When Modi wished he could speak Tamil?
Some see the BJP as a 'North Indian' party that is hell bent on imposing Hindi across the country. In Tamil Nadu, the DMK has openly warned the Centre against imposing Hindi and threatened of agitation if it does so. MK Stalin has been most vocal of the 'anti-Hindi' crusaders in recent times, but his remarks seemed more politically motivated than driven by conviction.
Ours is a country of immense diversity and this gives politicians an oppurtunity to carve a niche vote bank for themselves by pitting one set of people against the other. For the betterment of the country, it is important for soceity to be aware of this and not fall prey to the calls of intolerance. Tolerance and acceptance are and will always remain basis for India's 'Unity in diversity'.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with the students for nearly two hours on February 16. He advised them on a variety of topics to help them deal with their exam stress. He also advised parents to not overburden their children with expectations and emphasised a lot on the importance of self confidence.
At least twice during the'Pariksha pe Charcha' session, Modi wished he could speak to all the children across the country in their mother tongues. He urged the schools and other officials involved to ensure that his message to students gets conveyed in their language. The PM, acknowledging the linguistic diversity of India, apologized for not being able to speak other languages.
While calling Tamil a beautiful language, Modi really felt bad that he could not speak in Tamil to students of Tamil Nadu.
"I always feel that knowledge of languages should exist. Not many people know, but the Tamil language is older than Sanskrit. It is the oldest language..It is such a beautiful language, but I feel bad that I can't speak it. I only know how to say 'vanakkam' and I regret that I cannot go beyond this," he said.
In a broader context, the BJP badly wants to do away with the image of a 'Hindi pushing' party, especially in the South. Vice President Venkaiah Naidu has on many occasions emphasised on the importance of regional languages. He has even called for court judgements to be readout in regional languages so that locals easily understand it.
Other than Karnataka, the BJP does not have much of a say in other southern states. To make inroads in South India, it is essential that the saffron party formulates a region oriented strategy that gives importance to local language and culture.
It worth noting that the RSS has been able to it. RSS has a strong presence in Coastal Karnataka where Tulu and Konkani are widely spoken along with Kannada. Not being an organisation born in Karnakata did not stop people from following the Sangh ideology. So, ideology, if promoted with regional flavour will appeal to people and this is something BJP has been trying to do in South.