'Label Curd as Dahi, Local Names in Brackets': Hindi Imposition Cry After FSSAI Note to Karnataka

The Karnataka Milk Federation was asked to prominently label curd as 'dahi,' the Hindi word for it, and use the Kannada equivalent 'mosaru' in brackets. Tamil Nadu has also received a similar note, a report says.

New Delhi: The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has asked the Karnataka Milk Federation to prominently label curd as ‘dahi,’ the Hindi word for it, and use the Kannada equivalent ‘mosaru‘ in brackets on packaging, The Hindu has reported.

This update constitutes another chapter in an ongoing war between the southern states and the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Union government which has been eager to push Hindi as a national language.

The FSSAI has sent a similar note to the Tamil Nadu Co-operative Milk Producers Federation, whom it has asked to display ‘tayir‘, the Tamil equivalent of curd in brackets, beside the more prominent ‘dahi’.

These notes from the FSSAI have come after milk federations of these two southern states, along with Kerala, had requested that they be allowed to use local nomenclature in curd packets.

The letter received by the Karnataka Milk Federation is signed by FSSAI’s Joint Director (Science and Standard). It says:

“Dahi can be labelled as per the following examples. Dahi (Curd), Dahi (Mosaru), Dahi (Zaamut daud), Dahi (Tayir), Dahi (Perugu) or Dahi (Tair) etc., based on the regional nomenclature used in different states for Dahi.”

Narasimhamurthy, the president of Bengaluru Milk Union Limited, told Hindu that the federation is likely to seek a review of the decision. Several groups have already met authorities of the Karnataka Milk Federation and requested that the packets carry local words for curd more prominently.

Last year, Tamil Nadu chief minister M.K. Stalin – after certain recommendations had been made by the Committee of Parliament on Official Language headed by Union home minister Amit Shah – wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to raise his objections against what he called the Union government’s attempts to “impose Hindi by all possible avenues” in the country.

The Shah-led committee held that the medium of instruction in all technical or non-technical educational institutions should mandatorily be Hindi and other local languages.

Stalin called the move “impractical” and “divisive”, adding that it would put people from non-Hindi speaking states at a disadvantage and “jeopardise the spirit” of Union-state relations.

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan had also written to the prime minister noting his exception to the Shah-led panel’s recommendations.

Earlier last year, Shah had suggested that people from various states should communicate with each other in Hindi and not English.

Many opposition politicians and experts have criticised the idea of equating learning Hindi with nationalism considering that huge swathes of India’s population do not speak the language.