The Madras and central governments have been agitated at the prospect of a black flag demonstration organised by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) when the President visits Madras next week for Republic Day.
The DMK has chosen to exploit an important grievance: the Hindi policy in general, and President’s controversial order in particular. Accordingly, the Home Minister and the Madras Finance Minister have made statements assuring the public that the order does not bear the interpretation put upon it, that it is entirely in line with the Prime Minister’s statement last year.
Unfortunately, there is a good reason to doubt these reassurances. The day it was issued, the order aroused suspicion, and it has been criticised ever since. In fact, it has revived the anti-Hindi agitation, which the Prime Minister’s statement had deflated. Would it not be best, then to withdraw the offending order and replace it by one in which the doubter’s criticisms have been met?
The feeling is gathering strength in all non-Hindi areas, and especially in the southern states, that the President’s declaration requires definite clarification. In a very reasoned and logical statement on the matter, member of Parliament Dr Krishnaswamy analysed the President’s declaration in great detail and pointed out where exactly it fails to live up to the assurances of the Prime Minister. Irrespective of their political tags, all must agree with Dr Krishnaswamy’s considered view that the Presidential statement does go behind the Prime Minister’s repeated assurances.
It is no wonder, therefore, that the DMK in Madras has decided to launch a vigorous protest, seeking modification to the President’s declaration. It so happens that a party which is notorious for its extremely narrow outlook and parochial tendencies has now adopted, on this subject of English and Hindi, an attitude which reflects the feeling of the entire mass of people in all four south Indian states. It is, therefore, likely that a good case may be defeated by wrong patronage.
C Rajagopalachari (Rajaji) has pointed out in no ambiguous terms, in the Tamil weekly Kalki, the dangers of the present situation. There is not the slightest doubt that the assurances given by the Prime Minister have been given the go-by in the President’s carefully-designed declaration. Public feeling all over Mysore state is definitely in line with the apprehensions voiced by the DMK. But public feeling in this state is notorious non-vocal on vital matters, and there is a danger that the case may go by default on this vital subject of the future of English and Hindi.
There is, therefore, the urgent need for those who would work in the public interest in the Kannada region to make their own stand known in an emphatic manner. It is too much to expect Congressmen in this state – 98 per cent of whom do not even know the Hindi alphabet but all 100 per cent of whom are Hindi-enthusiasts (!) – to do anything which would ruffle the feathers of the high command in far-away Delhi.
This article was authored by Mysindia and appeared in the 13 August 1960 issue of Swarajya.
Selections from Swarajya's 40,000 pages of archives since 1956.
An appeal from Swarajya
At Swarajya, we rely on our readers' support through subscriptions to sustain our media platform. Unlike larger conglomerates, we are unable to relentlessly chase advertising money — our model is largely built on your patronage.
Your support has never been more crucial. We work tirelessly to deliver 10-15 high-quality articles daily, ensuring you receive insightful content from 7 AM to 10 PM.
If you believe India's story has to be articulated in a way it has never been done before without shrugging it off, become a patron (or) subscribe now for ₹̶2̶4̶0̶0̶ ₹1999 and get 12 print issues, unlimited digital access for 1 year, a special India that is Bharat T-shirt (Offer ends soon).
We are counting on you!