Why are those speaking Hindi selling ‘Paani Puri'? Tamil Nadu minister stirs row amid language war
Chennai, May 13: Why are those speaking Hindi selling 'Paani Puri' in Tamil Nadu, asked the state's higher education minister Dr K Ponmudy amid Hindi imposition row.
Taking a dig at those who insist jobs will be available for those who learn Hindi, the minister asked who are selling 'pani puri' in the city now, an obvious reference to the predominantly Hindi-speaking vendors involved in the trade.
His comments came at the 37th convocation of Bharathiar University here, presided over by state Governor R N Ravi, also the varsity Chancellor, where the minister reiterated the ruling DMK's stand against 'imposition' of Hindi, a claim which Ravi sought to dismiss by saying "there is no question of imposition of Hindi or any other language on anyone." Ponmudy said he used the platform to highlight Tamil Nadu's sentiments over the language issue as the Governor would convey them to the Centre.
He recalled that English and Tamil have been in vogue in Tamil Nadu for long and that the same will continue while students were not against learning other languages, including Hindi. "Many said you will get jobs if you learn Hindi. Is it so...look here in Coimbatore, who is selling pani puri. It is them (Hindi-speaking individuals)," he said.
"If a cat can go through a hole, can't a rat," he asked cryptically.
Ponmudy said students of the state were ready to learn any language and that they were not against other languages including Hindi.
Noting that the state government was ready to adopt good schemes in the New Education Policy (NEP 2020), the minister said there should not be any imposition of Hindi and students can prefer any language as the third option, but the state will follow the system prevailing now.
Alleging Hindi imposition through NEP 2020, the Tamil Nadu government has already said the two-language policy, comprising Tamil and English, will continue to remain in practice.
"We don't want to agitate against the good things in NEP. We are ready to follow them. But at the same time, in Tamil Nadu we should have our own language. India is a land of unity in diversity. In Tamil Nadu we should follow our own education system...we should follow certain good policies from the NEP," Ponmudy added.
There was a time when society barred education to women. However, the 'Dravidian Model' has created a system, where education was for all and women students outnumber their male counterparts in higher education, as this is social reformer Periyar's land, he said.