‘Brutal assault’: Congress’ Siddaramaiah joins attack against draft policy’s Hindi formula
Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Monday joined a chorus of voices against the Centre’s draft national education policy, which recommends making the teaching of Hindi compulsory up to Class 8, amid the government’s attempts to douse the controversy.
Several political parties and academicians in non-Hindi speaking states like Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal have already cautioned the Centre against imposing any language against their wishes.
In a series of tweets, Siddaramaiah said the Centre was imposing Hindi on the states and asked it to give them “more space”.
“Ours is a land that exhibits Unity in Diversity. Peaceful coexistence is the need to establish harmony &any force shall work against the laws of society. For us Kannada is an identity, &learning any other language should be by Choice & not by imposition. #StopHindiImposition (sic),” Siddaramaiah tweeted.
“New National Education Policy draft imposes Hindi in non Hindi states & this goes against our sentiments. If recognition of regional identity is inconsistent according to few then imposition of Hindi is nothing but a brutal assault on our States. #StopHindiImposition (sic),” he wrote.
“Instead of imposing Hindi, the government should focus on recognising regional identities & give more space to the states to express & manifest their ideas through their own culture & language. We are all Kannadigas in India. #StopHindiImposition.”
The draft national policy on education, which was made public by the new government on Friday, says the three-language formula should be introduced at an earlier stage in schools. In Tamil Nadu, the opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the Left and actor Kamal Haasan’s new Makkal Needhi Maiam have slammed the report, which they saw as a precursor to the imposition of Hindi. Pro-Tamil parties projected it as a Dravidian versus Aryan fight.
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena also lashed out against the imposition of Hindi, saying it is not their mother tongue. “Hindi is not our mother tongue, do not enforce it on us and incite us,” the MNS’ Twitter handle said on Sunday quoting its spokesperson Anil Shidore as saying.
On its part, ministers of the Modi government including finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Union minister for information and broadcasting Prakash Javadekar and external affairs minister S Jaishankar have gone on a damage control mode and said that it was only a draft report and no decision has been taken on implementing it.
The draft of the new National Education Policy (NEP) was handed over to the country’s new human resources development (HRD) minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ on Friday by the committee that was formed in 2017 and led by former ISRO chief K Kasturirangan. It was also uploaded on the ministry’s website.
The recommendations, spread over 500 pages, also include changes to the training of teachers, suggestions on how school fees must be regulated, and the start of a new, four-year liberal arts undergraduate course that will let college students pick from a wider variety of disciplines to study.
The existing NEP was framed in 1986 and revised in 1992. A new education policy was part of the BJP’s manifesto ahead of 2014 general polls.