On 9 August 2020, DMK MP Kanimozhi took to twitter to narrate an incident against the Central Industrial Security Force. The parliamentarian stated that a CISF officer at the Chennai Airport asked her to talk either in Hindi or English. The incident happened when she was at the airport to take a flight to the capital city.
Kanimozhi who is also the DMK’s women’s wing secretary tweeted, “Today at the airport a CISF officer asked me if “I am an Indian” when I asked her to speak to me in Tamil or English as I did not know Hindi. I would like to know from when being Indian is equal to knowing Hindi.”
She also made use of #hindiimposition which started trending soon.
Following this CISF ordered and enquiry and tried to get the details from the concerned MP.
Support poured in from the Indian National Congress. Senior leader P. Chidambaram tweeted that “I have experienced similar taunts from government officers and ordinary citizens who insisted that I speak in Hindi”. He also commented that this kind of behaviour was not unusual.
Prior to this incident, the release of the National Education Policy and it’s three language policy has also caused discontent among the state-level political parties especially the DMK.
LANGUAGE BARRIERS, IMPOSITION OF HINDI AND DELHI UNIVERSITY
The issue of discrimination or calling non-Hindi speakers ‘not Indians’ is not new for many outstation students at Delhi University.
As much as they have problems in navigating the city and conducting daily chores there are other issues as well. There is a sense of alienation many of them feel within the campus as well. Most of their classmates do not switch to a language they understand while conversing and they feel left out. Many teachers explain concepts in Hindi and ask them to ‘try’ to understand. Even the compulsory test in Hindi for non-Hindi speakers has been seen as an imposition of the language. The list goes on. There are an unlimited amount of issues and stigma attached to not being able to make use of Hindi in common parlance.
Many such trivial issues go unnoticed till the time a similar row emerges. Such behaviour is a common occurrence in the ‘Hindi belt’. It is shocking to hear of similar instances in places like Chennai. A city whose politics has always revolved around its language.