In the wake of Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s pitch for Hindi as the nation’s common language, the DMK has argued that Tamil was more suited for it.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah had pitched for ‘one nation, one language’ on Saturday while greeting the nation on the occasion of ‘Hindi Diwas’.

Pitching for a common language for the country, he said since Hindi is spoken the most, it can unite the whole country. He also asked people to use their native languages as much as possible but said efforts will be made to expand Hindi’s reach to different parts of the country.

Shah’s comments created a huge uproar with several opposition parties slamming him for trying to impose Hindi on non-Hindi speaking states.

DMK MP and spokesperson TKS Elangovan said if the Government of India wants to choose an Indian language for global identity, then Tamil, and not Hindi, qualifies for it.

“Unity in diversity is the identity of India which we support. If there needs to be an Indian language for India’s global identity, then Tamil is most suited,” Elangovan said.

“Tamil is one of the oldest languages in the world. It is the official language in Sri Lanka, Singapore and India. It has the classical language status and is rich in literature. Tamil culture has spread to several South Asian countries. There are Tamils who have migrated to far off lands several centuries ago,” he said.

The DMK leader said that while a large number of people speak Hindi in India, “it is equally true that there are more number of people who don’t speak Hindi.”

He argued that Hindi cannot be India’s global identity. “For instance, it is the non-Hindi speaking Indian states that are advanced in several metrics like economy, technology and social factors while the Hindi- speaking states lag far behind on these aspects.”

Elangovan said, “it is RSS ideology to impose Hindi across the nation.”

Stressing that DMK is not against any language, he said the party is opposed to the view of making Hindi as the global identity of India, which is seen as a sign of Hindi-imposition.

Amid protests by leaders of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala leaders on his remarks, Amit Shah on Wednesday clarified that he did not want imposition of Hindi on anyone.

In what seemed to be a damage control exercise following protests against his tweet, favouring Hindi as a common or one language across the country, Shah on Wednesday said at an event in Jharkhand’s Ranchi that a child’s growth could be best achieved if he studied in his mother tongue, and mother tongue did not mean Hindi.

“But there should be one language in the country – should you choose to learn a second language – then learn Hindi. This is the appeal I made on Hindi Divas. What is wrong in it, I fail to understand,” Shah asserted.

According to the Official Languages Act, 1963, Hindi and English are the official languages for the Union government and Parliament. A total of 22 languages of the country are recognised under the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.

(With inputs from IANS)