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Centre releases new draft policy to calm anti-Hindi protesters | Centre releases new draft policy to calm anti-Hindi protesters | English.Lokmat.Com

Centre releases new draft policy to calm anti-Hindi protesters

The Central government on Monday released a revised Draft National Education Policy (DNEP) after several states opposed the compulsory teaching of Hindi in schools under the three-language formula.
Centre releases new draft policy to calm anti-Hindi protesters

The government unveiled the revised DNEP after removing the controversial portions that angered states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and West Bengal.

The original DNEP, under the heading 'Flexibility in the choice of languages', read: "In keeping with the principle of flexibility, students who wish to change one of the three languages they are studying may do so in Grade 6, so long as the study of three languages by students in the Hindi-speaking states would continue to include Hindi and English and one of the modern Indian languages from other parts of India, while the study of languages by students in the non-Hindi-speaking states would include the regional language, Hindi and English."

This mandatory clause was met with uproar from politic and citizens most vociferously in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, who called it an attempt to impose Hindi on non-Hindi-speaking people, ignoring the country's diverse linguistic fabric.

The new DNEP has reworded the para as: "In keeping with the principle of flexibility, students who wish to change one or more of the three languages they are studying may do so in Grade 6 or Grade 7, so long as they are able to still demonstrate proficiency in three languages (one language at the literature level) in their modular Board Examinations some time during secondary school."

It underlined that for the purpose of national integation, schools in Hindi-speaking areas should also offer and teach Indian languages from other parts of the country.

The DNEP was uploaded on the HRD Ministry's website on Friday to seek recommendations from the public as well as the other states.

It sparked a major row, with the most strident opposition coming from Tamil Nadu. Even NDA constituent AIADMK, the ruling party, said it wouldn't discontinue the two-language formula followed by the state which does not mandate teaching Hindi.

Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday joined the slugfest, terming the mandatory Hindi teaching a "brutal assault" on non-Hindi speaking states.

"For us Kannada is an identity, and learning any other language should be by choice and not by imposition," he tweeted.

The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) joined the issue. "Hindi is not our mother tongue, do not enforce it on us and incite us," the party's official twitter handle said.

The West Bengal government was equally livid.

On Sunday, the Centre deputed senior cabinet ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and S. Jaishankar to calm the flaring tempers.

The newly sworn-in Ministers tweeted in Tamil as well as English reassuring the people that no language will be imposed and the policy will not be effected without consultations with the other states.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said: "The committee on new education policy has submitted its report. The government has not taken any decision on it."

Javadekar, who was the Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister in the previous NDA government, said all Indian languages will be promoted.

Tamil Nadu witnessed serious anti-Hindi protests in 1965, resulting in several deaths in police firing.

The agitation spearheaded by the DMK was one of the major reasons it was catapulted to power in the state in 1967, displacing the Congress.

Even during the 1930s prior to Indian independence the erstwhile Madras Presidency witnessed protests when the then Congress government wanted Hindi to be introduced as a subject in schools.

( With inputs from IANS )

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