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Dravidar Kazhagam president K. Veeramani and Tamil Nadu Higher Education Minister K. Ponmudy said attempts to impose Hindi will never work in Tamil Nadu, while speaking at the two-day national-level conference on “education, social justice and federalism”, organised by the students wing of DMK that began here, on Saturday.
Inaugurating the conference, Mr. Veeramani said even C. Rajagopalachari (Rajaji), who, according to him was often described as an extremely clever person, had to change his stance on Hindi. He pointed out that Rajaji, who vehemently opposed the anti-Hindi struggle from 1937 to 1939, had to change his stance to “English ever, Hindi never,” in the mid-sixties.
‘Acting against Constitution’
Stating that Chief Minister M.K. Stalin was providing exemplary governance as per the “Dravidian model,” he blamed the Union government for acting against the Constitution by blocking the Bills passed by the Legislature. Even the Supreme Court had recently remarked about such unconstitutional steps taken by the Governor’s office, he said.
He said the National Education Policy (NEP), which the Union government is trying to push through several channels, should in fact be termed as “No education policy” as it will deny education to those from disadvantaged sections of the society.
He appealed to the students who took part in the conference to know about the history of the Dravidian movement’s fight towards social justice and against Hindi imposition.
‘Know the struggles’
Mr. Ponmudy said while the Tamil Nadu government was not against anyone learning Hindi as per their need, it was opposed to any kind of imposition of the language. Recollecting that it was the student community that led the anti-Hindi struggle in the sixties, he said it was important for the present generation also to know these struggles and be socially and politically aware.
Tamil Nadu State Planning Commission Vice-Chairman J. Jeyaranjan said the “Dravidian model” of governance was the one that achieved good results in both industrial and economic growth and human development index. Many claims made by the much-hyped “Gujarat model” of governance were false and the State provided growth only to a smaller section of people without addressing social inequities. On the other hand, while Kerala performed extremely well in terms of the human development index, it did not see adequate industrial and economic growth, he said. Stating that Tamil Nadu had achieved both, he credited late Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi for laying a strong foundation for this when he first came to power. “Though AIADMK came to power subsequently, it could not deviate from this path laid by him,” he said.
Justice G.M. Akbar Ali, former Judge of the Madras High Court, spoke on the need to move back the subject of education from the Concurrent list of the Constitution to the State list. The implication of moving it from the State list to Concurrent list was not realised when it was done as part of the 42nd amendment during the Emergency. Arguing that federalism was a basic feature of the Constitution, he said moving education to the Concurrent list, therefore, affected the Constitution’s basic structure.