Tamil Tribune

Indian Prime Minister Praises Tamil and Makes Empty Promises

Thanjai Nalankilli

TAMIL TRIBUNE, March 2006 (ID. 2006-03-02); Updated 2017-01-01
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Speaking at a function in Neyveli, Tamilnadu, on February 4, 2006, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said, "Indian Government is committed to the full development of this great language of a great people."

Oh, what applause he received from the audience! Let us look a little deeper. Is Indian government helping the development of Tamil into a twenty first century language or is it putting roadblocks on the way? Here are two examples from engineering education and law practice.


At considerable expenses of its own, the Tamil Nadu State Government developed the necessary textbooks for teaching engineering at the undergraduate level in Tamil Nadu colleges. It was to be totally optional. Only those who want to study will be admitted to Tamil-medium engineering classes. Others would continue to study in English medium. The Tamil medium courses were to be introduced in 1997 but the All India Council on Engineering (AICE) created by the Indian government refused to give permission. AICE said that it wants to wait until other states also develop engineering programs in their mother languages. Why should Tamil people wait to learn engineering in their mother tongue because some other states have not spent the necessary monies and resources to write textbooks and train professors in their mother tongues? Another "puzzling question" is, at the very same time AICE refused permission for Tamil-medium engineering education as a voluntary option, Indian government pressures its Hindi and non-Hindi engineering and scientific employees in government undertakings such as the Atomic Research Centers and Oil and Gas Commission to make notes in Hindi and encourages them to publish scientific papers in Hindi. Also, Indian Government was giving financial grants to write engineering and scientific books in Hindi. It is a double standard: hold down all other languages but develop Hindi using tax monies of Hindi and non-Hindi speakers. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's speech that Indian government is committed to the full development of Tamil is nothing but empty words. (More details on this example may be found in Reference 1.)

UPDATE: After 13 years from the original request and after considerable and persistent effort of the Tamilnadu government, Tamil was introduced as an optional medium of instruction in some of the engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu in 2010.


Second example. Tamil leaders have been asking the Indian Government to allow the use of Tamil at the Madras High Court. At considerable expense, Tamil Nadu State Government had developed legal terminologies in Tamil and published law books in Tamil. Many Tamil lawyers are eager to use Tamil at the High Court. Indian government refuses to permit Tamil in the Madras High Court in spite of requests for many years. But Hindi-speaking states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh are permitted to use Hindi in their High Courts. Is it not double standard? (By the way, Tamil Nadu spent its own money to develop legal terminologies and textbooks in Tamil. In contrast, it is the Indian government that funds Hindi development; that is, more than three-quarter of the funds for Hindi development come from non-Hindi speakers.)

Indian Government that is dominated by Hindi politicians holds down the development of other languages but spends taxpayer monies lavishly on Hindi. After Hindi is established sufficiently as a scientific and legal language, Indian government would then permit Tamil to be used in engineering colleges and high court. So Tamil and other languages would always lag behind Hindi in spite of their antiquity and richness. This is the Indian government tactic.


1. Indian Government Blocks Tamil Development into the Twenty First Century (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, September 1999.


1. EDITORIAL: Say a Word in Tamil and Listen to the Thunderous Applause from the Crowd (by Inia Pandian), TAMIL TRIBUNE, August 1999.

2. More Articles on Hindi Imposition

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