Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) senior leader and Rajya Sabha MP TKS Elangovan has stirred up a row after he allegedly said Hindi was a language of underdeveloped states and that would make Tamils ​​’shudras’ , a pejorative term used for people considered to belong to the so-called “lower castes”.

“What is Hindi going to do? Hindi will make Shudras of all of us,” he can be heard saying in an undated video from an event in Chennai. HT could not independently verify the authenticity of the video

In the video, he said that Hindi is not the first language of “developed states” such as West Bengal, Odisha, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Pakistan. Gujarat. “The underdeveloped states – Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan – speak Hindi,” he said.

On Monday, Elangovan clarified to the media that he was not implying caste and language, but only meant that the introduction of Hindi in non-Hindi speaking states would lead to the enforcement of practices. northern cultures in southern India.

Tamil Nadu BJP Chairman K Annamalai posted a 21-second video clip on Twitter saying Elangovan called Hindi the language of underdeveloped states and adopting it would make people a “Shudra”. “The DMK has always been and will be a caste party. They will never think beyond that,” Annamalai said.

BJP State Deputy Chairman Naraynana Thirupathy told HT that the DMK was exposed as a caste party.

“Stalin proudly says they come from the Justice Party which was full of Brahmins and is anti-Dalit, so the DMK is exposing itself as anti-Dalit,” Thirupathy said.

“Elangovan must apologize for his provocative speech insulting Hindi speakers. The DMK is trying to play divisive politics by emotionally distracting people with language and caste issues to cover up their failures of the past year. Every day the BJP launches accusations against the DMK government. There is no economic growth, law and order is deteriorating and corruption is at its peak,” Thirupathy said.

The Tamil Nadu leadership of the BJP maintained that they would not allow the imposition of Hindi in the state.

It is the second time in recent months that DMK leaders have made controversial statements against Hindi speakers. Tamil Nadu’s Minister of Higher Education, K Ponmudi, in May described Hindi speakers as “pani puri sellers” while trying to support the state’s bilingual policy (Tamil and English).

The minister had made the remarks during the 37th convocation at the Bharathiar State University in Coimbatore where the Governor of Tamil Nadu, RN Ravi was present. “While English is an international language, Tamil is a local language. We were told that learning Hindi would get us jobs. Is it true? You will see in our state and in Coimbatore. Who are these people selling pani puris? Ponmudi had said.

The DMK was at the forefront of anti-Hindi agitations and the party’s widespread protests against the union government led by Indira Gandhi in the 1960s is what brought down the Congress government in Tamil Nadu and the DMK is first came to power in 1967. Since then, the DMK and AIADMK have alternately ruled Tamil Nadu. Chief Minister and founder of DMK, CN Annadurai, announced in 1967 a bilingual policy – ​​Tamil and English – and successive governments have maintained this policy.

The DMK government has objected to some aspects of the National Education Policy, 2020, especially the trilingual formula and has firmly stated that Tamil Nadu will continue to follow the existing bilingual policy.

The DMK has not clarified their leaders’ remarks degrading Hindi speakers.

Chief Minister MK Stalin actually urged for the Tamil language to be an official language of India during a government function when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in Chennai on May 26 to launch a series of development projects. ‘infrastructure. “Tamil should become the official language of the Union on the same level as Hindi and be recognized as the language of the Supreme Court,” Stalin told Modi on stage. Modi, who spoke after Stalin, explained his love for the language by quoting the poet Subramania Bharathiyar as well as his government’s efforts for the Tamil language.


    Divya Chandrababu is an award-winning political and human rights journalist based in Chennai, India. Divya is currently Deputy Editor of Hindustan Times, where she covers Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. She started her career as a broadcast journalist at NDTV-Hindu where she anchored and wrote primetime newscasts. Later, she covered politics, development, mental health, children’s and disability rights for The Times of India. Divya has been a Journalism Fellow for several programs including the Asia Journalism Fellowship in Singapore and KAS Media Asia – The Caravan for Narrative Journalism. Divya holds an MA in Politics and International Studies from the University of Warwick, UK. As a freelance journalist, Divya has written for Indian and foreign publications on domestic and international affairs.
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