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Hindi was to become the official language of the Indian Union after January 26, 1965, according to Article 343 of the Constitution of India. The Tamil people prepared themselves for a massive Constitutional agitation on the 26th January 1965 to express their strong resentment against the imposition of Hindi. True to the tradition of all establishments, the then Congress Government of Madras led by Thiru M. Bhaktavatsalam, looked at the forthcoming agitation of January 26 as a law and order problem and failed to properly appreciate the explosive situation that was in the making. On the night of 25th January 1965, Anna and 3000 of his party men were taken into preventive custody and were released only on 2nd February 1965, Tamil Nadu witnessed a mass upsurge and mass fury followed by violence in a number of places that it has seldom witnessed in its history. Two Congress Ministers, Thiruvalargal C. Subramniam and O.V. Alagesan, resigned from the Central Cabinet on the language issue, after the arrest of Anna and the Leaders of the DMK Party, the students took over the leadership of the movement.

Following his release from the prison, Anna was participating in the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address in the Rajya Sabha. He takes the occasion to repudiate on behalf of his Party, any responsibility for the violence that followed the agitation.

Anna was not dogmatic in opposing Hindi’s becoming a common language for all times. He speaks in the language of a statesman when he says “perhaps we were not the proper persons, having certain live passions with us, to arrive at a solution to this problem.”

The language agitations that took place in Tamil Nadu in January and February 1965 and the earnest pleas of statesmen like Anna at the Rajya Sabha had its effect in slowing down the pace of imposition of Hindi in the country as a whole.

annaANNA SPEAKS AT THE RAJYA SABHA

March 4, 1965

Anna: MADAM Deputy Chairman, we thank the President for the Address that he was pleased to deliver to Parliament on the 17th of February, welcoming the Members of Parliament and pointing out the strenuous efforts they have to make “to guide the nation with unflinching faith and firm resolve.” I do not think that the inclusion of the words, ‘unflinching’ and ‘firm’ is without significance. Perhaps the President feels, and rightly so that the methods by which we are guiding the nation, and our resolve, are not up to the mark. The people today find that this Government has led the country and the people to great dangers, the dangerous food situation, the high prices, corruption and laxity in various other sphere. Therefore, we cannot accept the President’s remarks that his Government has carried out all that was expected of them.

Now the one point on which everyone of us should echo the sentiments expressed by the President is in expressing our distress over the violent activities in the southern part of the country. Nobody feels happy about it, especially the people coming from the State. Nobody can encourage it, especially those people who are intimately connected with the welfare of the country and the people who are affected by the outburst of violence.

Therefore, if any Member here or elsewhere thinks that people in the South of any political persuasion, encouraged or instigated violence, my answer would be that they are misreading not merely the history of this country, not merely the present trends, but also the functioning of the various political parties. I along with the President and members of this august House, am one with them in condemning the outburst of violence. Though our party has been held responsible for all these things, I most sincerely and honestly declare that it had no part, in either the student’s agitation, or in the subsequent violent activities. I am saying that not merely to vindicate the fair name of my Party but especially to convince the Hon. Members of this august House that we have a philosophy as noble as that of any other political party, and therefore there is no connection with the students’ agitation as far as the DMK is concerned. The view of the party was that this.

G. Ramachandran (Nominated): May I ask a question? Is the unity of India part of that philosophy?

Anna: The unity of India has been taken to be a part and parcel of our philosophy; not because of your legislation but because of the Chinese menace. We felt that we should stand or fall together.

G. Ramachandran: Supposing the Chinese menace is taken away, will you go back to disunity?

Anna: I mentioned the Chinese menace as a symbol, not as the only reason. And since the Prime Minister is here and since I had no occasion to have an intimate talk with him about the happenings in the South and since he has been supplied only with the Government’s version about what happened, I may take this House into my confidence and state that the student agitation was started on 25th January and I along with 3000 of my partymen was arrested on the midnight of the 25th and we were released only on February 2nd. About the violent activities that took place between 25th January and the 2nd February, we read in the papers inside the Jail. To level the charge against the DMK of having instigated these things, is not only irrelevant and off the mark, but it cuts at the very root of the noble principles to which we are wedded. I know that the Prime Minister of the country, has seen both Chauri Chaura and Jallianwallah. He has seen detention as well as defiance of law. Nobody present here has got as rich an experience of human passions as he, and he knows how, when human passions are not allowed to have a constitutional outlet, those human passion surge and inundate every sphere of human activity. So even if some people come to the hasty conclusion that some political part has been behind these things, I do not think that the Prime Minister of this country, the Hon. Shri Lal Bahadur will rush to that hasty conclusion of charging DMK with all these activities.

As a matter of fact, if my party supplies him with adequate material he will find, and he will be convinced, that we have not written a single appeal, not written a single editorial, not written a single article, either welcoming or encouraging such agitation. As a matter of fact, speaking personally and I am speaking on behalf of my party too – we are a party to an honourable settlement in our part in political agitations. I charge the party to which the Prime Minister belongs, of having broken that pledge in our State. The DMK kept aloof from all student activities. But the leaders of the Congress party in Madras went all the way to Tanjore to convene a youth congress or youth student’s organization. May it not be appropriate if I were to inform this House that one of the student leaders still belongs to the youth congress, and that the student leader was arrested and kept in Jail and against him there is a prosecution pending. He belongs to the youth congress, and he also happens to be the son of the police officer. Therefore, to charge the DMK of having instigated all these things, is off the mark and I have stated that not merely to vindicate the fair name of my party. If this august House got the wrong impression, if you allow yourself to become the victims of obsession, you are not going to solve the problem. If you think that a particular political party is at the back of it, then the next thought would be how best to put it down and what ought to be the repressive measures to put down that political party. You may succeed in that. You have got adequate powers.

But let me tell you this, that if you are in the clutches of that obsession, you are not going to solve the wider, the general and more necessary problem of how best to curtail outbursts of violence. We discussed not only in this House, but in the whole country, how best to curtail the outbursts of violent activities. Did we not discuss it in this country when there was violence for the formation of the Andhra State? What did we do at that time? We appealed to noble human instincts. We stood up against violence. Otherwise we are not going to solve any problem. What did you do when there was the Maharashtra agitation and that agitation took a violent turn? We again met in conferences and seminars and committee rooms, and we appealed to the people to give up violence. They gave up violence, but when? When the Maharashtra State was a reality. Was there not an outburst of violence with regard to Maha Gujarat and even with regard to Vidarbha? Did not the grand old man of the Congress, Shri M.S. Aney, stand for Vidarbha? We were all witness to all those ghastly things that took place during the language riots between the Assamese and the Bengalees.

Therefore, my point is, however much we may be against violence, whatever may be our sermons and quotations from the scriptures, this instinct of violence has not been curbed. Then how are we going to tackle it? That ought to be the problem that the Government headed by the distinguished Members, who have seen as I have said, both Chauri Chaura and Jallianwallah, should tackle. They should look at that aspect. Instead of that, they are getting support from laws that are already in their hands and through the D.I.R. as well. Therefore, the first point that I would like to make is this; try to analyse and probe the matter as to how and why peaceful people - I would even say docile people - how was it possible for them to become so ferocious within 24 hours? In the towns where this violence took place, I have not seen in any of these towns any people with ferocity. I have gone to almost all these towns, more than once. And all those people are peace loving. And yet when the spate of violence broke, they broke all canons of even decency.

All human values were set at naught. You ought to find out the real reasons behind these outbursts of violence. I would say that violence after all its uncontrolled emotion. Violence is uncontrolled emotion and you are not going to put down violence by police methods along, because we have not yet arrived at - the world itself has not yet arrived at - the correct answer to this question, which follows which. People argue that violence follows repression; there are others who argue that repression follows violence. The world has not yet come to a proper answer because there are two parties to the issue and that is why in our country, most of the Bar Association have passed resolutions saying that there ought to be a judicial enquiry into every one of these activities and also a probe into the language problem.

Many Hon. Friends of this House have been talking for the past two days and when I heard some of them speak I was not angry. I was in agony. They were saying that there was bad propaganda in Tamil Nad, that there was a misapprehension about the whole issue, that we have got unjustifiable fears and so on. Please do not underestimate our intelligence. There is absolutely no misapprehension. There is real and genuine apprehension. There is a lot of difference between misapprehension and apprehension and I am happy to find that the President is employing the word “apprehension” whereas the Prime Minister times without number, is employing the word “misapprehension”. We are not just a score of erring school students. We are not oblivious of reality. We have read into everyone of your activities. We have read into everyone of your explanations and all the explanations offered hitherto have not satisfied out soul. It is so easy to argue that a common language is needed for the unity of India.

Before we analyse that, may I request the Members of this august House to make a distinction between unity and uniformity. Is it merely unity that you want? You want uniformity that you are going to aim at, you are not going to achieve it come what may. This country consists, as the late Prime Minister has stated in this very august House, of different ethnic elements, different cultural elements and different linguistic groups. It is only unity within this diversity that we should arrive at, and not by destroying the fine niceties of this diversity, mistaking uniformity for unity. May I ask Members of this House and the Prime Minister whether language alone is the cementing force needed for the unity of this country? Is it language alone that stands as a handicap to that unity? Certainly not. There are regional imbalances, there are regional leanings, there are linguistic leanings. All these things have got to be bridged if you want to have a sort of unity without uniformity for this country.

Akbar Ali Khan: Would you like to have a lingua franca or not for this country? If so, what should be the lingua franca?

Anna: I would like to have a lingua franca for India through a very natural process, in due course of time, without the backing of a Government and it ought to be sponsored by the people. Anything coming from the Government, especially from this Government, is anathema for millions of our people.

When I speak of any proposal from this Government, I was mentioning the Central Government, I have got a sneaking sympathy, affection for my own Government. Therefore, I would say that you show haste to find out a common language for this country in the name of unity of this country, when we are discussing the Official Languages Bill here. I said that perhaps we were not the proper persons, having certain live passions with us, we are not perhaps the proper persons to arrive at a solution to this problem.

My friend, Mr. Mani speaking the other day, pleaded for twenty year lease of life for English. There were others who said fifteen years or ten years. Leave aside the number of years. What does that signify? They are not prepared to take Hindi as the official language now. What does that show? An apprehension, a very genuine apprehension, in the minds of people, irrespective of parties. Therefore, should you not take into consideration the genuine apprehension in the minds of people irrespective of parties? My friend, who preceded me, said “be firm”. He asked our Prime Minister to be firm. I know the dictum in politics that hand. In spite of this apparent weakness, I know the Prime Minister has got an iron hand. but to win hearts, iron hands are not necessary. You can break heads but to win hearts something better than iron hands are needed and I think that the Prime Minister of this country is capable of both a golden heart and iron hands.

M. Ruthanasamy: We do not see the heart, but we see the hand.

Anna: I still have confidence in human generosity. I have not lost confidence. He should have the golden heart. I may even add, gold of pre-Morarji days, not fourteen carat. Therefore, when Members, of this House were telling us that there is misapprehension, I wanted to clear the misapprehension under which they are suffering; what is our objection to Hindi? I want to be very plain and very frank. We have no objection to any language. Especially when I hear my friend, Mr. Vajpayee, speaking, I think that is a very good language but when I hear other Hindi speakers, I think, “Oh no, it is not as good as that of Mr. Vajpayee.” Therefore, I would say that we are not only not prepared for Hindi, but Hindi itself is not prepared to become the official language. Have you taken into consideration the deficiency in that language? And is it with such a defective language that you want to bulldoze all other languages? Certainly not. Even Pakistan tried and failed. I would plead with the Prime Minister to take our viewpoint into consideration even though a colleague of his has stated “Be firm.” Be firm certainly, when you deal with the Chinese but not with your own countrymen. Be fine in your feelings, be golden in your heart and be statesmanlike at every step you take, because one step faultily taken by you will create a conflagration in this country. I can charge this government, and even my government, with having committed acts of commission and omission. I was talking about the 25th of January. We had our program on the 26th to have a day of protest or a day of mourning not against the republic day celebrations, but against the imposition of Hindi as announced on the 26th.

What would the prime minister expect of the mood that ought to be adopted by the ministers there? The chairman of my party happens to be the leader of my opposition in the house there. Have we not the right to expect the chief minister of our state to ask for the leader of the of the opposition and have a discussion on this matter? Have we become so unpatriotic, so belittled, that we should not be taken into confidence by the chief minister of the state? I found from the papers that the prime minister, Mr. Lal Bahadur Shastri, has announced that he is going to convene a meeting of party leaders here. If he were to follow the diplomacy or the statesmanship of the chief minister of my state, he would not have issued such a statement because from the 25th, right up to this date, the chief minister of madras has followed a policy, unimaginative, undemocratic and unhelpful in this attitude. I very much expected when the prime minister was there in Kerala that he would visit our state, I do not know whether he took the decision himself or whether somebody asked him to take that decision; he did not visit our state.

I went through the proceedings in the papers when there was that Assam Riot. When riots took place in Assam on the language question, I found from the papers that the late lamented prime minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, flew all the way to Assam, toured the entire Assam state, addressed four or five public meetings at Shillong, Now gong and other places and assuaged the feelings of the people there. What have you done? I put the question not in the anger but in agony. When our men were being shot down dead, when our property was being destroyed, when our people were hunted like wild animals, you came to Kerala and yet you did not have the courtesy to come to the state of madras. You could have addressed through the AIR, and asked the people to be calm. I may add, that next to Jawaharlal Nehru we hold you in very high esteem, and yet you failed as the appropriate moment. I am very sorry. I do not think we needed help in any other matter, or at any other time except at that time.

Our chief minister would not take into his confidence the Vice-Chancellors, members of the bar, magnates of the press or political party leaders: he would not take into his confidence only the I.G of Police, and the commissioner of police. It was only law and order. Nanda was present in his fullest form, not Shastri sand that is why the situation was aggravated. And if you take that into consideration, you would at least suggest to the State Government not to go on issuing newer and newer irritants by arresting wholesale, DMK members using even the DIR. The treasurer of the party, deputy leader of opposition, in the state assembly, Mr. Karunanidhi is being under the DIR.

My friend MR. Bhupesh Gupta, with righteous indignation questioned the necessity and the justifiability of extending the life of the DIR and he has himself answered, that it is not for the security of this country, but the security of the ruling party. How are you going to answer that charge? That charge does not come from Mr. Bhupesh Gupta alone; it comes from popular opinion. People think that you use only police methods and not political methods. How do other countries under such circumstances solve the problem? We have got our linguistic problem here.

My friend Mr. Vajpayee, would like to have Hindi alone as the official language. My friend Mr. Mani, would like to plead for a twenty years’ lease. The prime minister of this country would like to say, Of course Hindi will come but it will come in its own way. Mr. Nanda will go and issue a statement one day that Hindi is bound to come. Another day he says that indefinite bilingualism cannot be avoided. What are we talking about? Is there anything definite in any one of these statements? Is it policy or expediency? Are you trying to assuage us or are you going to appraise the situation? That is why when I spoke on the Official Language Bill last time, I said that the time for appraisal has come. You cannot present a fait accompli from the Constitution and say, here in the Constitution it is said that Hindi is the official language and therefore it ought to be there for all time to come and when I question the necessity the sanctity and the justifiability of Hindi’s being the official language, I am not questioning or going against the Constitution. In fact, if I were to be very dedicated to the constitution I would plead for amendments to the constitution wherever I find that amendments to the Constitution wherever I find that an amendment is needed.

Our Constitution is not rigid: framers of the Constitution at that time thought that Hindi alone should become the official language. That was the day when the Union Jack was brought down, and the tricolour flag fluttered high above the skies. When you, the resurrectors of this country, the freedom fighters, sat together jubilantly, you could not have been expected to take a telescopic view of this problem. That is not a defect that I am pointing out. When one is in a jubilant mood, he is not expected to have a telescopic vision of things.

Fifteen to seventeen years afterwards, how many things have happened which belie the necessity of, or the justifiability for Hindi? What are the arguments advanced even by the most enthusiastic of thee Hindi – keeping people? They say that forty per cent of the speak Hindi and therefore it should become the official language or the common language. We have rebutted that argument times without number that if you can even say that twenty percent of people all over India speak Hindi there is justification enough for making it a common language or a link language or the official language. But your forty percent is confined to a particular area, U.P., Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan, contiguous places and therefore it has not permeated into Indian society and that is why we say that the argument that forty percent of the people speak Hindi is not valid for making it the official language for India.

You have also put forward the argument that English being a foreign language, we should give it up and take one of the Indian languages. I am not enamored of English. He is my friend, the Hon. Mr C. Subramaniam. He was there when I was a Member there. Did he see me speaking in English at any time in our Assembly? No. I remember the time when there was a privilege Motion, and both of us spoke in English. At every other time Mr Subramaniam and myself and most of the members of our Party spoke in Tamil and not in English. Please do not think that we are enamored of English. And I may say that whatever the English language could give, we have already taken and imported into our Tamil language.

I can make bold to say that next to English if you make Tamil the official language next week, it will fulfill all purposes. The Tamil language has developed to such an extent as far as parliamentary affairs are concerned. When I say that English ought to continue as an official language, I am not pleading for English. At least if I had pleaded for English when the British were here, I would have been compensated, but what do I get now if I plead for English? Please do not think that the DMK is enamored of it.

On the other hand, may I ask you, if you are so much against English, do you dare give up English altogether? You have taken English as one of the three languages to be compulsorily studied. Therefore, I cannot find out what you are arriving at: whether you antipathic to English, or whether you are swearing from English. I can understand my friend, MR. Vajpayee. He can understand me, but both of us can never understand you. That is the whole trouble. That is why I say that there ought to be a general, genuine reappraisal of the whole problem.

Akbar Ali Khan: we will accept the compromise formula reached between you and Mr. Vajpayee.

Anna: If the ruling party were to give us a bank cheque and say that they will carry out what myself and Mr. Vajpayee say, we are prepared, but I know your attitude towards Mr. Vajpayee and myself. Therefore, I am not going to walk into that snare. I was talking about the policy of the government with regard to English, whether they are against it, or for it. I cannot understand. When I read the three language formula, I think that they are not prepared to give up English. When I plead to them to continue English as the official language and when they question the validity of it, I think that they are against it. Therefore, the whole thing, including your foreign policy, your economic policy, your language policy, is all what is called mixed. You have a mixed economy, non-alignment and a mixture in linguistic passions.

Mixture is a general term. What is happening today is not mixture, but adulteration. Adulteration is a crime especially so in the political field. And, therefore, I would request the prime minister to keep the status quo for some time, so that we can meet again and again. This a problem which cannot be settled through one discussion. This is a problem which cannot be settled, as my friend who preceded me said, by the chief ministers alone. This is a problem in which human values and human passions have got everything to say. Therefore, keep English as the official language till we arrive at a proper solution.

I asked my friend Mr. Mani, why he wanted twenty years. He said: “we are not able to decide now, so twenty years are needed.” I asked him a pertinent question and, I am repeating it here, when we are not prepared to decide it now, who are we to formulate the time-table for the future? Either we decide it now or leave it to be decided by the future generation. Perhaps Mr. Mani thinks that twenty years hence this problem will not affect him, I want him to live for a little more than twenty years. There are others who say ten years, fifteen years. This is not a problem wherein you can print, as you print your railway guides. Even in respect of railway guides, the trains arrive and start hours after the stipulate any time. Let us continue English as the official language till we arrive at a proper solution. I want to talk about my part at this stage, though my friend Mr. Akbar Ali Khan, wanted me to speak about it earlier. Till we arrive at a proper solution, the suggestion that the DMK offers is that all the fourteen languages be declared as national languages and be given the status of official language.

Akbar Ali Khan: It would be impossible to work.

Anna: “It is impossible,” my friend, Mr. Akbar Ali Khan, says. I thought some months back, it was impossible to keep India one.

Therefore, we shall keep English as the official language till al the fourteen languages become the official languages of the union. As far as the link language even at that time is concerned, you can leave it to natural forces. I think even now, the propagation of Hindi has become effective through non-official agencies, rather than through official agencies. Leave it to the people and let them develop the language and make it conversant and if at that time due to the natural process, without the backing of the government, people think that Hindi has to become the link language, it will first be the de facto link language and then the de jure link language.

P.L. Kureel Urf Talib (Uttar Pradesh): unless you decide to make it the de jure link language, how will it become the de facto link language?

Anna: That is lack of confidence in his own language. What I want to say is this. You should work in such a way that Hindi becomes the de facto link language before you think about making it the de jure link language in course of time. But I may plead with my friend, Mr. Vajpayee, and say that if he were to learn Tamil and drink deep into the nectar of Tamil classics, he will select Tamil alone as the link language.

Therefore, till such time we should not disturb the present status quo of keeping English as the official language till we arrive at a stage when all the fourteen national languages become the official languages. Perhaps multilingualism is the price that we have to pay for keeping India one and united. You can have India disunited through Hindi. But if you want to have a contented India, if you want to have an India which does not feel that one region will dominate over another, if you do not want genuine apprehension to get into the minds and hearts of millions of people, if you want an India about which everyone of us could be proud, you will have to take into consideration the problem of multilingualism.

When I said that, my friend Mr.Akbar Aki Khan state that it is impracticable. It is, of course, cumbersome. It is difficult, but the difficulties are not insurmountable. If Switzerland can make it a practical proposition to have four or five languages, I think arithmetically, we can have fourteen. Therefore, when Switzerland has surmounted the difficulty, are we so poverty stricken to find out ways and methods? I find very able men here to surmount any difficulty. And if you feel that to surmount the difficulties help from our party is needed, we are prepared to offer that. I do not think that you will need it, but if you even pretend that you need it, we are prepared to offer it, because multilingualism is not a fad. Multilingualism is a resolution passed by the DMK. Do not be afraid of it. Do not think that it is anathema.

I fink last week, that Shri Sri Prakasa, who was once the governor of our state, has pleaded for multilingualism and he has given a pertinent argument also. He has said that after having had linguistic States you cannot escape the consequences and, therefore, he has pleaded for multilingualism. Let us have multilingualism. Till all these languages rise up to that level. Tamil, I announced, has already risen to that level. Well, we have my friend Mr. Bhupesh Gupta to say Bengali also has risen to that. When we arrive at that stage in 1970, let us discard English. When we arrive at that stage in 1980, let us discard English. Therefore, the DMK’s plea for the continuance of English as the official language is not due to the fact that we are enamoured of the English language. We are a very proud people as far as language is concerned.

We think that no language can stand comparison to Tamil.

D.L. Sen Gupta (West Bengal): Except Bengali.

Anna: Along with Bengali.

Our Home Minister talking in this House the other day said: “Oh, I am not a Hindiwalla. My mother – tongue is Punjabi and then I adopted Gujarati as my language. Now I am converted to Hindi.” Unfortunately, we do not have such experiences. It is a very good experience to have mother-tongue, to get another adopted tongue, and then to plead for a third tongue. You yourself have stated, that you are cut off from your moorings. Fortunately, or unfortunately we are not cut off from our moorings. I can never forget that I have got a hoary language called Tamil. I will never be satisfied till that language in which my forefathers spoke, in which my poets have given sermons and scriptures, in which we have got classics and literature of inexhaustible knowledge, I will never be content till that day when Tamil takes its due place as one of the official languages in the Union.

N. Patra (Orissa): Then why do you hang on to English?

Anna: When I find that I plead for Tamil, I do not forfeit the right of my friend, Mr Vajpayee, to plead for Hindi. As a matter of fact, I will go to the length of saying that I have been listening to thee speeches in Hindi here, and the minimum number of English words in Hindi speeches, is in Mr. Vajpayee’s speech. In other speeches I find Hindi being given a charitable sprinkling.

This is not Hindi. If I were to plead for Hindi, I would make Hindi so poverty-stricken. Therefore, I will say, be enthusiastic about Hindi; my friend, Mr. Nanda, cannot be enthusiastic, he perhaps will take to Esperanto. But we have got a language of our own and therefore we plead that our language should find a place in the official languages list of this union. Till that time, English should continue so that there may not be injustice, intentional or unintentional. However careful we are, there is a genuine apprehension in the minds of people, that Hindi-knowing people want to dominate over other people. Others have argued that we can very easily learn Hindi because we have learnt English so well. I would plead before the august house to visualize the future when my children, I should say, when my grandchildren, will be learning Hindi alphabets and muttering Hindi phrases.

Children of the Hindi-speaking areas will be learning by heart sonnets and stanzas of Hindi from their parents. You learn Hindi through a thousand ways, in your fields and factories, in your homes and hovels, in every avocation, in every walk of life. You learn Hindi not by going through books but by merely being born there. What you inherit you want us to learn and you want us to have a handicap race. Only the Romans had the handicap race. The roman satraps sat in the arena, asked the gladiators to go bare-handed and fight ferocious beasts, and some of them did, like my friend, Mr. Satyanarayanan. But other gladiators were torn to pieces by the wild beasts. What have we done to merit such treatment? Why is it that you imbibe a language and wants us to learn it and complete with you? Therein lies the injustice. It is an injustice which even most of the Hindi enthusiast in calmer moments, will never contemplate. Therefore, let us be just, fair, friendly and let us above all be democratic.

I find from the papers that the passions of Hindi-speaking people have gone to such an extent, as to question the very motive, the very statements of people coming from our parts. I find from the papers that some gentleman has said that not only Mr. Annadurai, but Mr. Kamaraj himself ought to be put into prison, because he is against Hindi. There are others who are passing very uncharitable remarks about the offered resignation of my friend, Ma. Subramaniam. You do not know, you cannot imagine, what a thrill of hope his resignation had in Tamilnadu, during those troublesome times. If anybody has saved the good name of the Tamil Nadu congress, not fully but to a certain extent, it was Mr. Subramaniam and also Mr. Alagesan. I do not have any love or affection for him. I have crossed swords with him many a time and he has hit me below the belt many a time. But what want to say is that such gestures taken at the appropriate moment assuage the feelings of the people there.

In the Assamese language riot, I find rioting going on day after day and at the same time peace brigades going from village to village asking people, appealing to the people to give up violence. Why is it that the chief minister did not take us into his confidence? And for that, the central home minister, Mr. Nanda has paid a tribute: “he stood like a rock.” Mr. Bhaktavatsalam stood like a rock indeed, immovable. Not moving, with no feeling, he was stony, he stood like a rock when all around him there was weeping and wailing and shooting, when widows wept for their fallen husbands, when mothers wept for their sons who were shot down dead. Do you want such stony men? Tamil Nadu has got better men. If you say that he stood like a rock, I will even have to doubt your philosophy. I have been taught to believe that you have got a soft heart. I have been taught to believe that you are always in the company of Sadhus and Sanyasis.

If that learning, if that training makes you praise a Chief Minister who is stony of heart, who has caused 50 or 60 men, seven-year-old girls, eight-year-old boys, eighty-year-old men, etc. to be shot down dead on the streets of Madras, well I can only say that you are a bigger Bhaktavatsalam. So let not the Central Government think that law and order and for curtailment of violence, but let us reopen this language issue and see to it that we arrive at a solution when English continues to be the official language, till we arrive at a stage when there will be multilingualism and any one of the Indian languages naturally takes the place of a link language.

Thank you.

- C.N. Annadurai


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