Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan on Thursday said that Hindi is a ''little child in diapers'', being the youngest among the family of languages in India, news agency ANI reported, in the latest comment in the row over linguistic preferences in the country.
"Hindi is a little child in diapers. Compared to Tamil, Sanskrit and Telugu, Hindi is still a young language. It is not with derision that I say this. I say with compassion that we have to take care of the language but it should not be imposed or stuffed down our necks," Mr Haasan was quoted as saying at a function in Chennai.
Mr Haasan had earlier this month that any imposition of Hindi will lead to a battle that will be "exponentially bigger" than the ''jallikattu'' protest. The comment came as a rebuttal to Union Home Minister's call for "unifying India" with the country's most widely-spoken language, Hindi.
"We have said it before and we will say it again, the Tamil language is our (people of Tamil Nadu) pride and we will fight for it. The unity in diversity is the promise we made when we made India into a republic. We cannot change that," Mr Haasan said.
"Now, no Shah, Sultan or Samrat should go back on their promise. We respect all languages but our mother language will always be Tamil," he had added, in a dig at Mr Shah, also the BJP chief.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Hindi Divas on September 14 made a call to culturally unify India with Hindi as its national language. It has triggered a huge row, prompting him to issue a clarification that he had never asked for the imposition of Hindi over regional languages.
Following the controversy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made repeated attempts to stress India's commitment to linguistic diversity during his week-long visit to the United States and then a visit to Tamil Nadu.
"When I was staying in America, I spoke in the Tamil language once and told everyone that this is one of the ancient languages. Even today, the Tamil language echoes in entire America," PM Modi said at an event in Chennai.
(With inputs from ANI)
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