The draft National Education Policy 2019, prepared by a panel led by eminent scientist K Kasturirangan, which was unveiled on May 31, is clearly heading towards a big controversy even before it is implemented as southern states, especially, Tamil Nadu is already up in arms.
As per the draft, the three language formula recommendation is for the inclusion of English and Hindi in addition to the mother tongue in the non-Hindi speaking states and for the Hindi speaking states, English and one Indian language from other parts of the country, is snowballing into a big controversy. As the non-Hindi states are up in arms, especially, the southern state of Tamil Nadu. Right from the Dravida Munetra Kazhakam (DMK) President, MK Stalin to Makkal Neethi Maiam Chief, Kamal Hassan reacted sharply, opposing the three language formula’s continuation proposed in the draft. The politicians from Tamil Nadu said in one voice that the draft National Education Policy should be construed as ‘thrusting’ Hindi on the non-Hindi speaking states and they wanted it to be dumped. Meanwhile, the Government of Tamil Nadu, headed by the All India Anna Dravida Kazhakam (AIADMK), the ally of BJP which is heading the NDA Government at the Centre, sensing trouble from the opposition ranks and the public sentiments against the proposed law, had categorically declared that it would continue with the two-language formula.
In a series of Tweets, the politicians outright rejected the proposed move by the Union Government in implementing the new draft National Education Policy 2019 to be passed into a law. P Chidambaram, senior Congress leader from Tamil Nadu Tweeted: “What is the meaning of three language formula in schools? The meaning is they will make Hindi mandatory subject.”
Again, Chidambaram said in another Tweet: “If Hindi language is compulsory subject, its import is imposition of Hindi. The BJP Government’s real face is beginning to emerge.”
MK Stalin said that the three language formula which recommends Hindi from pre-school to Class XII is a big shocker and added that the recommendation would ‘divide’ the country. Quoting a DMK statement, a PTI report said that Stalin, while reminding of the anti-Hindi agitations beginning way back in 1937 in Tamil Nadu, said that since 1968 Tamil Nadu followed two-language of learning, Tamil and English. Asserting that the DMK will not stand the imposition of Hindi in Tamil Nadu, he further added that the party would oppose such move tooth and nail. “Still, I believe that the Union Government led by the BJP will not make for another language stir,” Stalin asserted.
Stating that the recommendations by the draft such as ‘Gurukula’ mode of education, teaching Sanskrit and dispatching Hindi teachers from Hindi speaking states to non-Hindi speaking states would eventually pose ‘big danger’ to non-Hindi speaking people, the DMK statement said that the recommendations, rather than lifting the standards of education has led to doubts that it had ‘ulterior motives’ like imposition of Hindi on non-Hindi speaking states and thrusting Sanskrit in schools.
Remind the present day Union Government about the assurance given by the late Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru that English will continue to be in use as long as the non-Hindi speaking states preferred that way, Stalin said that Tamil Nadu had already brought into force the Compulsory Tamil Learning Act long back. Urging the Union Government to junk the draconian draft, which was nothing but ‘imposition’ of Hindi under the pretext of three-language formula, Stalin also said that the DMK MPs will oppose the move in Parliament when the House get convened.
Taking a jibe at the ruling AIADMK Government in Tamil Nadu, Stalin mocked it as a ‘Yes Master,’ to the Federal Government and further demanded the Chief Minister, Edapadi K Palaniswami to either be on the same page with the opposition parties in the State to oppose the diabolic move by the Union Government or to remove Anna and Dravida from the AIADMK party name. Stalin asked the BJP not to even think of implementing three language formula in Tamil Nadu and he added that such a ‘greedy dream’ will lead to ‘catastrophic’ consequence for the ruling dispensation. Other political parties in Tamil Nadu such as the Communist Party of India (CPI) and Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), which was BJP’s ally in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, too felt that the draft recommendation on the three language formula was imposition of Hindi and demanded the Union Goverment to withdraw.
The actor turned politician, Kamal Hassan said, “Be it language or a project, if we do not like that, it should not be forced on us. Our party will pursue legal options against such move.”
Meanwhile, in a related development, the Education Minister of Tamil Nadu, KA Sengottiyan told a Tamil television channel, “There will be no deviation from the two-language formula followed in Tamil Nadu. Only Tamil and English will continue to be taught in Tamil Nadue.”
The draft National Education Policy, 2019 available on the MHRD website said the three-language formula will need to be implemented in its spirit throughout the country, promoting multi-lingual communicative abilities for a multi-lingual country. Schools in Hindi speaking areas should also offer and teach Indian languages from other parts of India, the news agency report said quoting the website.
In a related development, the Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram, Shashi Tharoor said this morning that the solution to the three-language formula is not by junking the idea, rather to ensure its better implementation, as per ANI report.
“The solution is not to abandon the three languages formula but to implement it in a better manner,” said Tharoor when the ANI reporter asked to comment on the new draft policy of National Education, which recommended among other things three languages formula in schools.
Tharoor said that the three-language formula goes back to mid-1960s but it was never properly implemented. “Most of us in the South learn Hindi as a second language but nobody in the North is learning Malayalam or Tamil,” he said.
Evening as the issue is snowballing into a major controversy in all the non-Hindi speaking states, especially, Tamil Nadu, the hash-tagged slogans such as “#StopHindiImposition, #TNAgainstHindiImposition began trending on the microblogging site Twitter.