In Karnataka's Latest Resistance Against Hindi, A Throwback To Past Protests

The draft education policy has been amended to say three languages should be studied - without mentioning Hindi in this context

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In Karnataka's Latest Resistance Against Hindi, A Throwback To Past Protests

"Hindi beda (don't want Hindi)" protest was held in Bengaluru in 2017 over metro signboards


Bengaluru: 

The centre's move to revise the draft National Education Policy 2019 on whether Hindi should be a compulsory third language in schools was seen as a response to the strong objection from states that do not have Hindi as the state language.

The draft education policy has been amended to say three languages should be studied - without mentioning Hindi in this context.

Tamil Nadu is seen as the main driver of the objections. The state has a long history of resistance to Hindi. For years, when Doordarshan broadcast a national bulletin in Hindi to the country in evening, Madras Doordarshan, as it was then, opted out and had a Tamil bulletin instead.

Karnataka also raised its voice against the proposal. Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy of the Janata Dal Secular tweeted - in Kannada - against the move. And Congress leaders also expressed their objections.

Last year, the state capital Bengaluru had seen protests against the use of Hindi in the city's metro stations as part of the #HindiBeda movement. "Hindi beda", when translated from Kannada, means "we don't want Hindi". That movement was backed by politicians too - and Hindi signboards were removed from metro stations.

After the draft education policy became public, it was left to the BJP in the state to defend it. Bengaluru South's new parliamentarian Tejasvi Surya, in a series of tweets, backed the idea. Union Minister Sadananda Gowda said, "The Prime Minister categorically said - NARA - national ambitions, regional aspirations. Even while addressing parliament members he said regional issues should be taken on priority because regional issues can only show the strength of the country in the whole world. Just for political purposes, just casting aspersions against the central government, I don't think it is fair. So far no decision has been taken as far as the imposition of Hindi is concerned."

Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah of the Congress tweeted against the move. And even after the centre backtracked to some extent, he maintained the same view. "The centre is trying to impose Hindi. I oppose that," he told NDTV.

"Karnataka does not need Hindi. We are all Kannadigas. We only need Kannada. Let those states who want Hindi have it," the Congress's Zameer Ahmed told NDTV.

The pro-Kannada movement has been growing in the southern state - there was some opposition to the plan by Mr Kumaraswamy to introduce English-medium government schools. But the Chief Minister's resistance to Hindi seems to be stronger than to English. He has said English may help students in finding employment.



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