An upwardly mobile farmer in Bihar earned the wrath of state Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for using too many “English words” while narrating his entrepreneurial journey in agriculture.
Interjecting during the speech by Amit Kumar, a farmer from the Lakhisarai district, during a function organised to mark the launch of the state’s 4th agriculture roadmap, the Chief Minister launched a diatribe against excessive use of English words.
A set of farmers selected by the ruling government were asked to come on the dais and share their success stories in agriculture with the dignitaries, including CM Nitish Kumar, Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav and Agriculture Minister Kumar Sarvjeet.
Amit Kumar began by showering praise on the chief minister for creating an environment wherein he, a management graduate with a promising career in Pune, could muster the courage to give it up all and cultivate mushrooms in his native district.
“A very good afternoon to everyone present over here. I would like to thank Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for his visionary politics. Because of him, I have reached so far.” Amit Kumar said. He also acknowledged the benefits of his training at the Agriculture Technology Management Agency (ATMA) in Bihar.
Barely a few minutes into his speech interspersed with English words like food production, consumption, and incentivisation, the agro-entrepreneur was stopped by the visibly irked CM, who remained in his seat but interjected using a handheld microphone.
“I want to point out to you the incongruity of using so many English words. Is it England? You are working in Bihar, practising agriculture which is the profession of the common folks,” said CM, evoking applause from the crowd.
“How can you forget the Hindi language of our state and country? I am really shocked. You are a farmer and farming is done by common man. You have been called to give suggestions and you are speaking in English. Is this England? This is Bharat and you are in Bihar.” the CM added.
A staunch follower of legendary socialist Ram Manohar Lohia, who championed the cause of vernacular languages as one of the many tools to be used for removing social inequality, the CM also expressed the view that “smartphone addiction during the lockdowns” had led many people to “forget their own languages”.
The flustered speaker apologised (“Chama Chahunga Sir”) and resumed his speech, only to be upbraided seconds later for having used the expression “government schemes”.
“Do you people know that I have done engineering and completed my studies in English only? That is a different thing when you are supposed to learn and teach.” the CM intervened again.
“What is the need to speak English over here when you are along with your own people and in your own state? I have been observing that even Jeevika Didi is using English words. Is English the only language in the world? This language ruled India.” he added.
Amit Kumar apologised once again and completed his speech. No speaker who came on the dais used any English words during their respective speeches till the end of the programme.
The BJP criticised the CM for his conduct in the public event. “Is CM Nitish Kumar annoyed with English language itself or with its usage by the subalterns? His objection to the use of English words in a public address is absolutely ridiculous,” said state BJP leader and its OBC Morcha national general secretary Nikhil Anand.
“Carried away by the passion of daydream, Nitish ji is suffering from political hysteria”, added the BJP leader, in an indirect reference to the “national ambitions” of the JD(U) leader.
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