Tamil Nadu finance minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan, in a blunt and hard-hitting interview to The Wire, made clear his and his government’s opposition to the recent recommendations by the Parliamentary Committee on Official Languages, led by Union home minister Amit Shah, that the medium of instruction should mandatorily be Hindi, and local languages, in all technical or non-technical educational institutions in the country.
Rajan described the Committee’s recommendations as “comprehensively unacceptable” and said that they are “profoundly wrong, regressive and retarding”. And while clarifying that he is not predicting the future, he recalled how when similar, lesser steps were taken in the 1930s and 1960s, it led to “very bad outcomes” in Tamil Nadu, referring to the past protests against the imposition of Hindi.
In the 28-minute interview to The Wire’s Karan Thapar, the state finance minister said, “We are not going to be accepting of any efforts to suppress our language at the cost of promoting another.”
When asked, Rajan also said that he “presumed” that the state’s ruling DMK government would take the matter to court, remarking that that would be an “almost natural outcome”.
Through the course of the interview, Rajan discusses the implication of the recommendations, the potential impact they would have on South Indian students, and the broader impacts they would have on Indians vying for top international positions, giving the example of Google CEO Sundar Pichai and arguing that if he had been mandated to learn Hindi when he studied at IIT-Kharagpur, he may never have become the chief of the tech giant.
To know more about what the Tamil Nadu finance minister had to say, watch the interview below.