Amid Centre's mega plan to push Hindi as the national language of India, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Monday stressed on the importance of Kannada in the southern state of the country, adding that the his government is further committed to promote the Dravidian language and its culture. The statement comes on the heels of Union Home Minister Amit Shah's pitch for Hindi as a common link language across India.
Taking to Twitter, Yediyurappa said, "All official languages in our country are equal. However, as far as Karnataka is concerned, Kannada is the principal language. We will never compromise its importance and are committed to promote Kannada and our state's culture".
All official languages in our country are equal. However, as far as Karnataka is concerned, #Kannada is the principal language. We will never compromise its importance and are committed to promote Kannada and our state's culture.— CM of Karnataka (@CMofKarnataka) September 16, 2019
On the occasion of Hindi Diwas on Saturday, Shah had pitched for Hindi as a common language for the country, reigniting the debate on the issue as political leaders and parties in the South said they would oppose any attempt to "impose" the language.
The home minister said it was Hindi which is spoken the most and can unite the country. "While diversity in languages is India's strength, a national language is needed so that foreign languages and cultures do not overpower the country's own," he stated.
With this, Veteran leaders such as Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) president MK Stalin and former Karnataka chief ministers Siddaramaiah and HD Kumaraswamy raised protest voices against Centre's attempt to impose Hindi forcefully all over the country.
DMK chief MK Stalin accused the Centre of "autocratic imposition of Hindi" and underscored the need for unity in opposition ranks to take forward protest against the government on such issues. Congress too had cautioned the Saffron fold against stirring up "emotive" issues "settled" by those who framed the Constitution.
Reacting to Shah's remark, AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi reminded him that Hindi isn't every Indian's "mother tongue". "Could you try appreciating the diversity and beauty of the many mother tongues that dot this land? Article 29 gives every Indian the right to a distinct language, script and culture," he tweeted.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan termed Shah's Hindi language pitch as a 'war cry' against the mother tongue of non-Hindi speaking people. Vijayan alleged that it was a "planned attempt" by the Centre to stir up a controversy and divert attention from pressing problems in the country.
In the wake of this raging debate, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also called upon the people of the state, asking them to respect all languages and cultures but not at the cost of their mother tongue.