In the midst of an ongoing debate over the Hindi imposition in Tamil Nadu, senior state minister K Ponmudi, who is serving as the Minister for Higher Education has sparked a row through his remarks that knowing Hindi won't provide jobs and he went on to bring in the people who are selling pani puris in the state to support his statement.
Ponmudi made this jibe against Hindi while he was speaking at the convocation ceremony at Bharathiyar University in Coimbatore and the event was also attended by Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi. The minister cited that there is no need for the Tamil Nadu people to learn Hindi. He said, "There are two languages in Tamil Nadu - English and Tamil. While English is an international language, Tamil is the local language."
"What is the need to learn Hindi? They say we can get jobs if we learn Hindi, but do we get jobs now? See the people who are selling pani puris in Coimbatore and Tamil Nadu. To whom do those shops belong? All the shops are theirs only. All these had happened in the past and now, we have English", he added. He cited that Hindi is being promoted as a tool to help people get jobs, but in reality, learning the language has not provided better employment.
Ponmudi has further said that DMK founder Annadurai has staunchly spoken against the Hindi imposition. The higher education minister has divulged that the state government is not opposed to the beneficial aspects of the National Education Policy 2020. However, though the policy recommends a three-language system, the minister said that the state government has been resolute in implementing a two-language system.
He further added that the students in Tamil Nadu are willing to learn other languages, but it should not be imposed. He said that Hindi shouldn't be made mandatory and let it be an optional language. On the other hand, his jibe against Hindi and the people who sell pani puris met with controversy and Ponmudi has got a rebuttal from the Governor. While addressing the event, Governor RN Ravi has denied the remarks of Ponmudi over the Hindi imposition.
Ravi said that he wanted to spread the richness and wealth of Tamil across the country by enabling more people to learn the language. Ravi stated, "An impression is being created by some people that the Union government is imposing a language on Tamil Nadu or anyone. That's not the truth and not correct. In fact, the whole thrust of NEP was to do the learning and teaching in the mother tongue, the regional language."
Ponmudi's remarks had also sparked a row on social media following which he had issued a clarification. While he was addressing the media, the minister said that his intention was not to say that the Hindi-speaking people came to Tamil Nadu in search of jobs. He added that he was trying to convey that they had come to Tamil Nadu as they didn't find jobs in their home states.