The Day a Hindi Chauvinist was dragged out of the Closet

P. Kumaresan

TAMIL TRIBUNE, October 1997 (ID. 1997-10-02)
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Hindi, Hindi everywhere! You turn on the radio, you hear Hindi news, Hindi songs! You turn on the television, you see Hindi movies, Hindi serials, Hindi news! You fly Indian government owned Air India, you hear Hindi announcements, even if the fight is between Madurai and Chennai - two cities within the non-Hindi speaking Tamil Nadu. Go to the railway station, you see Hindi signs everywhere, even in rural Tamil Nadu, even if not a single person in that area (except for the station manager) can read them.

"Out with English! It is the relic of the British rule" cry the Hindi politicians to the masses. One such politician is the former Chief Minister of the Hindi-speaking State of Uttar Predesh, Mulayam Singh Yadav. He championed the cause of Hindi and led a holy jihad against English. "English should be ousted from offices and schools. Hindi, and Hindi only", he shouted at public meetings. He sent correspondence in Hindi to other state chief ministers, even to chief ministers of non-Hindi speaking states.

In December 1989 he declared that he would not look at any non-Hindi document sent to his office. The English-medium schools in Uttar Pradesh drew his wrath. In his venomous public addresses he said that these schools produced "corrupt and dishonest citizens" and that they should be closed.

Taking the cue from the chief minister, mobs attacked English-medium schools and tried to forcibly close them on January 22, 1990. They said that the chief minister inspired them to act. The chief minister did not say a word against these blatantly unlawful acts of hooliganism.

Then came a shocker. A few months later he gave an interview to one of the most respected publications in the country, The Illustrated Weekly of India. The interviewer asked the chief minister if it was true that his son goes to an English-medium school. Caught in his duplicity, Yadav answered, "yes, I decided to send him to one because they make you a disciplined, selfless patriot". [This is the man who shouted from platform to platform in public meetings that English-medium schools produce "corrupt and dishonest citizens". What a hypocrite!] When he was on verbal rampages against English-medium schools, never once did he mention that he was sending his son to an English-medium school.

When Tamil politicians oppose the imposition of Hindi and want English to be the official language of India, these Hindi politicians would say, "Are you not ashamed to have English, the symbol of our slavery under British rule, as the official language? Don't you have any national pride?" But they will be secretly sending their children to study in the language that they say is a reminder of our slavery to the British.


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