"Ethnic Cleansing" in Democratic India


TAMIL TRIBUNE, November 2009 (ID. 2009-11-01)
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1. Is India a Democracy?

2. Destruction of Non-Hindi Languages

3. Everything Controlled by Central Government

4. Concluding Remarks


Hindian: People whose mother tongue is Hindi (similar to Tamil speakers are sometimes referred as Tamilans or Tamilians).

1. Is India a Democracy?

If there is a country where ethnic identities are being cleansed in a Gandhian way, it is none other than India. In Sri Lanka, it is happening in a violent manner. In India, it is happening in a non-violent form. India is supposed to be a democratic country. Only non-Hindi speaking Indians, who care for the future of their language, culture and history, know that they do not have the basic right of protecting their own language and culture against Hindi domination. Since things are happening in a non-violent way, people do not even feel that their culture and language are being threatened. Democratically elected state chief ministers are just puppets before the Indian Government and have only limited powers.

If research is done on the ethnic cleansing that is happening in post-independence India, it will clearly reveal the suppression of non-Hindi languages by the Indian rulers. Most transactions in India are in Hindi and English only, with very little space for our own languages. When the usage of a language gets cut down slowly, the language also dies slowly.

2. Destruction of Non-Hindi Languages

If you go to a Post Office in your state and buy an  inland letter, it has all the instructions on how and where to fold in Hindi and English only (nothing in your mother tongue unless it is Hindi or English).  If you buy a stamp (be that stamp be honouring Netaji, a leading freedom fighter from Bengal or Tamil Nadu's Rameshwaram Temple) it has only Hindi and English. You go to a passport office, all forms and transactions are in Hindi and English only. If you want to travel through railways or airlines, your tickets will be in Hindi and English only. Announcements in airplanes are made in Hindi and English only.

Indian government run educational institutions use forms in Hindi and English only. Examinations for many Indian government jobs are held in Hindi and English only. Most Indian government institutions are named in Hindi (like Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited) and offer their services in Hindi and English only. Offices of these institutions located in non-Hindi states have frequent internal meetings to stress on using more and more Hindi for all communications and transactions.

With such an aggressive Hindi-imposition system in place for sixty-plus years, non-Hindi people have started accepting these things as "normal". If the Hindi movie superstar Amitabh Batchan conducts a Environment Quiz show on television and ask a south Indian (non-Hindi) kid, “What is the national language of India?” and the kid replies “Hindi”, there will be applause and the kid would be adored. India is a multi-lingual country with many constitutionally recognized languages. Sadly, this truth is getting buried and our younger generation is misled to thinking that Hindi is the national language of India. What Hindi has to do with environment is another question that comes to mind.

3. Everything Controlled by Central Government

In the last 60-plus years post independence, Indian central government is controlled by Hindians. Large amounts of taxes from the states are collected by the central government. And then, it is the central government that makes decisions on spending. Whether a new train is required for Kerala or not, whether a power plant is required for Tamil Nadu or not, whether overseas cable lines need to be be laid for faster broadband connectivity in Karnataka or not – everything from food, clothes, infrastructure to cyclone or tsunami fund – everything is decided by the Hindian controlled central government. Though people also elect  state governments through state assembly elections, states do not have much power in  India.

4. Concluding Remarks

All these gradual "ethnic cleansing" would not have happened if Indian government had recognized it’s multi-lingual, multi-cultural identity, and gave more powers to state governments. 

Let us all raise our voice for a Federal India with more rights for state governments. We want our elected state chief ministers to have full powers to govern and manage the states. It is enough to have state legislative assembly elections only. Each state government can then send five or six of its representatives to the central government and India can thus be represented as a consolidation of states. 

All departments currently under the central government can be de-centralized and handed over to state governments except for defense, foreign affairs, banks and judiciary. Budget for these institutions can be approved after consent of the state representatives at the center. State governments collect and manage all taxes. Central government can serve as the reviewing/monitoring agency for all departments in the states. Central government can pass guidelines for planning and execution of the activities in these departments. These documents should be in English. The states would publish them in local languages. As part of reviewing/monitoring, the central government can monitor the efficiency of state governments and act on corruption, if any. With the dedicated resource of the central government for review and monitoring, administrative efficiency would improve greatly. Once we establish this federal setup, we can save money by elimination of parliament and most central government departments.

India can then truly boast itself as a multi-lingual, multi-cultural democracy with  equality to both Hindi and non-Hindi peoples.

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