Deputy speaker of Lok Sabha and AIADMK leader M Thambidurai demanded that all languages must be called national and given an official status. On Wednesday, during a discussion to mark the 75th anniversary of the Quit India movement in Lok Sabha, Thambidurai said people from all languages had fought for the freedom of the country and it was Parliament’s “bounden duty” to treat each of them equally, instead of giving priority to any one language.
His remarks come at a time when the BJP has been pushing to make Hindi the national language of India which is turning into a sensitive issue across the south of India. He read from a newspaper the pledges proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said he wanted to add some.
“Let us pledge to see that all our languages are called national languages and not regional languages. Let us pledge to see that all languages, including Tamil, Telugu, Bengali are recognised as official languages of this country,” he said.
To make it impactful, Thambidurai began his speech in Tamil first but couldn’t be understood by most lawmakers. And as some members questioned about it, he said this was the situation that if he has to speak in Tamil, he has to get permission in advance. “I am forced to speak in English or Hindi,” he added.
While members cannot hear the speech in vernacular languages such as Tamil and Bengali, they are forced to hear it in either Hindi or English, the two languages in which translation is available, Thambidurai said.