Remove Hindi from Kanyakumari State Express Bus Station (2017)

Thanjai Nalankilli

TAMIL TRIBUNE, September 2017 (ID. 2017-09-01)
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[Summary: Who is so blatantly violating Tamil Nadu State Government's two-language policy? Why we oppose Hindi in state government enterprises?]


1. The Problem

2. Opposition to Hindi in Tamil Nadu (Background and Brief History)

3. The Two-Language Formula (The Two-Language Policy)

4. The Madurai City Incidence of 2013

5. Post Tamil Nadu Officers in Tamil Nadu

6. Solution to the Problem

Appendix: Related Questions and Answers


AIADMK - All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam

DMK - Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam

IAS - Indian Administrative Services

1. The Problem

I will come straight to the point. Here is a photograph of the State Express Bus Schedule at the Kanya Kumari Bus Station taken in 2017 (click here to see photo). You see the destination names written in Tamil (the state language), English and Hindi. Why is Hindi there? Who ordered the inclusion of Hindi? Who ordered this violation of the two-language policy enacted by the elected government of the State of Tamil Nadu?

The State Express Service and the bus station are operated by State Express Transport Corporation (T.N. Limited) that is owned and operated by Tamil Nadu State Government. It has to be operated within the laws of the state government.

2. Opposition to Hindi in Tamil Nadu (Background and Brief History)

We are certain that neither Tamil Nadu chief minister nor the transportation minister ordered the inclusion of Hindi. It must be some middle level officer in the service of Tamil Nadu government.

This officer may be from Tamil Nadu or one of the large number of officers from other states who do not know the history of Hindi agitations in Tamil Nadu starting from the first day Hindi imposition started in Tamil Nadu in 1938 [Reference 1]. Hindi imposition went into high gear once the British left India and power went into the hands of Hindi politicians. Opposition to Hindi imposition peaked in January-February 1965 which was brutally suppressed resulting the police, out-of-state police, central police and army shooting deaths of 63 unarmed protesters [Reference 2]. That lead to the utter defeat of the ruling Congress Party in the 1967 legislative assembly election. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) which stood against Hindi imposition received a majority in the election and formed state government under chief minister C. N. Annadurai.

There was nothing that a state government can do about Hindi imposition in Indian (central) government offices and its undertakings like government banks, railways, etc. So the chief minister, who had spent much time in jail for participating in anti-Hindi agitations and demonstrations, ordered the removal of Hindi in all state government affairs. On January 23, 1968 Tamil Nadu government dropped the three-language formula (Tamil, English, Hindi) and adopted the two-language formula (Tamil and English).

3. The Two-Language Formula (The Two-Language Policy)

The two-language policy (state language and English) is a reasonable solution for any state; state language for those who live and/or work in the state and English for those on a short visit. It is the duty of those who live/work in the state to learn the state language and it is the responsibility for visitors to know the state language or English, or come with a little travelers dictionary or come with someone who knows the state language or English. This is what non-Hindi people going to work, live and/or visit Hindi states. Why a special privilege for Hindi people that they can go anywhere in India knowing only their mother tongue (one-language formula for Hindi people!) We do not see any need for Hindi in non-Hindi state affairs.

The two-language policy introduced by the DMK government of C. N. Annadurai in 1968 was accepted and followed by every Tamil Nadu government that came after (DMK and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) governments under chief ministers Karunanidhi (DMK), M. G. Ramachandran (AIADMK), Jayalalithaa Jeyaram (AIADMK), O. Panneerselvam (AIADMK) and the current AIADMK government of Edappadi K Palaniswami. So who is including Hindi in the state express bus schedule in Kanyakumari?

4. The Madurai City Incidence of 2013

There was one incidence of Hindi use by state government in the past. Madurai City Corporation Commissioner (an IAS officer from Hindi region) ordered in 2013 that name boards in major streets of Madurai City include Hindi. Opposition to the use of Hindi mounted. Tamil Desa Pothuvudamai Katchi took the lead and organized a demonstration against it on January 25, 2013. The commissioner heard Tamil people's message and withdrew his order "respecting sentiments of our Tamil brothers and sisters". The commissioner is a honourable man. He made a mistake and corrected it when it was brought to his attention [Reference 3].

5. Post Tamil Nadu Officers in Tamil Nadu

The problem is not with the individual officers but with the Indian government policy of posting out-of-state officers who do not know the culture and history of the people whom they come to serve. This writer had always opposed this policy, and Tamil people and politicians should oppose it vehemently.

6. Solution to the Problem

I doubt the chief minister and transportation minister know of these Hindi signs in Kanyakumari; they have more important things to do. They expect that state government officials would follow state government policies.

I request people in large numbers to write or call the chief minister's office and transportation minister's office and inform them of the violation of the two-language policy. They will do the right thing. Their party (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazagam - AIADMK) is after all named after the Annadurai ("Anna" for short) who introduced the "no-Hindi" two-language policy to Tamil Nadu.

Appendix: Related Questions and Answers

Several questions relating to Hindi at Tamil Nadu State agencies are discussed in a companion article published in 2013 [Reference 3]. Here is the Table of Content of that article.

1. Background

2. Tourist Revenue and Hindi Street Signs

3. Are We Accepting Hindi Imperialism?

4. Are We Opposed to a Third Language on Street Signs? No!

5. Are We Opposed to Hindi on Street Signs? Yes!

6. Hindi Street Names Sends the Wrong Message

7. When Indian Government does not Use Tamil in its Offices in Tamilnadu, Why Should We Put Hindi Signs in Madurai?

8. Additional Information

[Summary: Who is so blatantly violating Tamil Nadu State Government's two-language policy? Why we oppose Hindi in state government enterprises?]


1.  A Slice of Anti-Hindi Agitation History (1938) (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, January 2002 (6 KB) (h)

2. History: A Chronology of Anti-Hindi Agitations in Tamil Nadu and What the Future Holds (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, January 2003 (33 KB) (h)

3. Hindi Street Signboards in Madurai Removed (Tamil Nadu, India) (by Thanjai Nalankilli ), TAMIL TRIBUNE, March 2013 (14 KB) (h)


India, Tamil Nadu and Hindi Imposition (List of articles on Hindi imposition)

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Thanjai Nalangkilli

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