Kumaraswamy slams Karnataka govt for ‘sidelining’ Kannada for Hindi
Former Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy on Monday lashed out at the Basavaraj Bommai-led government for sidelining Kannada in favour of Hindi.
In a six-part post on Twitter, the Janata Dal (Secular) leader accused the state government of neglecting Kannada as a standard practice and continued to impress the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led union government that has been charged with imposing Hindi on non-Hindi speaking states.
Referring to the stage set up at the 25th convocation of National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience (NIMHANS) held on Sunday, Kumaraswamy said, “Hindi gets the first place in the 25th Convocation of National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience (NIMHANS). English gets the second place and Kannada gets the third place. There is no better instance of showing that Kannada is caught in the hands of butchers.”
The statements come at a time when Bommai has been accused of sidelining Kannada at major events in the state, especially in the presence of national leaders and ministers.
“The high-handedness of national parties is increasing day-by-day. The attack on our land and language is worse than those by foreign invaders. What has happened to the tongues of people who don’t say Kannada first and instead say country first,” Kumaraswamy said in another post.
In August this year, pro-Kannada organisations and the political opposition tore into Bommai for putting up boards in Hindi and English only at the flagging-off of the Metro rail services between Nayandahalli and Kengeri.
The Kannada and Culture department had also issued a notice to Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) over allegations that the latter sidelined the regional language during the inauguration of the new stretch of the Metro.
“Day before yesterday, the government took notice of sidelining Kananda during the event to inaugurate the Metro rail towards Kengeri. Despite Kannada being declared as the official language, some officials have been derelict and this will not be tolerated under any circumstances,” Kumaraswamy said on September 1.
Dinesh Gundu Rao, the former state Congress president and AICC incharge of Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Goa was the first to raise the issue in which he accused the state BJP of neglecting Kannada “to please the centre”.
“It is a shame for Karnataka to ignore Kannada in our Metro inauguration programme on the Kengeri Purple route. It is impossible to tolerate the sidelining of Kannada in a government programme. Our Metro project is a central and state partnership project. So why should Kannada not be a priority?” Rao had said in a post on Twitter.
The issue of language strikes an emotional chord in Karnataka and other non-Hindi speaking states which nurse a feeling of neglect of their native tongue under the Modi government. There have been long struggles in places like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra among several other states across the country that have fought over language rights, which even though has limited political capital, has rich dividends in mobilising support.
The Metro had become the platform of choice for pro-Kannada politics to play out during the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government between 2013-2018 which had supported the cause as a tool to further criticise the union government for imposition of Hindi.
The Congress and several other regional outfits have accused the union government of pursuing ‘one-nation, one-language’ policy as a way to make Hindi a common tongue as part of its larger Hindutva agenda.