Hindi issue yet another attempt to divert attention from real problems, say WB leaders

Kolkata, April 16 (IANS) Union Home Minister Amit Shah's recent statement on Hindi at the meeting of Parliament's Official Language Committee has taken the form of a full-blown political controversy.
 
Hindi issue yet another attempt to divert attention from real problems, say WB leaders

Anti-BJP political leaders from West Bengal have described this Hindi language imposition attempt as not just an attempt to divide the Hindi-speaking and non-Hindi speaking people, but also a clandestine bid by the Union government to divert attention from burning issues like price rise etc.

IANS talked to a number of political leaders from West Bengal having affiliation to different political parties. Leaders of non-BJP parties like the Trinamool Congress, the CPI(M) and the Congress, who are always at loggerheads over different state-related issues, surprisingly talked on the same lines in slamming the Union home minister's proposals.

Mainly two points came out from the arguments of the non-BJP leaders from West Bengal. The first point is a question from them about which particular form of the Hindi dialect does the Union home minister want to push as an alternative to English since Hindi dialects vary from state-to-state and often one single state has more than one Hindi dialect.

The second point that the non-BJP leaders raise is about raking up the Hindi issue to divert attention from burning issues like inflation, price rise and rising unemployment in the country.

The first person that IANS spoke to on this issue was the newly-elected Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha member from West Bengal, Sushmita Dev.

The daughter of late heavyweight Congress leader and former Union minister, Santosh Mohan Dev, Sushmita had gone through varied linguistic cultures. A Bengali by birth and having pursued her academic and political careers mainly in Assam and the party in Tripura, she is now the Rajya Sabha member from West Bengal.<br> <br>"This is somewhat an absurd proposition. This Hindi imposition attempt will bring an automatic divide between people speaking different regional languages. I am sure that the Union home minister's attempt to project Hindi as an alternative to English will ultimately boil down to projecting Hindi as the official language as an alternative to other Indian regional languages. Every person is proud of speaking his or her own mother tongue. There is no harm if any individual learns Hindi voluntarily.

"But forcing Hindi in a linguistically diversified country like India is absurd. Secondly, the Union home minister should confirm which particular dialect of Hindi does he want to push as an alternative to English, since there are so many dialects of Hindi. Our party's stand is very clear on this issue ad that is we will resit this Hindi-imposition at any cost," she said.

Trinamool Congress MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy said that this Hindi- imposition attempt is to fulfil the long standing agenda of the BJP and the RSS of "One nation-one language-one religion," or "Hindi-Hindu-Hindustan," This attempt will create tension in the country since there are bound to be protests from non-Hindi speaking people. This is totally unconstitutional and rather an attempt to divert attention from burning issues like inflation and rising unemployment throughout the country. The Trinamool Congress will resist it at any cost, he said.

Almost echoing Deb and Roy, All-India Congress Committee (AICC) member from West Bengal, Subhankar Sarkar, said that Amit Shah is projecting juggled statistics to mislead the people on this issue.

"He is claiming that almost 70 per cent of the Union cabinet communiques are made in Hindi. But that cannot be a valid reason for this Hindi-position attempt. As per the latest statistics, 47 per cent of the country's population speaks in different dialects of Hindi, while the remaining 53 per cent speak in other Indian languages.

"So why impose a language spoken by 47 per cent of the population on the remaining 53 per cent. Secondly, the Union home minister should come clear on which dialect of Hindi he wants to promote as the official language as an alternative to English.

"Actually, these are nothing but tactics to divert attention from burning issues like price rise and unemployment. The current Union government is playing this attention-diversion tactics every time burning issues erupt. The latest example is the Union government's promotion of the movie, 'The Kashmir Files'," Sarkar told IANS.

The opinion expressed to IANS by the CPI(M) central committee member and former leader of the Left Parties in the West Bengal assembly Sujan Chakraborty was no different.

"This is a long standing agenda of the BJP and the RSS that the current Union government is trying to rake up. But this will be against the spirit of 'Unity in diversity'. This is bound to create a rift between the Hindi-speaking and non Hindi-speaking population of the country. This is yet another attempt to divert attention from issues bothering the common people every day," Chakraborty said.

Understanding that this was a sensitive issue concerning Bengal's sentiment with Bengali as its language, BJP spokesman in West Bengal Shamik Bhattacharya was extremely cautious about giving his reaction.

"It has become a habit of the Congress, the CPI(M) and the Trinamool Congress to oppose and politicise every proposal and initiative of the Union government. The Union home minister has just mooted a proposal based on some realities. I request the opposition leaders to be aware of the country's realities before politicizing any issue," he said.

--IANS<br>src/bg<br>