Opposing Home Minister Amit Shah's pitch for Hindi as the nation's common language, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam on Saturday cautioned against its 'imposition' while the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam demanded that he withdraw his view, since it would 'infringe national integrity'.
After Shah said Hindi is the most spoken language which can unite the nation as a common language, Tamil Nadu parties rallied against it.
AIADMK leader and Tamil culture Minister K Pandiarajan said: "If the Centre imposes Hindi unilaterally, there will only be (adverse) reaction and no support, not only in Tamil Nadu, but also in states like Bengal, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh."
Making it clear that he was not aware of the context in which Shah made those comments, he opined that the remarks appeared to be intended to bring Hindi to the position of English, which had performed the role of a link language all along in the country.
"Only about 45 per cent people speak Hindi and even today it is not spoken by a majority of the people," Pandiarajan said, adding that the Tamil Nadu government has never toed the line that Hindi could be the link language.
DMK chief M K Stalin said Shah's views were 'shocking'.
"This will certainly infringe national integrity and hence he should withdraw his views immediately," he told reporters.
The DMK would take a decision on the ways and means to oppose Shah's stand at a high-level party meet to be held on September 16, the party president said.
Pluralism was India's biggest strength and unity in diversity was the nation's cultural identity, Stalin said and alleged that the BJP government was taking steps to 'erase' such an identity ever since it assumed office at the Centre.
Shah's Hindi pitch appeared to be an attempt to make non-Hindi speaking people ‘second class citizens’, he claimed earlier in a statement.
While all languages in the Constitution's Eighth Schedule should be nurtured, picking only Hindi for promotion will impinge national integrity and it is both anguishing and condemnable, the DMK chief alleged.
Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief Vaiko said if India has to be a country of Hindi alone, then only Hindi speaking states would be part of it and not several other regions like Tamil Nadu and the north east.
Pattali Makkal Katchi founder leader S Ramadoss dubbed Shah's remark as flawed and said Hindi must not be ‘imposed’.
PMK and BJP were part of the AIADMK alliance in Tamil Nadu for the recent Lok Sabha polls.
‘Never can Hindi be India's identity globally....is it not condemnable to try to usurp the identities of other languages to make Hindi India's global identity,’ Ramadoss said in his Twitter handle.
Just because Hindi was spoken by a large number of people, it could not bring about integrity.
"If Hindi is imposed on people speaking other languages, it will divide the country...there are several examples worldwide," he said.
Communist Party of India State Secretary R Mutharasan said Tamil speaking people should unite to thwart the Centre's policy of ‘linguistic chauvinism’.
The assurance of Jawaharlal Nehru that Hindi will not be made compulsory as long as Tamil Nadu people accepted it voluntarily should be honoured, he said.
‘The RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh), Hindutva forces are trying to build a narrative of one election, one nation, one ration card and a single language...they are rejecting the doctrine of national integrity and unity in diversity,’ the Left leader alleged in a statement.
Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam leader T T V Dinakaran said Shah's views were not acceptable.
Urging the home minister to take back his view, he said efforts to ‘thrust Hindi’ would only sow the seeds of hatred among the people.
Dravidar Kazhagam, the ideological fountainhead of Dravidian parties, said Shah's views went against the pluralistic tenets of the Constitution.
DK chief K Veeramani said the suspicion grew stronger that such views were being aired only to divert attention from the economic slowdown.
School Education Minister and veteran AIADMK leader K A Sengottaiyan said Chief Minister K Palaniswami had categorically stated that only the two language formula of Tamil and English would be followed in Tamil Nadu.
The state does not have Central government run Navodaya Vidyalaya schools to avoid 'imposition' of Hindi, he said.
Senior AIADMK leader and Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar said sticking to the two language norm was the unanimous stand of his party and it would be continued.
"This is our view. No language not liked by the people will be accepted," he said recalling the anti-Hindi agitations of 1965.
The Congress-led government, which ‘thrust Hindi’, was dislodged from power in 1967 state assembly elections and could not return to power in Tamil Nadu since then, he said.
Home Minister Amit Shah earlier in the day pitched for a common language for the country and said it is Hindi which is spoken the most and can unite the whole country.
"India has many languages and every language has its importance. But it is absolutely necessary that the entire country should have one language that becomes India's identity globally," he said in a series of tweets in Hindi.