Hindi Imposition and Independence for Tamil Nadu from India

Hindi Imposition and Independence for Tamil Nadu

Thanjai Nalankilli

TAMIL TRIBUNE, December 1999 (ID.1999-12-02)
Minor Update: August 2002
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Definitions:

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

Abbreviations

DK - Dravidar Kazhagam

DMK - Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam

LIC - Life Insurance Corporation

UN - United Nations

OUTLINE

1. Introduction

2. Anti-Hindi Agitation in Tamil Nadu

3. Anti-Hindi Agitation turns to Independence Demand

4. Hindi Imposition is here to Stay

5. Have Tamils Lost the Battle against Hindi Imposition?

6. What can Tamils do?

1. Introduction

Hindi imposition, more than anything else, symbolizes the Hindian rule over Tamil Nadu. There are very few Tamils who would voluntarily accept Hindi as the official or national language of India; studying Hindi is not an indication of accepting Hindi, it is rather an indication that one has to know Hindi in order to get or hold Indian government jobs even within Tamil Nadu. Virtually all Tamils want Hindi imposition stopped and the preferential treatment given to Hindi over Tamil and other languages ended.

2. Anti-Hindi Agitation in Tamil Nadu

Hindi imposition in Tamil Nadu started in 1937 when the Congress Government of the Madras Presidency 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. Madras Presidency was a province that included much of present Tamil Nadu and parts of present Andhra Pradesh.) 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.

The 1940s, 50s and the first half of the 1960s saw many anti-Hindi imposition protests in the form of public meetings, marches, hunger strikes, demonstrations before schools and Indian government offices, and black flag demonstrations before visiting Indian government ministers. Most of these were organized either by the DK or the DMK, and the general public supported them fully. There were several hundred such protests around Tamil Nadu and several thousand people went to jail. Several hundreds were injured when police used lathi charge (charge with wooden sticks) to disburse peaceful protesters. 

Things came to a boil in January-February 1965 and the events showed the pent-up frustration and anger of the Tamil public against Hindi imposition. Unlike most of the previous demonstrations, these were NOT organized by DK, DMK or any other political party. These events started with the strikes organized by Tamil Nadu Students Anti-Hindi Agitation Council on January 25 and 26, 1965. The public at large rose up against Hindi imposition across party lines, caste differences, religious divides and economic-social strata. The mass popular swell of opposition to Hindi imposition scared the Hindian politicians who dominated and controlled the Indian government. The Indian government put down the agitation brutally befitting any ruthless dictator. Indian security forces massed into Tamil Nadu to crush the peaceful, unarmed agitation shot and killed well over a hundred unarmed Tamils (not a single demonstrator was armed during the agitation) in just one week in February. Thousands more were maimed for life and many more wounded. Indian government's actions were so brutal that even the United Nations (UN) took note of the situation and discussed it; this was one of the rare instances of United Nations discussing the internal situation of a country.

In addition to the killings by Indian security forces, Chinnaswamy, Muthu, Ranganathan, Sarangapani, Sivalingam and Veerappan poured petrol (gasoline) over their bodies and burned themselves to death in protest of Hindi imposition. (Such an act is called self-immolation.) The situation was so volatile, people's feelings against Hindi imposition were so strong that even the presence of large contingents of Indian security forces massed into Tamil Nadu and their ruthless shootings of unarmed demonstrators did not stop the common people (especially students) from continuing with the demonstrations against Hindi imposition. Senior politicians of the ruling Congress Party in Tamil Nadu and in New Delhi promised that Hindi would not be imposed, and the agitation ended in mid-February 1965. But the "promises of no Hindi imposition" made to end the agitation were worth nothing. All the sacrifices Tamils made during the agitation (more than 60 killed and many more injured) did not buy anything but those empty promises. Hindi imposition continued and continues to this day. 

There was another Tamil Nadu Students Agitation against Hindi imposition in 1968. This agitation was minor compared to the 1965 agitation, primarily because the newly elected DMK Government of Tamil Nadu State (that came to power in early 1967) immediately met with student leaders and promised that it would see to it that Hindi is not imposed. This promise amounted to nothing either. There was nothing the state government of Tamil Nadu could do to stop Hindi imposition; the power rested and rests with the Indian government and it is dominated by Hindi politicians. So, in spite of the promises, Hindi imposition continued and continues to this day [Reference 1].

3. Anti-Hindi Agitation turns to Independence Demand

Though the 1968 Tamil Nadu Students Anti-Hindi Agitation was minor, it showed that at least some of the student leaders realized that the only way to end Hindi imposition was independence for Tamil Nadu. During the agitation Coimbatore students raised an "Independent Tamil Nadu Flag" at the V.O.C. Park in the heart of the city. Another group of students met the then Indian Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi at the Chennai Airport (Madras Airport) and handed her a memorandum. It stated that if Hindi imposition continues there would be no other alternative but to demand independence for Tamil Nadu. "The only way out of Hindi imposition is independence for Tamil Nadu" has set in at least some Tamil minds. 

4. Hindi Imposition is here to Stay

There was no popular anti-Hindi agitation after 1968. The brutal suppression of the 1965 agitation by Indian security forces and people's realization that Hindi imposition would continue whatever they did to show their opposition were the reasons. If all the demonstrations, hunger strikes and marches since 1938, and especially the mass uprising of the 1965 agitation, could not stop Hindi imposition, nothing would. If India were really a democracy in spirit, it would have respected the protests of an entire minority population of over 40 million people. Unfortunately this is not a true democracy, but a Hindian fiefdom. Hindians would not rest until everyone under their rule knows Hindi. They use every government machinery to achieve this. Hindi politicians visiting Tamil Nadu lie and lie, promise and promise, that Hindi is not imposed and will not be imposed on Tamil Nadu. But whom are they kidding? Hindi is imposed and will continue to be imposed until the last Tamil is forced to learn Hindi either to get a job or to enjoy a television show after a hard day's work.

5. Have Tamils Lost the Battle against Hindi Imposition?

"As long as Tamil Nadu is part of India, Hindi will be imposed on the Tamil people irrespective of who is in power in New Delhi or who is in power in Tamil Nadu." Chisel these words on a rock and set that rock in front of the Tamil Nadu State Assembly. Whatever promises come from our Dravidian political leaders against Hindi imposition, Hindi imposition continues. These Dravidian political leaders have been opposing Hindi imposition for over 50 years, these same leaders have been in power in Tamil Nadu State for over 30 years, these same leaders are "sharing power" in the Indian Central Government for a decade. Tell me, "Is there more Hindi imposition or less Hindi imposition during all these periods?" At the time these Dravidian leaders came to power in the state in 1967, what percentage of Indian government radio programs in Tamil Nadu were in Hindi and what percentage of Indian government radio-television programs are in Hindi today? Can anyone deny that it is substantially more? How much of the work in Indian government and Indian government controlled agencies like the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) was done in Hindi in 1967 and how much today? Can anyone deny that it is many-fold today? How much taxpayer money was spent for Hindi propagation, imposition and development in 1967 and how much today? Can anyone deny that it has increased multi-fold?

If our Dravidian political leaders could not stop Hindi imposition in all these years, why are we to believe that they would be able to do it in another 10 or 20 or whatever years? 

6. What can Tamils do?

So, all told, have the Tamil people lost their battle against Hindi imposition and Hindian domination? There is a saying, "If you cannot climb the mountain and cross over, tunnel through the mountain or walk around the mountain". We said that we could not stop Hindi imposition as long as Tamil Nadu is part of India? It does not mean that we cannot stop Hindi imposition over Tamil Nadu nor that we have to accept Hindian domination and resign to live as third class citizens. If we cannot stop Hindi imposition as long as Tamil Nadu is part of India, let us cease to be part of India, let us get independence for Tamil Nadu. Independence for Tamil Nadu will not only end Hindi imposition once and forever, that will also end Hindians taking hundreds of millions of rupees every year from Tamil Nadu and using it for the benefit of the Hindi heartland (Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh and some adjacent regions). See my article "Why Independence (Freedom) for Tamil Nadu from Indian Rule?" (TAMIL TRIBUNE, April 1999).

Will getting independence from India be easy? No. Precious things can seldom be acquired easily. The road to freedom could very well be long and tedious (or short and easy under certain geopolitical scenarios inside and outside India). In either case, let us take the first step to go around the Hindian mountain and end Hindi imposition and Hindian domination once and forever. See the article "AN EXCHANGE OF VIEWS: Can Tamil Nadu be freed from Indian Rule?" by R. Damodaran and Thanjai Nalankilli (TAMIL TRIBUNE, July 1998).

A free independent Tamil Nadu is our birthright!

Let us ask for it!

Let us fight for it!

We will achieve it!!

RELATED ARTICLES

Why Independence (Freedom) for Tamil Nadu from Indian Rule? (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, April 1999 (20 KB)

"Even all the Tamil Members of Parliament cannot Stop Hindi Imposition" (by T.M. Rajendran), TAMIL TRIBUNE, January 2002.

AN EXCHANGE OF VIEWS: Can Tamil Nadu be freed from Indian Rule? (NO: R. Damodaran, YES: Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, July 1998.

REFERENCE

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

FIN020802    1999-a1d

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