Tamil Nadu MP urges state post offices to print scheme forms in Tamil, English
Continuing with his opposition against imposition of Hindi in Tamil Nadu, Lok Sabha MP from Madurai, S Venkatesan has ensured that forms in postal saving schemes, which are currently in English and Hindi, will be printed in Tamil as well.
Responding to Venkatesan’s letter, the department of posts on Wednesday said that they have issued instructions to officers to get all customer related forms in post offices to be printed bilingually in Tamil and English. These will be distributed immediately to all post offices in the Tamil Nadu circle. “It stops the imposition of Hindi. More than 40 forms used across 14,000 post offices operating in Tamil Nadu will be in Tamil. Post office officials have told us that it will be fully effective in a month,” said Venkatesan.
Venkatesan took up the issue with postal forms as the public found it difficult to fill them and they had to depend on others for making deposits under postal saving schemes. In his letter sent to the chief postmaster general of Tamil Nadu, dated September 22, Venkatesan said that money order forms, payment slips and withdrawal slips were previously available in Tamil but were discontinued after digital forms were introduced. “First, our country is having multi-lingual diversity and government departments have to be sensitive with regard to make customers comfortable in communications. Regional languages would ensure that,” he said in his letter. “But a government entity which has to perform like blood vessels to connect common man with the society is not doing it. How this attitude be termed- indifference or bias or imposition?”
Language is a sensitive issue in Tamil Nadu, where anti-Hindi agitations date back to the 1930s. In August, based on a petition filed by Venkatesan, the Madras high court directed the Union government to strictly follow the provisions of the Official Languages Act mandating the use of English for official purposes of the Union and Parliament. The MP belonging to the Communist Party of India (Marxist), an ally of the ruling DMK had filed a petition seeking adherence to the law after a central ministry responded to his letter in Hindi. He sought action against officials who reply in Hindi without English translation, saying it violated the rights guaranteed under the Constitution as well as the Official Languages Act. The Union government at that time told the court that replying in Hindi was “was inadvertent and not intentional”. But the court ruled in the MP’s favour.