Language experts from Odisha have raised a strong voice against Union Home Minister Amit Shahs controversial statement on imposition of Hindi language on non-Hindi speaking states.Presiding over the 37th meeting of the Parliamentary Official Language Committee in New Delhi recently, Shah had said that Hindi should be the alternative to English for communication among Indians drawing ire from all.This statement from a tall leader like Shah has left the people of Odisha a worried lot as they have an emotional attachment with Odia language and feel proud of it.The roots of Odisha begun from the Odia language. Odisha was declared as a separate state on April 1, 1936 (pre-independent) for its language. In fact, Odisha is the first state, which has been declared as a separate province on linguistic basis.
"We strongly oppose the forceful imposition of Hindi on us. We had raised our voice in the past and we will never allow imposition of Hindi language on the Odia people," said Dillip Dashsharma, from Utkal Sammilani, which had played a major role in the formation of Odisha.In the National Education Policy (NEP), the Union government says that the medium of teaching at primary level will be in the mother tongue. However, the union home minister is contradicting the policy, he said.Similarly, Tathagata Satpathy, a former MP from Odisha, has also strongly opposed this statement of Shah. Writing an editorial titled "Hindi Again" in his English daily newspaper, Orissa Post, Satpathy said forcible imposition of Hindi will squeeze other regional languages and probably the present political leadership hopes fluent Hindi speaking leaders will then seem more appealing to voters all across the country.
"It is up to the states to decide what their language of communication should be. There cannot be a fiat from the Centre not to use English. There is no doubt that English is a foreign language but it is equally foreign for all citizens," the former Parliamentarian said.Stating India too is a very diverse country, he said any use of force today could possibly result in unforeseeable disasters tomorrow.Hrushikesh Mallick, president of Odisha Sahitya Akademi, too expressed his displeasure over Shah's controversial statement. Mallick said he is not against the Hindi language. However, it should be forcefully imposed on all, he said."Hindi should be an optional language. Mother tongue, in Odisha, it is Odia, must remain the first language for the people of our state," said Mallick.