The Narendra Modi government on Monday relented to the pressure and tweaked its draft education policy following protests over a three-language plan that made it compulsory for children of the south Indian states to learn Hindi. A controversy broke out all over India, especially in most parts of Tamil Nadu, with political leaders from across party lines strongly opposing the alleged 'Hindi imposition' by the newly sworn-in government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“In keeping with the principle of flexibility, students who wish to change one or more of the three languages they are studying may do so in Grade 6 or Grade 7, so long as they are able to still demonstrate proficiency in three languages...," says the revised draft.
In the National Education Policy 2019 draft, unveiled on Friday, a new three-language formula was recommended. Under the new formula, children in the southern states were required to compulsory learn Hindi. However, the move met with severe criticism from people and political leaders across the party line.
In Tamil Nadu, MK Stalin's DMK warned of a language war over the issue. Recalling the anti-Hindi agitations beginning as early as 1937 in Tamil Nadu, DMK chief MK Stalin said that since 1968 the state was following the two-language formula of learning only Tamil and English. Stalin said that the they would never tolerate imposition of Hindi.
Parties including the CPI and BJP's ally in the Lok Sabha elections, the PMK too alleged the recommendation on the three-language formula was "imposition of Hindi" and demanded to scrap it. Makkal Needhi Maiam chief Kamal Haasan said "be it language or a project, if we do not like that, it should not be forced on us". He said his party would pursue legal options against the move.