No language can be imposed as the concept of a common language was "unfortunately" not possible in the country, superstar Rajinikanth said today, joining the chorus of voices against Home Minister Amit Shah's comments last week about Hindi becoming a unifying language.
"A common language not just for India but any country is good for its unity and progress. Unfortunately, (one cannot) bring a common language in our country. So you cannot impose any language," Rajinikanth told reporters in Tamil at the airport in Chennai.
"Especially, if you impose Hindi, not just Tamil Nadu, no southern state will accept that. Many states in northern parts will also not accept that," he added.
Amit Shah's statements on Hindi becoming a unifying language for all Indians has been seen by many as an attempt by the centre to impose Hindi on non-Hindi speaking states, reviving the decades-old uniformity versus diversity debate.
Mr Shah, suggesting a wider use of Hindi as a common language, had tweeted on Saturday, "India is a country of many different languages, and each language has its own significance, but it is necessary to have a common language that becomes the mark of India's identity globally... Today, if there is one language that has the ability to string the nation together in unity, it is the Hindi language which is the most widely-spoken and understood language in India."
Actor-politician Kamal Haasan too took a swipe at Mr Shah. "Unity in diversity is a promise we made when India became a republic. Now no Shah, Sultan or Samrat should renege on that promises," he had said on Monday.
On Monday, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said his government will not compromise the importance of Kannada in the state, which regularly witnesses assertion of identity by pro-Kannada organisations. "As far as Karnataka is concerned, Kannada is the principal language. We will never compromise its importance," Mr Yediyurappa had tweeted.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was among the first to speak up against Mr Shah's views, declaring a tweet that the claim that "Hindi unifies our country is absurd".