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Shah’s ‘Hindi politics’ is rooted in Devi Lal days of 1990s

Nagaland News

Nirendra Dev
NEW DELHI, APRIL 11: Things have come to a full circle. Late Atal Bihari Vajpayee used to say “as if we have come back to the same stage, where it all started”.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s making Hindi compulsory in India is rooted in one of those politics of cow belt politicians.
Devi Lal had tried his game with more intensity when he was Deputy Prime Minister under first multi-party Government of India headed by VP Singh.
He had even made a case of ‘translating’ Physics and Chemistry in academics to be implemented and studied in Hindi. Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav was another politician of that category who though pushing Hindi would endear him to Uttar Pradesh voters and make him indispensable and also Prime Minister one day.
Shah’s rhetoric is little baffling as the BJP is already a ‘solidly adorable’ party in Uttar Pradesh.
But more than the ‘baffling’ element there is a little communal angle to what the Union Home Minister is trying to push.
The BJP ~ even otherwise ~ makes a solid case of its pledge of radical nationalism ~ that is ‘One Country, One Religion, One Language and One Culture’.
Hence if there is a push for Hindi from his end ~ inarguably India’s second most powerful man after Prime Minister Narendra Modi ~ there is cause to be little worried.
The timing about the same is yet puzzling as the saffron party is gearing for next year’s polls in key States such as Karnataka (April-May 2023) and Nagaland, Meghalaya and Tripura in Feb-March 2023.
If this ‘imposing language’ issue is pursued the BJP would find going tough in these States.
Mizoram School Education Minister Lalchhandama Ralte said that the State Government did not give a nod to having Hindi as a compulsory subject in Classes up to 10 as announced by Shah.
This Christian-dominated and ‘language-sensitive’ State also goes to the polls by November-December 2023; and the saffron party will be keen to enhance its footprint in the State Legislature.
Now it has just one BJP MLA though MNF is its regional constituent of the saffron party-led
NEDA.
Closer home in Nagaland, the State School Education Department on Monday, April 11 clarified that Nagaland follows three-language formula up to Class 8 and Hindi is offered as a compulsory language subject up to Class 8 only.
The imposition of Hindi language is being opposed by southern States too.
The apprehension is the old and bitter rivalry between the cow belt and other States in east and south could revive in the new century when people have in general seemed to realise the futility of the entire game.
As it is, the main apprehension among religious minority leaders and a section of Left-liberals has been that the BJP could ‘change the constitution’ to discard the parliamentary system and impose Presidential form.
This fear is hardly new.
In the 1990s, when Indian politics had entered an era of coalition regimes, no less than veteran BJP leader LK Advani, a former Deputy Prime Minister, had floated the idea of a presidential form of government.
More broadly in 2019 after Narendra Modi mustered an enhanced mandate, many believed the BJP’s return, and the country’s ongoing march towards ‘Hindu majoritarianism’, is a near fatal situation for religious minorities, especially for Muslims.
Kewekhape Therie, president of the Nagaland State unit of the Congress and of course a Christian leader, saw the outcome of the elections to be a mandate for “religion polarization”.
Things need to be put on guard.

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