Hindi and Members of Parliament

Hindi in Parliament

P. Unny

TAMIL TRIBUNE, May 2008 (ID. 2008-05-01)
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AIADMK - All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam

MP - Member of Parliament

On November 22, 2007, AIADMK Member of Parliament from Tamil Nadu Dr. V. Maitreyan started speaking in Tamil. Non-Tamil members of parliament (MPs) could not understand it because there was no one to translate Dr. Maitreyan's speech to Hindi and English as was required by parliamentary procedures. After some shouting from Tamilnadu MPs for lack of translation, Dr. Maitreyan spoke in English and it was translated to Hindi for the benefit of Hindi speaking MPs.

On November 27, 2007, another AIADMK Member of Parliament from Tamil Nadu Dr. K. Malaisamy spoke in Tamil. Mr. Santosh Bagrodia who was chairing the parliament (upper house, Rajya Sabha) told Dr. Malaisamy that he could not speak in Tamil because he did not obtain prior permission to speak in Tamil (Hindi MPs can speak in their mother tongue without any prior permission.) Even if Dr. Malaisamy had obtained prior permission, no non-Tamil MP would have understood it because there was no one to translate it from Tamil to Hindi and English.

In fact both Dr. Maithreyan and Dr. Malaisamy chose to speak in Tamil because they wanted to dramatically bring out the point that the position of Tamil translator was vacant for 11 months. Telugu translator position was also vacant. Indian Government's explanation was that it had placed advertisements and no one had applied. Why was no one applying? Because it was a part-time position. Not many people would go to an expensive city like New Delhi for a part-time position. Indian government employs many full time Hindi-English translators in parliament but when it comes to non-Hindi languages it suddenly becomes stingy and wants to hire only part-time translators. All languages should be equal in parliament. If a Hindi MP can speak in Hindi whenever he/she wants without prior notice and permission from the speaker, why should non-Hindi MPs have to give prior notice and get permission to speak in their mother tongue? Why this second class status for non-Hindi languages? The problem can be easily rectified by hiring full time translators for all languages (in the same way there are several full time translators for Hindi); these translators would then be available to translate whenever an MP wants to speak in his/her mother tongue. When it comes to Hindi money is no object, when it comes to other languages, Indian Government wants to cut every Rupee.


1. An Additional Special Privilege for Hindi Speaking Members of the Indian Parliament (by P. Unny), TAMIL TRIBUNE, December 2003 (8 KB)

2. Archived articles on Opposition to Hindi Imposition in India (OR Search the internet with the following key words: Hindi imposition India Thanjai Nalankilli )

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