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Centre is not imposing Hindi or any language on Tamil Nadu, says Governor

By Karthik Madhavan

The Central government did not impose Hindi or any language on Tamil Nadu, Governor R.N. Ravi said at the 37 th convocation of Bharathiar University on Friday.

“An impression has been created that the Government of India is trying to impose Hindi on Tamil Nadu. Or any language for that matter. This is far from the truth and is incorrect,” he said after Minister for Higher Education K. Ponmudy had appealed to the Governor to appreciate the fact that the State had for long adopted a two-language policy.

Mr. Ravi said the Central government, in fact, was keen on promoting all regional languages as could be seen in the thrust it had given to mother tongues in the National Education Policy. In a recent conference of the Justices of High Courts too, the Prime Minister had spoken about making regional languages the official court language.

The Prime Minister had emphasised the point that that those knocking on the courts’ doors should understand the justice delivered to them, he said and added that the University Grants Commission had also suggested using regional languages as the medium of instruction in law colleges.

Praising the antiquity of Tamil and its rich content, the Governor said the State government should consider setting up Tamil chairs in universities in other States and not confine itself to Tamil chairs in institutions in European countries and the United States of America. It was with the idea of spreading Tamil in the north that the Prime Minister had facilitated the establishment of the Subramanya Bharathi chair in the Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Mr. Ravi said.

Higher Education Minister Ponmudy said Tamil Nadu had adopted the two-language policy, teaching English and Tamil to students — the former for international use and the latter for regional use. The two languages were sufficient. He requested the Governor to understand the State government’s stand on the issue that it was for the two-language formula and was not opposed to Hindi but only its imposition and convey it to the Centre.

Those who advocated the learning of Hindi mentioning the employment opportunities that it brought with it would do well to explain why Hindi-speaking persons sold ‘paani poori’ in Tamil Nadu, Mr. Ponmudy said and added that the State government had no objection to Hindi being taught as an optional subject.

Quoting statistics on the number of women who received their certificates at the convocation, the Minister said for a long time, Tamil Nadu had been ahead of other States in higher education, and the number of women graduating today was proof of the Dravidian Model’s success. Gone were the days when women were discouraged from higher education. This was the change brought about by Periyar, he said.

In his convocation address, former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman K. Sivan said overcoming the fear of failure and turning challenges into opportunities were what brought success in life, and this was true of ISRO as well. Recalling the mandate given by the Prime Minister to send a manned mission to space, Mr. Sivan said this would be a reality very soon.

Vice-Chancellor P. Kaliraj highlighted progress the Bharathiar University had made since the last convocation.

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