsidies are formulated to favor the Hindi region [Reference 8-10]. It is this discriminatory treatment of many non-Hindi states that is at the root of discontent in states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal and armed independence wars in Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Punjab, Tripura, etc.

3.4.

You write, "Hindi imposition was fought in the past and it would be fought in the future too." Yes, we are fighting Hindi imposition for 65 years now [Reference 11]. Such stalwarts as Periyar E. V. Ramaswamy, C. N. Annadurai, Somasundara Bharathiyar and Maraimalai Adigalar have fought it to no avail. Indian Government strategy is to back down a little if the opposition is strong and again climb up in a couple of years. In 1965 the whole world stood in awe at the massive protest against Hindi imposition (even the United Nations took note of it). Instead of listening to the concerns of the Tamil people, the Indian Government sent the army and security forces to crush the protest brutally. Indian army and security forces shot and killed more than 60 unarmed Tamil civilians and maimed or injured many more in a mere two week period. Did Hindi imposition stop? No. Hindi imposition continued and continues [Reference 2, 3]. There is more than ten-fold increase in Hindi usage in Indian Government offices in Tamil Nadu today than in 1965. There is more intimidation and pressure on Tamil employees of the Indian Government to learn Hindi than in 1965.

You say, "It (Hindi imposition) would be fought in the future too." Why should we spend our energy in fighting Hindi imposition year after year? It is not stopping Hindi imposition. Sixty-five years of anti-Hindi protests is enough. Tamil Nationalists have no more interest in fighting Hindi imposition [see Section 4 of Reference 11]. That time is gone. We have moved to the next stage. We have realized that Hindi imposition cannot be stopped as long as Tamil Nadu is part of India. Only way to stop Hindi imposition is for Tamil Nadu to become free [Reference 12]. I am urging all Tamils not to engage in futile anti-Hindi imposition activities. Instead channel your energies towards independence for Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nationalists are under no illusion that it would be an easy thing. But we have no other alternative but to fight for it and win it. We WILL win. That is historical inevitability. History is full of examples of underdogs winning if they persist long enough and fight hard enough.

Independent Tamil Nadu is our Birthright!
We will ask for it!
We will fight for it!
We will achieve it!

REFERENCES

1.  Why Independence (Freedom) for Tamil Nadu from Indian Rule? (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, April 1999

2.  Government of India's Hindi Imposition Agenda for 2002-2003 (by M. T.), TAMIL TRIBUNE, May 2002

3.  Doctor, Learn Hindi or You are Fired! (by K. N. Nair), TAMIL TRIBUNE, August 2002

4.  Hindi, India and Tamil Nadu (Compilation of Articles)

5.  Indian Soldiers on a Rape Spree in Tamil Nadu (by Usha Ramanathan), TAMIL TRIBUNE, October 1998

6. Economy, Finances, Budget, Taxes, Industries and Standard of Living in Tamil Nadu State (Compilation of Articles)

7.  Indian Economy and Finances: A Case Study of Economic Favouritism to Hindi States (by P. Ramamurthy and Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, November 2002 (18 KB)

8.  Indian Government Interferes in State Sales Tax (by V. P. Govindarajan), TAMIL TRIBUNE, March 2000

9.  Kerala's Coconut Farmers and Tamil Nadu's Textile Workers are starved to Enrich Hindian Businesses (by Lalitha Krishnan Nair), TAMIL TRIBUNE, July 2001

10. Rice, Wheat and Hindi (by T. Ranganathan), TAMIL TRIBUNE, April 1999

11. A Chronology of Anti-Hindi Agitations in Tamil Nadu and What the Future Holds (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, January 2003 (33 KB)

12. Hindi Imposition and Independence for Tamil Nadu (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, December 1999

13. Indian Government Chokes Software Industry in Tamil Nadu (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, March 2001

14. Who Rules India? (Part I) (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, November 2000

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