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‘Hindi the language of underdeveloped states’: DMK MP stokes controversy, clarifies later

The Financial Express logo The Financial Express 06-06-2022 FE Online
PM Narendra Modi had said that his government was fully committed to popularising Tamil and Tamil culture. (Photo source: ANI) © Provided by The Financial Express PM Narendra Modi had said that his government was fully committed to popularising Tamil and Tamil culture. (Photo source: ANI)

After referring to the Hindi language as one “reserved for Shudras”, ruling DMK MP from Tamil Nadu, TKS Elangovan, on Monday defended his remarks and that caste segregation was not encouraged in the South unlike the North, and blamed the Hindi language for “dividing South Indians”.

Talking to news agency ANI, Elangovan said, “I didn’t coin the word ‘Shudra’. Tamil society is an equanimous society and didn’t practice class difference in the south. Because of the entry of the language from North, it has divided us also. People during Dravidian movement fought for education rights of Shudras, OBCs.” Elangovan further added that Hindi was imposed upon them by North India and subsequently, brought about all the relevant cultural practices along.

“What I said was that when Hindi entered it may bring the cultural practice which was enforced in the north to us. So it will confirm our Shudra class, I meant,” said Elangovan.

Earlier, in a controversial statement, TKS Elangovan warned that the introduction of Hindi in Tamil Nadu will convert everyone into a ‘Shudra.’ “Hindi is the native tongue in only underdeveloped states like Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Rajasthan, ” said Elangovan, while adding, “Look at West Bengal, Odisha, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Punjab. Aren’t all these developed states? Hindi is not the mother tongue of the people of these states.”

“Hindi will convert us to Shudras. Hindi will be no good for us,” Elangovan further added.

The language row erupted back in April when Union Home minister Amit Shah declared that Hindi should be seen as an alternative to English instead of other local languages, creating a stir in the southern states.

Earlier, the Tamil Nadu higher education minister K Ponmudy had passed a “pani puri” jibe when asked about the employability of the Hindi-speaking population.

Clarifying his “pani-puri” remark, the TN minister told a local news channel, “There are people saying that those who learn Hindi will get jobs. It is true that many Tamils are also going to other states for work. But most of the Hindi-speaking people, who are coming to Tamil Nadu, are running pani puri shops — that is what I meant. My statement never meant to portray anyone in the wrong sense. My point was just that learning Hindi and job opportunities have no relation with one another.”

Last month, PM Modi, while speaking at an event in Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai, said, “It is always special to come to the state of Tamil Nadu. The land is a special one. The people, culture, language are all so good. Tamil language is eternal and Tamil culture is global.”

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