IRCTC Denies Imposing Hindi On Tamil Nadu Passengers, Tells Agitated DMK MPs It Was A User’s Preferred Language To Get Messages

by M R Subramani - Oct 8, 2020 04:17 PM +05:30 IST
IRCTC Denies Imposing Hindi On Tamil Nadu Passengers, Tells Agitated DMK MPs It Was A User’s Preferred Language To Get MessagesScreen grab of IRCTC website. (Sneha Srivastava/Mint via Getty Images)
Snapshot
  • A Tamil Nadu resident who booked a ticket for a journey from Madurai to Chennai complained that she got a message from IRCTC in Hindi.

One of the strategies of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) ahead of the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections next year is to repeatedly rake up the language issue and whip up anti-Hindi sentiments against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

This is one of the reasons why Kanimozhi Karunanidhi, its Lok Sabha member from Thoothukudi, triggered a controversy over an alleged comment by a Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) officer on her not knowing Hindi.

The controversy was raked to the extent that some Tamil movie actors were hired to wear T-shirts bearing the slogan “Hindi theriyadhu poda” (I don’t know Hindi, get lost).

However, some of these stars’ bluff was called out when some television programmes in which they had boasted of their Hindi knowledge was put out on social media.

The second such attempt was over the National Education Policy (NEP), 2020. The DMK and its allies of the United Progressive Alliance, including the Congress, began to dub it as an effort to impose Hindi on Tamil Nadu.

However, the Centre made it clear that the NEP only suggested children learning an additional language and it could be any language of their choice. Somehow, the DMK’s strategy to provoke protests on that count failed.

The latest one in the series of the Dravidian party’s bluff being called out is the issue of the allegation that the IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation) was sending text messages only in Hindi when tickets are reserved for train journeys.

A Tamil Nadu resident who booked a ticket for a journey from Madurai to Chennai complained that she had got a message from IRCTC in Hindi.

It was immediately taken up as an issue by a few DMK leaders and members of Parliament. Among those who took up the issue were former Union Minister Dayanaidhi Maran and the party representative from South Madras Thamizhachi Thangapandian.

Both of them tweeted with Maran accusing IRCTC of being party to “Hindi being thrust on the people of Tamil Nadu” while Thangapandian too tweeted on similar lines, drawing the corporation’s attention.

In its efforts to clear the air and deny that any language was being imposed on railway passengers, the IRCTC responded saying that the traveller in question had opted for Hindi as the preferred language to receive messages while registering with the portal.

With the party’s bluff being called out by the IRCTC, the DMK chose to play down the issue. But Twitter wouldn’t let go of the opportunity to expose the DMK’s strategy. One of the handles called it a “slap in the face”, while another commented that it had become a habit for DMK to be called out on its strategies to provoke Tamil people.

A Twitter user regretted that Thangapandian was either not aware of setting preferences or was enacting a drama “for her illiterate followers”.

Much to the chagrin of the DMK, former Karnataka Indian Police Service official, and BJP member, K Annamalai, said in an interview that the DMK would not be successful anymore by flogging the language issue.

The IRCTC issue, perhaps, highlights this.

M.R. Subramani is Executive Editor, Swarajya. He tweets @mrsubramani

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