Monday, June 04, 2007

India indebted to Karunanidhi for his 'unmeasurable' love for Tamil

This post was invoked by the wish list of an old man who knows he won't live long enough to see them - "Strive to make Tamil an official language, Karunanidhi tells youth".
Wherever i go outside TamilNadu, one of the questions popped up by my friends & strangers alike is 'Why u Tamils never learn Hindi?'. So let me answer that question before i move to benefits that country has reaped of 'Tamils never learning Hindi'.
  • One of the key reasons is the man who is presently the esteemed CM of TamilNadu - Read "TN ready to fight against Hindi dominance - Karunanidhi". This great man while ensuring that his children & grandchildren learnt Hindi, made sure that the other Tamils were ignorant of the fact that your life is tough in India without knowing Hindi.
  • If you want to know the historical reason, you have to go and read the newspapers of January & February - 1965. It was during these days Tamils - a 30 million crowd stood up as a single unit to fight against the implementation of "Hindi as the only official language of India". We, Tamils have always believed that "You could be a patriotic Indian without knowing to read or speak Hindi". But the men at the centre during those days thought otherwise. This led to one of the greatest protests led by the student community in free India. If you are interested in History or would like to know about the sad demise of a national party in TN, read the editorial - 'Hindi against India'

What has this protest of 1965 ensured?

  • It ensured that English stayed as one of the official languages of India. It prevented the quick death of a large number of regional languages - Tamil, Telungu, Marathi, etc. More importantly, it stopped the further advance of the Hindi extremists. With hindsight, this protest ensured that most of the Indian students learnt English leading to a huge pool of English speaking graduates. It prevented India going the China way with regard to languages. Benefits are plain and simple. Without the protests of 1965, the software boom would have never occurred.

So whenever you meet a Tamil who does not know Hindi, just remember that he is still paying the cost for the prosperity that is being unleashed in India by the software boom. And if you meet a Tamil 20 years from now who is still does not know Hindi, remember - 'Havoc that an impossible dream by an old man can cause?'.

- By a Tamilan who still does not know Hindi

P.S: If you feel otherwise, I would like to hear from you. Post a comment or mail me at srobinb4u[at]yahoo[dot]co[dot]in


Vimal said...

See, english is the universal language - we would have mastered it anyways. And its not like North Indians don't speak good english.
What those people did through those protests was to alienate tamilnadu from the rest of the country and make Northies look down upon us as 'Madrasis'. As u urself have clearly posted, their grandsons today are made ministers supposedly becuase they know hindi.

P.S - I dont support either of DMK or AIADMK.

Unknown said...

English being an universal language, we in the IIMs & IITs would have mastered it.. But none of those colleges in interior places would have learnt it...

Yeah! I accept the fact that the north Indians speak good English... MY point was that if the protest in 1965 have not occurred, the Hindi extremists or Hindi-fanatics would have seen English as its major competitor and would have tried to stop people from learning it.. [i.e. similar to What MK has done in TN by stopping people from learning Hindi].. It is a well known fact that Hindi is the integrating language of India but how many percentage of people in TN knew to speak Hindi????... So just because English is the universal language does not ensure that all the people would have learnt it..

But if alienation is the cost we paid for the protests in 1965, let be it.. Because of the protests, Tamil still survives in TN.. [A simple fact:- Compare the Tamil film industry with Marathi/Gujarati film industry]..

My whole point of the post was that i agree with the protests of 1965.. Yeah it is a good thing done by the generation of 1965.. But it is over.. Let us now make sure our next generation atleast learn hindi.. :)

P.S - I also don't support DMK or ADMK.. But love both the parties for the unadulterated fun they provide..

asiftherock said...

@ Vimal - Tams along with Andhraiites have excelled in a lot of fields. Just look at the number of Tams/Golts going abroad for higher studies. There are even a lot of Tams in the global software industry. Also TN is one of the better-off states in the country. So Northies have no reason to look down upon us!!! But are the protests the reason why TN today is doin much better than Bihar & UP??? I dont think so...

As to the question of allegiance to DMK & AIADMK is concerned, it doesnt matter as in 1965 they were one & the same....

Unknown said...

@ Asif,
Main reason for writing the post is to say to my friends - "That it is not my fault that i did not learn Hindi in my young age". Also inform people of this generation that Tamils fought against the dominance of Hindi at one point of time in their history.. Also to say that in hindsight, the "Protests in 1965" has brought its own benefits to the whole of India(not only to TamilNadu).

Anonymous said...

I am completely unaware of the fact that mk stalin, mk azhagiri, mk muthu, kanimozhi know or learnt hindi. Please provide me some proofs.

//Without the protest of 1965, the software boom would not have occured.//
Do you think the protests of 1965 played any part in the software boom. Do you think english has an widespread presence in india just because of 1965 protests.
No, english entered india with british and established itself as the language of educated when indians vied for the jobs in british raj.
Also it is an established fact that modern science and engineering know only english. We cannot think of excelling in science without knowing english.
Probably you should attribute this software boom to lord macaulay than to 1965 protests. I think this would be more appropriate. There are a host of
other reasons too for this boom. Like the phenomenal growth in telecom sector which made this superior connectivity possibe, the economic
liberalization in the 90s, large number of qualified workforce who could work for minimum wages and many more reasons that many people knew. But
1965 protest could never be a reason.

//And if you meet a Tamil 20 years from now who is still does not know Hindi, remember - 'Havoc that an impossible dream by an old man can cause?'.//
First of all this not an havoc at all. You are going to lose nothing if you dont know hindi. I think you know the speech made by C.N. Annadurai in the parliament
during this time. That famous two dogs story i hope you know. English will always be there to assist you when you converse with people of different regions.
Hindi is just another language like spanish or german or french or flemish.

Then it is not an impossibe dream. Hindi imposition in tamil heartland can never happen.
As anna said we tamils are not opposing hindi but we are opposing hindi imposition. Nothing prevents tamils from learning hindi but tamils could never be compelled to
learn hindi. Also dont attribute the struggle against hindi imposition to karunanidhi. Then it simply means you are doing injustice to the strong 30 million crowd and to the
great dravidian leaders like annadurai. The impossible dream of karunanidhi can neither mobilise a crowd of 30 million nor can it push a poor hotel worker in trichy to end his

Next time when a north indian asks why you people never learn hindi just ask him why you people never learn the language of eskimos.
We call india as land of unity in diversity. And i hope you know where this diversity stems from. Dont try to destroy this diversity by imposing hindi through out india.
The fact that india is diversified on many accounts and still united gives india a unique distinction among the nations. Every distinct culture in india should preserve its identity and at
the same time the nation as a whole should embrace all these distinct cultures and should try to prosper. The very federal structure that our constitution envisages has got its supporting pillars
resting on this diversity. Imposing hindi and making hindi a compulsory language seriously undermines this federal structure.

@vimal. I am not sure whether tr balu or dayanidhi maran or raja knows hindi. again i need some concrete proofs to substantiate the facts that they know hindi and it is because they
know hindi they are made cabinet ministers.

@robin: //It is a well known fact that Hindi is the integrating language of India but how many percentage of people in TN knew to speak Hindi????... //
i again reiterate a language need not be an integrating factor. and just because you need to integrate a nation you cant impose a language on a group of people whose language has
got a rich tradition of more than two thousand years and whose literary works have got no parallels in any other known language all over the world.

P.S. Have you come across this book freakonomics by stephen levitt. He would have argued that abortions have decreased crime rates. I think you tried something on the same lines but you are totally wrong.

Unknown said...

@ Kulothungan,
//Without the protest of 1965, the software boom would not have occured.//
accept that attributing 1965 protests as one of the major reasons for the software boom is far fetched. But the protests played a role in the continuing importance of English viz-a-viz Hindi... Printing a few things from the Hindu editorial that was given as a link in the article...

Assurances that PM Lal Bahadur Shastri was forced to give(because of the protests) though he was surrounded by Hindi zealots...

To remove any `misapprehension' and `misunderstanding', he said he would fully honour Nehru's assurance that English would be used as long as the people wanted . Then he made four assurances of his own:

`First, ....

Second, communications from one State to another will either be in English or will be accompanied by an authentic English translation.

Third, the non-Hindi States will be free to correspond with the Central Government in English and no change will be made in this arrangement without the consent of the non-Hindi States.

Fourth, in the transaction of business at the Central level English will continue to be used'.

Later, Shastri added a crucial fifth assurance — that the All India Civil Services Examination would continue to be conducted in English rather than (as the zealots wished) in the medium of Hindi alone.

my major point was that this protest was the final nail in establishing the importance of English in the fight against Hindi zealots... if Hindi zealots had their way, the condition would be much more worse..

protests in 1965--->Stopped Hindi being the one & only national language ---> Helped English in retaining its dominance

Yeah! British raj played its role in Englsih dominance so do the protests of 1965..

//You are going to lose nothing if you don't know Hindi.//

I am student studying in IIM - Indore.. It pains me a lot when i am not been able to be part of conversation when they are having the conversation in Hindi, the integrating language..
It pains me a lot, when i am not able to understand the conversation in hindi in my office..

More than everything else, it pains me a lot when i am forced to pay more for everything because i dont know Hindi..

Please come out of Tamil Nadu in India, then u will understand how important it is to learn Hindi to survive...

Even chennai is losing out the race with other cities because of the negative impression that non-Tamils carry about it.. [none understand HIndi there].. For example, if i want to set up only one company that wants to attract best of the pan-india talent, i would never set my shop there in chennai..

Not knowing Hindi is slowly turning out to be a competitive disadvantage for TN..

Also regarding MK's grandchildren, i was mentioning about Marans.. For e.g. do u think cabinet meetings are happening in English.. [Remember Lallu Prasad Yadav does not understand English that well]..

My only point was that learning English does not stop me from forgetting or admiring Tamil.. Why do you think learning Hindi would????... Let us not allow the emotions to cloud our eyes from looking at realities..

Anonymous said...

You say without 1965 protest software boom would not have occured. Also you say that attributing that protests to software boom is far fetched. Don't you think these two statements are contradictory. Because a major cause cannot be a far fetched reason.

Yeah, i shall accept that the protest was the final nail in establishing the importance of english in india.

What if you are studying in IIM-C. Will you be arguing that you should have learnt bengali. Because you could survive in chennai without knowing tamil but that wont be the case in bengal.

I again say you are free to learn hindi. Nobody stops you from learning. Let this be the case. You have learnt hindi during your school days and now you are facing a group of people conversing in hindi in indore. Do you think you could actively participate in the conversation because you have learnt hindi in schools. My point is mere learning of a language never ensures fluency in that language. It is only when you mingle with those people you could excel. It is just a matter of time. No need to feel painful.

If you want tamilnadu government should make its people well versed in hindi then it should change the whole medium of instruction from tamil or english to hindi. Even then the chance of competing with the native speakers looks remote. But be sure that can never happen.

Chennai is not losing out the race because of the negative impression that some non-tamils carry. Because facts suggest the opposite. I would be happy if you could substantiate this claim by siting some statements made by non-tamil ceo's. Also remember one thing. Do you think gurgaon, noida, bangalore, hyderabad or chennai are doing well because of the voluminous investments made by non-tamils. No, it is the mnc's investment at first place made these cities to prosper. So mncs would be coming here as long as we people know english. Non tamil ceos may ignore chennai at their own peril.

I have heard tamilnadu mps speaking in tamil in loksabha and rajyasabha. This holds true for cabinet meetings too. It is the purpose of the government to provide translators. Also because you have learnt hindi in schools you cant discuss and analyse policy decisions with native speakers in the cabinet meeting. This would prove to be a great disaster. And during cabinet meetings it is not the ministers who would do the speaking most of the time. It is the secretaries and the deputy secretaries and their reports do most of the talking. And they know english.

If you still have the opinion that hindi is an integrating language i would strongly advise you to spend some time on federalism, how the distinct cultures and languages of india are preserved by the constitution, how federalism is practised in canada in the face of continued protests from french speakers of quebec province. Never ever a native tamil speaker can get integrated with a native hindi speaker through language just because he has learnt
hindi in schools. This could happen only when he spends considerable amount of time with that native hindi speakers in their own state.

If you think you need to learn hindi for buying shampoo and paste from the local shopkeepers in indore then please proceed. The ghost of anna is there to bless you.

I think i am not guided by my emotions in this argument and sincerely believe that my logical reasoning is not confined by the boundaries language, religion or nationhood.

Unknown said...

@ Kulothungan,
//Don't you think these two statements are contradictory.//

Yeah.. what i meant was in my post was a mistake.. so, was correcting it in the comments...

My claim that chennai was losing in the race was based on the impression that i got from the Indians from various parts of the country who are studying with me. They generally carry a negative impression about chennai.. [chennai autowallahs are also one of the reasons for this bad name... ] Remember atleast a few guys would be the future CEOs of India...

Why should some body learn Hindi?
It puts the other person in ease.. For example, I have personally experienced how comfortable i felt when one of my non-Tamil friends spoke to me in the little Tamil he has learnt..

In organizations, it makes u a better team player.. I am personally seeing many of my U.G. friends running back to chennai just because they can't survive in other parts of India with English & Tamil.. [Bangalore is exempted because of the tamil population it has]..

What any student is going to loose by learning one more language - Hindi like Botany, Zoology, (which i never used).. It might become useful atleast for the people who come out of TamilNadu..

Also thanks for the comments.. I am also getting really benefitted by your views..

Anonymous said...

India does NOT have any national language:

India does NOT have a National Language

Part XVII of the constitution:
This part 17, defines an OFFICIAL language, NOT a national language.

Article 345: This gives the State govt., power to decide its own "OFFICIAL LANGUAGE"

Article 343: This defines Hindi in devangari script and English to be the "OFFICIAL LANGUAGES" of union govt.

DIFFERENCE between National and Official Language:

NATIONAL LANGUAGE: Defines the people of the nation, culture, history.

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE: A language that is used for official communication

While a National language by default can become the Official language, an Official language has to be APPROVED legally to become the National language.

All languages spoken in India, starting from the most populous to the least are our national languages, because all of them define the people of this nation, culture and their history collectively.

India has NO LEGALLY DEFINED NATIONAL LANGUAGES ONLY 23 OFFICIAL languages as per the constitution.

Illegal imposition of hindi:

Anonymous said...

//But it is over.. Let us now make sure our next generation atleast learn hindi.. :)//

LET the north indians learn Tamil !!!

3-laguage policy and why TN removed 3rd language on January 23, 1965.

Anonymous said...

Illegal banning of Tamil in TN high courts:

Discriminating Tamil @ the center:

Anonymous said...

////What any student is going to loose by learning one more language - Hindi like Botany, Zoology, (which i never used).. It might become useful atleast for the people who come out of TamilNadu.. ////

Most tend to see this as “allowing a language”.

This is NOT as simple as it seems !!!

1) Suppose if we do NOT question the “unbalanced/biased” allocation of funds favoring one language, then hindi will develop its technical and other vocabulary to meet the future demands BUT our language will be stagnant.

2) As we all know, anyone/language that fails to evolve would eventually DIE.

3) One of the reasons , English is dominating is because of its ability to absorb other words and evolve.

4) The central govt spends 100 crores/ year to bring this technical evolution and development to Hindi BUT it NEGLECTS other languages.

Which means, over a few decades, our language will LAG behind hindi in terms of Technical background and any language which lacks this would eventually wither away and Tamil would face such a situation unless there is some serious funding to develop its “vocabulary/language” with the evolving Techie world.

Fortunately, there are many Tamils who do this, One of the major irony is that the Sri Lankan Tamils dominate in bringing Tamil to the web and internet BUT we eventhough majority in number fail to promote Tamil.

The very anti-Tamil riots in SL that chased them away to other countries enables them to be in touch with technology and also develop Tamil while we from TN contribute comparatively lesser even when we have the luxury of a "stable/war-free life" !!!

Anonymous said...

///My claim that chennai was losing in the race was based on the impression that i got from the Indians from various parts of the country who are studying with me.///

Anonymous said...

@Kulothungan: Let us reconcile. I will pray to perumal to forgive u. Where shall we meet? Thanjavur?

Anyway, i dont like to see kannada chaluvalis like you arguing agaisnt aadichanallur aadi thamizhans like Robin ... But that is something we both can discuss over the course of our meeting...

Mukundan said...

Interesting perspective of the Anti-Hindi imposition (and not Anti Hindi as is being widely perceived). But why is that we do not do a subjective and objective analysis of an issue at all ? How many more years we are going to talk about the family members of Karunanidhi learning Hindi (right or wrong is a different matter altogether). How does it matter when talking about the 65 agitation ?

Secondly no Government/party can tell someone not to learn language Hindi or even Hebrew as it is the prerogative of the people concerned. That is precisely why compulsive Hindi was opposed.

There is no need to really worry or pained not to understand what people conversing in a group. It is a matter of basic decency to converse in a language every one could follow or arrange for some interpretation for those who do not follow the language. Unless we are inquisitive we would not really bother about what others talking even it were to be a comment on us.

And if people are not aware, every cabinet meeting is preceeded with Draft minutes of the meeting, and ratified with an official minutes after the meeting and recorded - all in English.

Finally did any one wonder whether Kamaraj knew Hindi to effectively lead an All India party ?