In India, the people of the Tamil-speaking city of Madras have been protesting against what they see as government imposition of the Hindi language.
In India, the people of the Tamil-speaking city of Madras have been protesting against what they see as government imposition of the Hindi language. Tamil-speaking protest leaders say they were promised that English would be used as a second language throughout the sub-continent, in order to protect the many regional languages from being annihilated by the Hindi language. Hindi is spoken by the majority of people in government and civil service positions in the capital, New Delhi.
SYNOPSIS: Motorcyclists led the procession of demonstrators through the streets of Madras on Friday (26 January). Many people carried black flags as a sign of mourning. Prominent figures -- including former chief minister of the state of Tamil Nadu, Dr Karunanidhi -- dressed from head to toe in black.
The people of south India have always strongly defended their regional languages and culture. Those who have died for the cause are venerated as martyrs. The Madras demonstration was noisy -- but there was no violence. In a speech the previous day, Dr Karunanidhi accused the central government of spending large sums of money on the development of Hindi -- a predominantly northern language -- to the detriment of others.
Dr. Karunanidhi made it clear that the people were not opposed to Hindi itself, but merely to the imposition of it on those who wished to retain their own language -- in this instance the Tamil-speaking population of Madras.