It is hain with aap and hoon with tum. It is Hindi 101 per cent for TDP leader N Chandrababu Naidu. The former Andhra Pradesh chief minister has got his son’s tutor to teach him the national language.
The sudden linguistic aspirations have got little to do with love for the language per se but are punctuated with political wishes. Naidu, out of power in Andhra Pradesh, on and off gives vent to his national ambitions and is now mooting the idea of a Third Front.
This also means increasing interaction with cow-belt parties like the Samajwadi Party. The one niggling problem was his lack of knowledge of Hindi. So he missed out not only on the musings of Mulayam Singh Yadav and others of the Hindi heartland but also most of the proceeding in Parliament. Naidu then decided to take a leaf out of the book of his father-in-law, the late NT Rama Rao. NTR had a Hindi tutor and many lessons later he even delivered speeches in heavily accented Hindi.
Now there is a Hindi hour for Naidu everyday. The TDP circles say he has set himself a deadline: to learn to read and speak the language by the year-end. Afterwards, with assembly elections due in 2009, he will have to put politics before books, they say.
Naidu, who hails from Chittoor district, bordering Tamil Nadu, started his political career when the Dravidian movement with its anti-Hindi stance was going strong. Learning Hindi was almost taboo.
But mastering Hindi is not proving easy for the TDP supremo. He had tried learning the language before but had to give up because of his busy schedule.
Also, he is not getting any younger. At 58, learning a new language is tough for a person who studied in a Telugu-medium school.